The skull has entranced and fascinated generations of artists. Romancing the skull looks at the depiction of the skull in art and examines why we continue to be so enamoured with this iconic symbol. The exhibition explores a range of themes including the skull as a reminder of our mortality, the use of the skull in addressing social and political issues, and the skull and crossbones as a symbol of piracy and rebellion.
Romancing the skull will also look at the way in which the skull has been embraced as an important symbol in Mexican Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. Prints by Mexican artists José Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913) have become synonymous with Day of the Dead and his Calaveras (skull figures) are now firmly embedded in Mexican popular culture. More than twenty of his iconic prints will be introduced to Australian audiences for the first time.
Other highlights of the exhibition include a Nuremberg Chronicle dating from 1493 depicting one of the earliest Danse Macabre (Dance of Death) images, and Australian artist Shaun Gladwell’s Virtual Reality work Orbital Vanitas 2016, which debuted at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It will also include works by contemporary Australian artists including John’s work.
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Art Gallery of Ballarat
40 Lydiard St North,
Ballarat VIC 3350
For millennia the beauty, wonder and uses of plants and flowers have been subjects of fascination for artists. The earliest surviving botanical illustration dates back to the year 512 and formed part of a pharmacopoeia of herbs and medicines. In China, brush paintings of old trees, bamboo and rocks by scholar-artists evolved into an independent genre during the Tang dynasty (618-906). By the 1600s many European artists were producing still life paintings of combinations of flowers and fruit, and the creation of flower studies for pure visual pleasure became widespread during the tulip mania of the mid-1600s.
The Botany of Desire exhibition takes its inspiration from a book of the same name published in the early twenty first century which explores the reciprocal relationship between people and plants. It highlights the human desire that connects us to plants and the ways in which plants have shaped our behaviour to their own ends. The exhibition presents work by a wide range of artists from the late 19th century through to the present day, and includes John’s painting.
Benalla Art Gallery
Bridge Street, Benalla VIC 3672
Telephone: 03 5760 2619
Open 10 – 5pm Closed Tuesdays more info
Now in its tenth year the Flanagan Art Prize, hosted by St Patrick’s College, has continued to grow into one of the region’s most sought after and respected awards.
This year’s exhibition will be held in the St Patrick’s College Old Collegians Association Pavilion from Friday August 25 until Sunday September 3. There were a significant number of entries from around Australia from which only 70 entries have been selected and John’s work Tulip has won this year’s Flanagan Art Prize.