Winton Wetlands inspire art ‘extravaganza’
Wetlands are often a source of inspiration for artists and other creative types – and this year it seems more so than ever.
Winton Wetlands in particular will be the focus for several important art events in the second half of this year.
The first of these events, Always and Altered, will run at the Benalla Art Gallery from 4 August to 17 September, featuring the work of artists involved in an art residency at Dookie campus of the University of Melbourne.
Other artists are also featured, along with works from the Benalla Art Gallery collection, in an exhibition which reflects on human interactions with and impacts upon the land.
The exhibition includes historic and recent photographs of Winton Wetlands, a site that has experienced large scale changes over generations, moving from natural wetland to agricultural use, to artificial lake and recreational venue, and ultimately a return to more natural wetland conditions, in a long-term restoration project still in its early stages.
An important element of the Winton Wetlands project is the encouragement of a return to country by traditional custodians, the Yorta Yorta people, and this aspect will feature strongly in the exhibition.
The Always and Altered exhibition showcases outstanding work by talented artists and photographers as well as providing insight into the shaping and reshaping of landscapes and how these impact on our relationships with the land.
More information is available from Benalla Art Gallery: www.benallaartgallery.vic.gov.au.
A second art exhibition inspired by the Winton Wetlands restoration project is getting under way at Bainz Gallery, at Wangaratta Library, on 5 August, and will run until 28 August. This exhibition, called Palimpsest, features the work of local artists Maggie Hollins, Victoria Cooper and Doug Spowart (featured in our top photo).
Their works hint at the multiple layers of activity and relationships that are imposed upon the landscape, producing a rich history of natural and human interaction and many levels of meaning.
Through walking, contemplation and reflection around Winton Wetlands, the artists involved in Palimpsest are seeking to contribute to dialogue about the different yet overlapping stories of the wetlands.
There will be a Meet the Artists session at Bainz Gallery on Saturday 12 August from 1–3pm.
A further art exhibition about to get under way, called Wetlands and Waterways, features paintings and watercolours created at Winton Wetlands by local artists Helen and Yanina Hill. It runs from 3-14 August at Art Gallery on Ovens in Wangaratta. More information from www.artgalleryonovens.com .
Last but not least, Winton Wetlands – with great excitement – will have its very first Artist in Residence late in the year, courtesy of Benalla Art Gallery and watercolour artist Mark Dober.
This artist is known for producing large-scale works which immerse viewers in the landscape – in this case the landscape of Winton Wetlands.
Through his work, Mark Dober will “convey both the beauty of the Wetlands — even where so many dead trees are present — and the beauty inherent in the watercolour medium”.
The work resulting from Mark Dober’s residency at the wetlands during November is expected to be on show at Benalla Art Gallery from 24 November to 18 February.
More information: https://benallaartgallery.com.au/mark-dober-wetlands/
All in all, lovers of art and lovers of Winton Wetlands will have a great deal to enjoy and reflect on together in the second half of 2023.
Above artwork: Victoria Cooper Mokoan Monuments 25cm
Posted: 28 July 2023