Peter W Sheehan Gallery
Australian Catholic University
1100 Nudgee Road, Banyo
July 17 to August 14, 2018
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm
Jennifer Evans, Jennii Gould, Joy Harris, Virginia Hasker, Nabeel Hawa, Marcelien Hunt, Peter Hunter, Bee L. Kirk, Elizabeth Kusay, Marion McConaghy, Dianne Minnaar, Elisabeth Murray, Gregg Nowell, Murhaf Obeid, Jenny Phillips, Susan Pietsch, Tricia Reust, Sharon Roberts, Sarah Tucker-Douglas, Gabriella Veidt-Weidmer, Geraldine Wheeler.
Catalogue Essay by Geraldine Wheeler:
The theme “cherish” was chosen for this Visionaries’ exhibition during the group meeting discussion in 2017, as a summary of the thought in Matthew’s Gospel 25:40 “…just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (NRSV translation) The theme has been expanded to include the challenge to cherish not only all God’s people but the whole of God’s creation. Respect and care for the whole creation is part of caring for each member of the human race.
The artists have taken a wide range of approaches in visualising this theme, ranging, on one hand, from some of the most urgent questions of social responsibility facing Australians today, several of which are echoed in the parable with reference to:
the hungry, the thirsty, the strangers, those in need of clothes, the sick and those in prison;
and on the other hand, to little scenes of beauty, light and life itself, all to be cherished as gifts of God.
Some works refer to the ways certain churches serve community meals, e.g. St. Andrew’s Uniting Church in the city as suggested in the work of Geraldine Wheeler, and Elisabeth Murray has drawn portraits of some of the people served at the Red Hill community where she volunteers, exhibited with permission. Susan Pietsch speaks through her painting of the greatest, unmet need, that of housing for those who sleep on the streets. So much housing in this country is unoccupied while many still sleep on the streets.
Two of the artists, Tricia Reust and Peter Hunter, express ideas related to the need to value and to cherish the first peoples of this country, and Sarah Tucker-Douglas brings a perspective which includes her indigenous Australian heritage.
Other work relates to the needs of refugees. Two of the artists know that experience first hand, Murhaf Obeid and Nabeel Hawa, and Elizabeth Kusay draws upon the work of the group in Toowoomba whose adopted task is to care for refugees and migrants in that area. Marcelien Hunt’s work, Poverty, is also grouped with the other works in this section.
Jennii Gould and Gregg Nowell suggest the value of the very small, the tiny birds, reflecting upon others who are so often undervalued, but precious in the eyes of God, as in a different way we see also in the detail of bracelet designs in the work, Precious, by Jennifer Evans. Dianne Minnaar’s icon alludes to Jesus’ reference to the smallest seed which can grow into the large tree.
Human bonding and cherishing one another is of great importance to personal well being. We see that expressed in a range of ways, particularly through the work of Sharon Roberts, Marcelien Hunt and the photograph taken by Marion McConaghy to express the bond between father and daughter, as she reflects upon the life of her late father, Rev. James McConaghy.
Some of the artists depict moments, places and experiences to be cherished, or faith and stages of life itself, as we see in the work of Jennii Gould, Virginia Hasker, Joy Harris. Gabriella Veidt-Weidmer, Jenny Phillips, Dianne Minnaar and Murhaf Obeid.
The range of media used by the artists is also diverse. There is drawing in pencil, graphite, ink and pastels, painting in oils, water colour and gouache paints, acrylics, the medium used for icon writing including a mix of media together with gold leaf, and photography, graphic work and less common media such as glass –scratching (Nabeel Hawa) and encaustic processes (Elizabeth Kusay). Sarah Tucker-Douglas, who is a prison chaplain, has presented work using the paper and pencils issued for art work in the prisons.
Jenny Phillips, who is a graphic artist, groups a series of small works to express the diversity of ideas within the theme. Two artists who particularly work in the area of a contemporary approach to the tradition of writing/painting icons are Murhaf Obeid and Dianne Minnaar. We see this in the works they have contributed.
A first for a Visionaries’ exhibition is the presentation of a video with the work of Bee L. Kirk, Remembering Love.
Our need to cherish the gifts of God to us, gifts of faith, the gift which is our relationship with God in Christ, and all that is part of the world in which we live, the diverse gifts of creation, underpins the thinking and the expression through the visual arts for this exhibition.
The artists of Visionaries thank the Australian Catholic University once again for the opportunity to contribute to the life of the university, in particular we thank Alasdair Macintyre. Since the university moved to Banyo, this has been almost an annual opportunity, firstly in the gallery space of the visual art department, later in the upstairs vestibule space of the whole department and more recently in the Peter W. Sheehan Gallery space.