Springtime brings out new Top of Torrens Gallery exhibits

'Snap Print Pot Sculpt 2.0' is the title of the current exhibition at Top of the Torrens Gallery in Birdwood, which was opened by Alana Preece on Sunday, September 8.

She congratulated the 20 exhibiting artists for their magnificent, contemplative and thought provoking works.

Ms Preece highlighted, when she first viewed the work, she felt the universal power of image conveyed through original art and that she immediately felt a connection to all the artists through their work.

She also added that in this fast paced, technologically-driven modern world, original art is a wonderful antidote.

Original art offers us an opportunity to see things from another perspective, a glimpse into the mind of its creator and a connection to a bigger story, which is good for our heart and soul.

An exhibition of original art offers an opportunity to slow down, take time out, to socialize, network or quietly think about and reconnect with our core values.

Ms Preece went on to say that when she encountered these works she felt the artists' raw, honest and earthy encounter with their subject, materials and process and was reminded of her lifelong connection to the Australian landscape, culture and history.

She was reminded by these artworks that we are all connected...connected to each other, connected to everything that has gone before us and connected to the land we stand on.

Amazingly enough, these 20 artists, young and old (19 - 80-plus years), emerging and established, professional and hobbyist, all with very diverse backgrounds, without knowingly conspiring, are all showing us their connection to this country, what they value, what inspires them and what living here means to them.

Many of the works have an obvious connection to the land, for example the beautifully turned River Red gum by John Ragless; the wonderful landscape and still life photography of several artists, and Leon Holmes lively wire sculptures of a group of Australian aboriginals dancing.

Even works that don't immediately appear to be images derived directly from the land, the natural world or our culture, still relate to it and seem to be inspired by it e.g. Mike Painters whimsical ceramic fairies are Eden Valley Fairies.

And Josie Oswald's Surfers Paradise skyline (reduced to black and white) looks remarkably like a rocky out crop.

Photography, printmaking, pottery and sculpture, are not the usual focus in galleries.

In showcasing these mediums this exhibition presents us with an opportunity to look with more than our eyes, an opportunity to awaken more of our mind and our senses.

Artists often use photos to provide reminders of inspiration or to document details, but the artists exhibiting photos here, have in essence, put a frame around a particular scene which captured their spirit or spoke to them in some way.

They haven't wanted to change the image in any way.

These photographic images of the natural world around them, communicate thoughts, ideas and feelings in an emotional and sentimental way.

In contrast, print makers take an image, pare it back and simplify it to refocus on elements that are more important to their vision and communication.

The prints of Tahlia Dawson, Sarah Fawcett, Cath Watkins and Kaitlyn Havers are concerned about the overall design of the piece, communicating through a universal language of shape, line and colour.

Potters, using ancient techniques, fashion clay that's been dug from the earth, into functional forms and whimsical sculptures, which are then baked by fire to preserve their character and usefulness.

Joe Dennis's functional vessels are shaped by history and decorated with colours and images inspired by her love of the land.

Ann Beacham has mounted her glass fused pieces on natural materials - rock and vine root, giving them an obvious connection to the earth.

Nathan Modra and Stephen Hausler have re-purposed pieces of used steel. These recognisable pieces have already had a long life as parts of tools or machinery that served someone well, in their daily life on the land.

In up-cycling these pieces, the life of the old pieces continue indefinitely. Nathan's 'monsters', as he calls them, reminded Alana of Sydney Nolan's Ned Kelly painting series.

This exhibition will hang at the gallery, Shannon Street, Birdwood, until October 13.

Gallery hours are Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-4pm. For more details, phone 8568 5577.