RAW: SALA – How Do We Love Thee – Fine Art Kangaroo Island – Nat Wine Centre – 4.5K

Detail Black Glossy and Red Tailed Cockatoos - Janet Ayliffe

The problem with many exhibitions from regional ‘fine art’ galleries is the lack of useful theme (other than locale) and sustained quality, with curators’ wishes normally hijacked to local social sensibilities, when suggesting some contributors start their own ‘not so fine art’ gallery would be a bonus all round but frowned upon in local coffee shops.

Such issues do not arise with Fine Art Kangaroo Island’s exhibition at the National Wine Centre entitled How Do We Love Thee? Let Us Count The Ways. In their second SALA contribution, the Islanders’ theme is the Kangaroo Island Glossy Black-Cockatoo and this bird is not only prevalent in most of the works but a red heart like portion on its feathers acts terrifically well as a unifying motif.

There are some 88 works on display, ranging in media from oil and water colours painting to glass and jewellery.

English born Neil Sheppard displays a range of styles in his seven works including an abstract, almost Jackson Pollock style, in his Glossies Feeding In The Casuarinas. Llewelyn Ash’s glass work is another highlight, with striking use of the aforementioned red motif, particularly in his Small Worlds, engraved and hot worked glass paperweights. Janet Ayliffe’s Western Cove, The Glossy Black-Cockatoos has a Japanese art feel to it, incorporating map, study, commentary and local fauna into her composition.

Fred Peters - Male female pendant

Finally, one can’t go past mentioning Byron Buick’s The KI Glossy Black Cockatoos – Australia’s Rarest Cockatoo, which is the artwork from which the black feather with the red heart on the poster for the exhibition comes. In 1994, this work helped kick off awareness of the plight of these birds with a print run of 5,000 to raise funds, which was supplemented subsequently by an award grant from the Australian Geographic Society.

One can only hope such dedication and persistence by Mr Buick and his artist friends do much good to reviving the fortunes of these birds on Kangaroo Island.

In truth, there are many, many art works that will catch your eye and Fleur and Fred Peters are to be congratulated on their efforts in putting this exhibition together – it is one of the standout displays of this year’s SALA. One can only hope they can get the ferry working again so that can come back next year and dazzle us once more.

Kryztoff Rating  4.5K

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