Old set against new as collection goes on show

January 29, 2022 BY

Blend: Art Gallery of Ballarat director Louise Tegart said viewers will notice something new, while having the chance to revisit favourite historic pieces. Photo: SUPPLIED

TIME-travel through eras of post-colonial Australia by visiting the Art Gallery of Ballarat’s latest exhibition.

Call and response showcases a range of diverse pieces by famous and lesser-known Australian artists of varying periods – contemporary and historic – and mediums, all from the Gallery’s own nationally-renowned collection of over 11,000 works.

Newer acquisitions, those dating back to the early life of the Gallery in the 19th century, and others in between, are on show, with many presenting similar cross-generational themes and concerns.

Art Gallery of Ballarat director and the show’s curator Louise Tegart said Call and response is “a series of impossible conversations.”

“These artists could never have met or exchanged ideas, but have produced artworks that address similar ideas,” she said.

“The direct pairing of artworks across time allows visitors to see works in a new light and continually discover new things. It makes us notice the links and connections and influences between the present and the past, allowing us to look differently at the collection and consider its trajectory over time.

“The collection has strengths in Australian Impressionist paintings, political cartoons, contemporary art, printmaking and works related to Eureka and Ballarat.

“This exhibition provides an opportunity to view new additions, revisit old favourites, as well as discover unknown works.”

Ms Tegart said the Gallery, which secured its first artworks in 1884, is always adding pieces to their collection, but does so with a few main areas of focus.

“[We] fill in gaps where key historical artists are missing, to build on the contemporary collection and to develop the Aboriginal art collection,” she said.

“We also have a focus on works by Ballarat artists, and works related to Ballarat as a place, and also the ceramics collection has continued to grow, in line with the naming of Ballarat as a UNESCO Creative City of Craft and Folk Arts in 2019.”

Call and response is open until Sunday, 10 April.