Posts Tagged Creative history

Now and Then



We have a title for the exhibition! And it’s ‘Now and Then’. Thank you to Robin Hines for developing a logo that represents our backwards/forwards view of history.


Robin Hines

Four of the G150 artists met at Gympie Library on October 4th for an update, to decide on the title and visit the local history section of Gympie Library.

Robin reported that he is well underway to producing a series of paintings depicting modern versions of objects from the Gympie Gold Mining and Historical Museum. Robin’s idea is to highlight the past by referring to the present by showing the older objects alongside his paintings of the new. So, an old tin bath and bathing will be alongside his painting of a nude in the shower.

Rhonda is recreating five objects from the Gold Mining and Historical Museum in felt. Her first completed piece highlights aspects of the role of women. Shawn is planning to create a dark space within the gallery for a video installation that is playful and historically interesting, and John is working on an installation that will highlight the various stages of Gympie’s development, as well as some woodcuts depicting mining activity.

Rhonda Rettke, Robin Hines and John Gerritsen
John Gerritsen showing the group some of his printed woodcuts depicting the mining industry.

We then visited the Local History Section of the Gympie Library where there’s a wealth of photos, maps and information. The room is manned on Tuesdays 10-3.00 by Rose Sami and available other times by request. Beth Wilson, is the person who knows most about  the collection, and it’s  best to make an appointment  with her regarding access. There are also a lot of heritage resources available via the Library’s website.

Rhonda rettke
Rhonda Rettke finding inspiration for her next felted work in the local history section.
Shawn Javis and Robin Hines
Shawn Jarvis and Robin Hines sharing some of the vast amount of information contained in the local history section.
Rose Sami keeps the collection open to the public on Tuesdays 10.00 am to 3.00 pm. Rose, a long term resident, has many stories to tell about Gympie’s history.



, , ,

Leave a comment

Artist Meeting and Museum Visit September 14th

Johng Gerritsen, Rhonda Rettke, Shawn Jarvis, and Robin Hines

Two of the artists selected for G150 are away until mid October, but the remaining four met with curator, Judy Barrass, at Gympie Regional Gallery to discuss the possibilities for artists working with museums, ideas for works and how the project might proceed. It is early in the project and there was as yet no interaction with the museums so ideas have yet to be fully formulated.

The afternoon was spent at Gympie Gold Mining and Historical Museum wandering through the vast collection looking for ideas and marvelling that John had expert knowledge about almost every piece of machinery or tool or display in the museum – even how the ancient dental drill worked!

Rhonda capturing images to take home and ponder
John explains the workings of a dentist drill to Shawn
Robin discovers the raw material for an installation in cupboard after cupboard filled with Gympie Times


Shawn excited to find one the same as he has at home, but in better condition than his


John checks out the make of the engine on a road roller

It did seem like the afternoon was a lot more fun and inspirational than talking and looking at slides of what other artists have done in the morning. After a slow start Robin went away with a sketchbook brimming with ideas, and John is possibly contemplating building a steam roller out of old road signs, or a dental drill out of old school books, or something like that. Rhonda and Shawn have taken home images of things that took their fancy or produced ideas. Who knows what’s going to come of it? Artworks we hope.


, , ,

Leave a comment

Gympie Gold Mining and Historical Museum

Gympie was once the home of the largest dairy in the Southern hemisphere.

One of the museums taking part in the project is the Gold Mining and Historical Museum  run by the Gympie Historical Society, which sprawls over a large site next to the very pleasant Lake Alford park on the outskirts of Gympie. The no longer operational No 2 South Great Eastern gold mine forms part of the site as well as a number of buildings including two school buildings, a church, a railway station and Andrew Fisher’s cottage. Exhibits from the timber industry, dairy industry, primary production, gems, shells, transport, military and a wide range of social history are part of a huge, eclectic collection that offers a vast trove of inspiration for artists. The extensive site and it’s collection are maintained by volunteers.

Secretary of Gympie Historical Society, Ralph Richardson, and Treasurer Marilyn Soames.

On a preliminary visit to the museum members of the Historical Society committee made curator, Judy Barrass, welcome, showed her around the site and were generally supportive of the idea of artists using the collection as the inspiraton for the G150 exhibition.

A wealth of machinery and tools tell the story of Gympie’s mining past.
The railway has been a huge influence on Gympie’s history from its inception to the present day

, ,

Leave a comment

Peta Duggan – Maryborough Military Museum, Collective Insites, Gatakers Artspace Mackay

Peta Duggan is a young woman who thinks things through, who asks the difficult questions and worries about the answers. Her interaction with the Maryborough Military Museum led to hours of thought and internal discussions that were documented in diary format.

Working with the Military Museum presented her with a personal dilemma. She was acutely aware of the honour and pride that the museum and its collection engendered in its custodians and in the community, and of the need to give due deference to the museum’s stories and heroes; and yet she was also not prepared to ignore her own distaste for war and aggression. Peta’s diaries tell of an internal conversation and questioning that went far deeper than interaction with mere objects.

The curator and the selection committee had deliberately chosen this vibrant young digital artist to interact with the conservative militarymuseum, and were sure the owners and staff had the goodwill and maturity to cope with what might come of it. The outcome has been exciting and rewarding.

The museum gave Peta full access to the collection and to a bank of many images of objects. She used many of these images in her work, combining  them with her own imagery  into a richly layered digital tapestry of story upon story.

To overcome some of the conflicts Peta found in dealing with her subject she positioned her work well into the future.

A time capsule (a large sculptural object created from found objects and digital imagery, created 100 years earlier has recently landed in the year 4200AZ  into a world where humans are no longer like us, but wars and conflicts are still occurring. The contents are now opened and revealed to the earth’s inhabitants.






Peta’s collection of 18 digital images  shown in the exhibition documents the contents of the capsule. They represent both an aftermath and our own future. Many fantastic and unimagined things have happened, and many wars have taken place, but ethical questions remain unanswered, which leads us to wonder about the nature of conflict and war. Will we continue to repeat history?

Her work recontextualises the message of the museum, placing it in a far less certain environment where truths are contested, assumptions are laid bare, and alternative points of view are allowed.  In doing so she allows her audience to consider the message of the museum outside the emotive context of its sacred objects and stories.

, , , ,

Leave a comment

David Hodges – Collective Insites – Gatakers Artspace, Marybourough

David Hodges knew right from the beginning that he was going to put together a new media work that built upon and reiterated the message of the National Trust property, Brennan and Geraghty’s Store Museum. His interaction with the collection immediately developed into a collaborative working arrangement with curator Ken Brookes.

David applied his considerable skills in graphic design, digital 3D modeling and video production to producing a touch screen installation that interpreted various significant items in the Brennan and Geraghty collection. In doing so he also created a lasting resource for the National Trust.

The video can be seen in a modified version for the internet here There are also some working videos and a summary from David of his approach to his work on the Collective Insites ABC Pool site.

For the group exhibition David’s installation was housed in a strange tardis-like construction made from old wooden election booths, which is shown under construction below.Visitors operated the touchscreen outside the booth and peeped through holes to see the large screen projection inside, an idea reminiscent of the old Victorian peephole shows.

The openings for the screen and peepholes were framed in ornate gilt , the whimsical idea of  Trevor Spohr who helped David construct the booth. It was an interesting juxtaposition of old and new, and fitted well with the theme of David’s work.

The touchscreen mounted in the viewing booth.

Peepholes were available at various heights.

, , , ,

Leave a comment

Fibro Coast – University of Sunshine Coast

invitationFibro Coast opened at University of Sunshine Coast Art Gallery on Thursday June 12th and runs until August 16th. There’s an interesting mix of objects, photos, memorabilia, and historical and traditional artworks, which sounds like a very eclectic exhibition, and it is. However co-curator John Waldron and Dawn Oelrich from University of Sunshine Coast Art Gallery have done a wonderful job putting together this large and complex exhibition and it looks good.

collageOn opening night exhibiting artists Judy Barrass and Corrie Wright welcomed visitors to the gallery with a projection performance on the copper walls of the gallery that included imagery and drawings of fibro houses and furniture from the 50’s and 60’s.



There is an extensive public programme to augment the exhibition. It includes:

Film screening – The Place at the Coast  Sunday 22 June 2014, 2pm to 4 pm

Discussion Forum – Fibro Coast Thursday 31 July 2014, 2:00pm – 5:00pm

Walking tour – Moffat Beach Sunday 3 August 2014, 2:00pm – 4:00pm

The full programme with descriptions and list of speakers can be found on  at

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Fibro Coast – University of Sunshine Coast June 2014

Judy Barrass -Australian BuildersAfter a successful showing at Gold Coast Arts Centre Fibro Coast exhibition will open in a new format at University of Sunshine Coast Gallery on June 12th   presenting  material from local private and public collections, artworks, architectural drawings, contemporary and historic photographs, ephemera, objects, and oral histories documentaries.  There is, in short, something for everyone. More information can be found on the Gallery website or at BlueSkyView.

My work for Fibro Coast includes video and a series of small, evocative,  paper structures reminiscent of reliquary boxes.

In wandering around my neighbourhood of Noosa photographing fibro houses for the project I was very aware that we are fast losing this part of our heritage. Many of the houses I photographed were for sale, not as houses but as development sites. Sometimes all we have left is piecemeal, blurred images, small fragments of the past. I have collected some of these fragments and boxed them as precious objects might be housed in a reliquary box, a tiny shrine to the past.

Here a snapshot of some of my works shown in the Gold Coast portion of the exhibition. Some of these will also be shown on the Sunshine Coast

Judy Barrass - Fibro Coast

Judy Barrass - 37 Moorindil

Judy Barrass - Memory box




, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

Highfield House- Pattern as History


Highfield House in northern Tasmania offers up its history in layer upon layer of wallpaper. Peeling, layered, scratched, stained and marked with the passage of time the walls and surfaces of Highfield House are a beautiful story of  changing styles, aspiration, decay and renewal.  A video of images taken on a visit to the house in 2009 has been uploaded to YouTube



, , , , , , , , ,


Collective Insites – Awards and more.

The Collective Insites project has been over now for some time, but before I wrap it up on this blog I should congratulate everyone involved for achieving a GAMMA Award for one of the best projects in 2011. Read about the awards at

Collective Insites is also now featured as a case study on the Arts Queensland website at

There’s possibly more I’ll post about collective Insites. I have a lot more images I should sort out and post and hope I can get to do that soon.

In the meantime I’m going to start using this blog to feature other works and  projects that take a creative approach to history.

, , , , , , ,


Creative History ‘Collective Insites’ now available as an e-book

An extended version of the catalogue essay with an introduction to the project and a section on the work of each of the artists is now available in e-book format at all major e-book retailers including the Kindle store on Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Kobo and Diesel. The book can be easily accessed in all e-reader formats as well as PDF and HTML by visiting the Smashwords publishing site  at this link or through any of the e-book retailers above.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,