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SANDY POTTINGER writing for RAYGUN

Over the weekend we were lucky enough to share our visiting artists Sal Randolph, Audra Wolowiec and D. Graham Burnett (New York) with members of our community. One very special member is Toowoomba artists and writer Sandy Pottinger. A regular contributor to ‘Around the Galleries’ in the Toowoomba Chronicle, today we share her take on participating in their show and spending time with them. Thanks Sandy for your words and taking the time.

       Around the Galleries with Sandy Pottinger Friday 23 May 2015

Art galleries are not static mausoleums harbouring collections of cultural artefacts. They can be dynamic latter-day temples to innovation, creative thinking, and sustained attention. Current and recent exhibitions show that art and its appreciation crosses boundaries that open the viewer to new experiences that are emotional, inspiring and bemusing.

RAYGUN, 249 Margaret Street, is an innovative space that consistently presents challenging and thought provoking exhibitions. The recent presentation “Sæ,” by American interdisciplinary artist Audra Wolowiec, took its name from the Old English word for a sheet of water or a sea. The artist invited participants to send her fragments of writing about the sea that had personal significance. Wolowiec was in Toowoomba last Friday and met with her contributors who were asked to read their selections. The notion of the sea became a metaphorical space in which word and voice connected to tell a story. Wolowiec was also involved in the next exhibition “Madame Banksia: Margaret Preston’s flower gazing and the Japonist protocols of Félix Régamey.” The exhibition, with its tenuous links to historical facts, is an interactive event. The opening was presided over by Wolowiec and fellow American artists D. Graham Burnett and Sal Randolph. They are all members of ESTAR (SER), a cultural consortium that promotes sustained focus on an art object. The smoke and mirrors tilt at traditional art appreciation and the clever nudge to Spanish grammar are playfully couched in the trappings of esoteric ritual. Visitors were encouraged to follow a formal protocol of observation, an overlaid imprimatur to question art practice by disassociating the object from its creation and context. The exhibition concept maybe steeped in irony, yet the path to sharpened awareness becomes one of altered reality and a new adventure in seeing.

The Warwick Art Gallery is also presenting an inter- active event, “ACO Virtual: Play with the Band”, an impressive multi screen installation created by The Australian Chamber Orchestra in conjunction with Mod Productions, specialists in multiplatform entertainment and interactive video experiences. A semi circle of large screens carries images of individual performers including Richard Tognetti the head of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, first violin, conductor and composer. The screens are linked to a computer and visitors can select individual musicians to highlight their performances with violins, violas, cellos, and a double bass. The musical programme includes the first movement of Grieg’s ‘String Quartet in G major’, the first movement of Bach’s ‘Brandenburg Concerto No 3’, Piazzolla’s ‘Oblivion’, and an excerpt from Roger Smalley’s ‘Strung Out.’ The sound is full, rich, vibrant and exciting. We are not just listening to a virtual concert but share the sonorous experience of being within the orchestra itself. The perfect blending of the aural and the visual is something not to be missed by either music lovers or ‘techno-heads’.

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