Australian Fine Artist

The Art of Birds

Exhibitions at McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park

As a volunteer at the gallery, I was taken on a guided tour of the exhibits last week during my holidays from TAFE. Each curator told us about how the exhibition came into being and a little about where the pieces came from. It was interesting that I was creating artworks based on native parrots at the time, without knowing that birds would be the flavour of the month!

On this second occasion, as with other exhibitions I decided to see what items stood out from my first visit and why. My hope is that with deeper analysis I will understand my own preferences and decisions in my arts practice.

The first gallery has bird’s nests supplied from the Victorian Museum and the private Bilson Collection. Until you see the creativity and cleverness in these things you can’t get how intricate they are and how we can learn from these little creatures. The oldest nest is over 100 years old, showing how natural materials can last if protected. The most interesting for me was the nest made by two little birds working with each other, one on the inside of the nest – one on the outside, sewing leaves on to the nest. The next was of course the magpie nest. These birds have learned that man made materials can be very helpful, so wire and coat hangers and even a little blue stone of some sort have been used to weave the nest and decorate it.

The second gallery has the artwork by us humans! My favourite piece in here is the large water colour by John Wolsey of wetlands in Europe showing a contrast with our native Australia. There is loads of colour, heaps to see in it and it just “flows” from one side of the work to the other. There are other works in this gallery including video and sculpture, all worth a visit.

I am rarely sorry about doing a second visit to an exhibition, if you think about it, it is a chance to analyse what you saw before and clarify what you liked and why. It was also a chance to catch up with Imogen, the Education Officer at McClelland. She kindly gave me the entry form for the exhibition later this year for students at tertiary level including TAFE, which she has encouraged me to enter. (looking forward to it actually!!) Who wouldn’t want an opportunity to be shown in a gallery along with such fantastic works!

Another great day at TAFE, thanks guys!

Please note: The McClelland Gallery is holding an Art Chat at 10.30am tomorrow, Thursday 18th July at the gallery. Dr Janine Burke, author of several books based on art history, biographies and fiction will be talking about the current exhibition. Arrive early and for only  $5 have a coffee and muffin before the chat! Bookings are recommended for all art chats. McClelland can be contacted on: 03 9789 1671.

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