Exploring tropes of art at the Muloobinba / Newcastle Lockup

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How do past to contemporary tropes of art add to making and shaping contemporary experiences, understandings and perceptions, not only in the art world but beyond as well? And what are the ways in which different experiences and perceptions of time play a key role for developing useful, critical and potentially additional strategies for the future?

Each of the participants in this panel, facilitated at the Newcastle Lock-Up — current and former gallery directors, artists and art lovers — will bring their professional and personal expertise to the conversation. Members of the audience will also be invited to participate in the conversation on the day.

The panel conversation is set up in collaboration and co-sponsorship between the Newcastle Lock-Up and the School of Humanities, Creative Industries and Social Sciences (HCISS), University of Newcastle.

The panel participants are:
Courtney Novak
Virginia Cuppaidge
Gael Davies
Brett McMahon
Ron Ramsay
Daniela Heil

About the Panelists:

Courtney Novak, Artistic Director: Courtney Novak has extensive experience in creative programming, exhibition development and project management and arts marketing. Courtney joined The Lock-Up in 2014 and has been instrumental in the organisation’s strategic direction, enabling the contemporary art space to become a nationally recognised, award-winning institution. She has curated multiple exhibitions within The Lock-Up’s program, notably Nigel Milsom: Judo House, Seeing Red, I love you Melissa, and most recently Sam Smith: Elements. Courtney has worked with various arts organisations across Australia including Artbank, Australia Council for the Arts and Newcastle Art Gallery. She has also worked in the Middle East including The Third Line Gallery, Christie’s Middle East and Art Dubai.  Courtney holds a Master in Curating and Cultural Leadership, School of Art and Design, University of New South Wales, and an undergraduate in Fine Art, University of Newcastle.

Virginia Cuppaidge: Guggenheim Fellow since 1975, Virginia Cuppaidge has held 35 solo exhibitions in New York and Australia. Her paintings are in Neuberger Museum, and the National Jazz Museum in Harlem; the National Gallery of Art, Canberra; and the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Corporate collections include Chase Manhattan Bank, Citicorp, Whitney Communications. Public exhibitions have been held here: World Bank Washington DC, Smithsonian Exhibitions ‘Seeing Jazz’, and Canadian Heritage traveling exhibition.  The continuum of Cuppaidge’s paintings is the bond between the artist and nature.  ‘The connection between the artist and nature endures’ (Sarah Johnson, Curator Newcastle Art Gallery).  ‘One could say Australian-born artist Virginia Cuppaidge is a painter’s painter’ (David Ebony, Art in America, 1996).  Cuppaidge’s work has also been described as ‘a vivid celebration of nature and the cosmos. She has been recognised for exploring the range of possibilities of an ideal and consummate correspondence between nature and painting’ (Peter Selz, Historian and Critic, New York, 1989).  According to Sister Wendy Becket, ‘Virginia’s paintings sparkle with life’.

Brett McMahon is an artist based in Newcastle. He has exhibited regularly for over 25 years and has work in public, private and corporate collections in Australia, Europe and the United States. Washington Post art critic Sebastian Smee has described McMahon as “one of the most interesting artists working today.” Previously Brett McMahon’s work has explored the urban environments of Sydney and Melbourne, the tangled coastal bush and tidal zones of Lake Macquarie and the structures of industrial Newcastle architecture. In 2016, McMahon completed a large-scale public artwork ‘Melaleuca’ for the NSW State Courthouse building in the Newcastle CBD. In August 2015, Newcastle Art Gallery presented a major survey exhibition of Brett’s work, highlighting the previous15 years of his practice. His current work is an exploration of natural and architectural forms and subjective time structures generated by walks along the Newcastle coastline and harbour. This source material manifests into large scale paintings, sculptural paper work, 3D installations, sound and video pieces. His work is represented by Annandale galleries in Sydney, and Block projects in Melbourne. His next exhibition ‘Un Earth’ will be shown at Annandale Galleries from September 17, 2022. www.brettmcmahon.com.au

Gael Davies has had a long history of involvement in the Newcastle Art scene, receiving an OAM in 2014 for Services to the Arts and the Community. Gael originally trained as a Librarian but is probably best known in the Newcastle Art community as the Manager of von Bertouch Galleries from 1974 to 2004. Formerly a valuer to the Commonwealth Tax Incentives for the arts, cataloguer and valuer of the UoN and JHH art collections, Gael held the position of Independent Curator in 2005 for the National Art Gallery (Newcastle works of Margaret Olley) and Lake Macquarie Art Gallery (Still Life Exhibition). Further, Gael has curated Collectors Care Exhibitions for Samaritans from 2010. In addition, Gael has been involved in Arts Boards and committees including the National Art Gallery Art Advisory Board. She is a founding member of the Newcastle Ceramic group (Back to Back Gallery), and has been the secretary of the Newcastle Art Gallery Society since the 1980’s. Currently, Gael is the vice-Chairman of the Newcastle Art Gallery Foundation.

Ron Ramsey has worked at the National Gallery of Victoria, the Australian Bicentennial Authority, National Gallery of Australia, Newcastle Art Gallery, Ian Potter Gallery, University of Melbourne and the Art Gallery Society of NSW. He was also Australia’s Cultural Attaché in Washington DC.

Daniela Heil (PhD Anthropology, University of Sydney): Daniela works in Sociology and Anthropology, University of Newcastle. Her social science work is in collaboration with First Nations in reference to experiencing and understanding personhood, health and relational wellbeing. In addition, Daniela works with German parents who have been using gestational carriers for the delivery of the former’s biological children in Ukraine. Daniela’s interest in the diversity and difference of national and international art arenas started when she experienced the result of Walter De Maria’s Vertical Earth Kilometre during documenta 6 in Kassel, Germany.

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7 September 2022
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm AEST
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University of Newcastle
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