It was stinking hot – again- but because Bendigo was forecast to be much the same temperature as here in Melbourne, we decided to go up to Bendigo Art Gallery. It’s an excellent gallery, housed in a former Volunteer Riflesmen building, with multiple extensions in the late 1990s and early noughties.
The three exhibitions we went to see will all finish on 10th February. The first ‘Frida Kahlo, her photos‘ is a collection of photographs from Casa Azul that includes personal photographs of her family and Frida herself across her life, photographs of her friends and a cache of historical photographs that informed and influenced her work and political ideas.
The second exhibition, ‘Daughters of the Sun: Christian Waller and Klytie Pate’ features two Australian women artists, Christian Waller and her niece Klytie Pate (originally spelled Clytie but changed for esoteric theosophical reasons). I had heard of both artists, but confess that I didn’t realize that they were related. Christian Waller often worked with her husband Napier Waller, and each one’s work influenced the other. Waller’s work reflects her interest in spiritualism and theosophy, and there are examples of her painting, linocuts and stained glass. Most of Klytie Pate’s work was ceramics. I was particularly interested in the mentions of nearby Fairy Hills and Napier Waller House (aka Dr. Blake’s house).
The final exhibition ‘Gothic Beauty: Victorian notions of love, loss and spirituality’ was a mixture of 19th century and contemporary works. The 19th century component examined ideas and practices of death, grief and mourning while the contemporary works were a reflection and subversion of these older ideas. And check out the hearse- I wonder if it’s for hire?
The rest of the gallery has a very fine permanent collection, but we’ve seen much of it previously and our parking meter was ticking. Besides, it was these special exhibitions that we really wanted to see, and if you want to see them, you’d better get your skates on!
And yes, the art gallery is beautifully airconditioned. Just thought you’d ask.
I loved living in Bendigo for a few years, except when the summers were very, very hot. But I didn’t expect a regional art gallery to develop as nicely as it did. ‘Frida Kahlo, her photos‘ would be a collection of photographs I would like to see, especially as her life had some wonderful successes and some very low lows. Her political ideas might have been overridden by her husband’s.
I am going there on Tuesday, primarily for the Frida Kahlo. So looking forward to it. I also want to see another exhibition closing on 10 February – the Jessie Boylan one. Her brother is one of my son’s best friends from primary school days (and still a good friend, as both had their first child last year within three months of each other). After those two exhibitions, it will be a matter of time.
I’ve only been to that Gallery once before, but it’s impressive.