It feels like the edge of the Earth. A roadside sign reads ‘population unknown’ with a large black question mark. Lightning Ridge has become an escape for hopeful miners, restless drifters and broken recluses looking for somewhere to disappear. Derelict cars, makeshift camps and precarious mineshafts dot the barren and hostile landscape.
Life on the minefields is slow. Simple. Modest. There’s not much to do but drink and dig. Those that mine live a subterranean existence only to surface for more diesel and beer. It’s backbreaking work fraught with injury and occasional fatality. Even the flies know their limit as the digging deepens and the sky recedes above. As if to reach into the darkness of deep space and discover a wayward star, finding an elusive ‘flash’ of opal is much of a blind lottery. Some prospectors inherit claims worked for years and deemed futile, only to dig a mere meter more than their forerunner and emerge with a life’s fortune.
Born of mineral alchemy opal is much like wine. Collected, traded, hoarded, its value is determined by a complex rubric complicated by international markets, subjective taste and ambitious salesmanship. Like a savvy sommelier, opal dealers can read the signatory characteristics of the iridescent stone, placing its regional origin to specific mine sites with an uncanny accuracy, from Lunatic’s Hill to 3 Mile.
Aboveground miners are coy about their success. They sit poker-faced at the pub weary of shifty ‘ratters’ who make their living as underground thieves. Some are scruffy millionaires with holes in their boots and camps in deliberate disrepair trying to blend in and avoid trouble. The more resourceful folk short of cash or downright bored will spend their days in the scorching sun ‘noodling’. They sift by hand through the mountains of discarded mullock for any overlooked or inferior gems, often sold in jam jars to naïve tourists at scheming prices.
Today the Ridge is a cliché tale of boom and bust. As the opal exhausts and trade contracts, tourism has transformed the town into a mining caricature. Lightning Without Flash meanders off the map, unearthing stray visions of a dusty town and the people who call the Ridge home.
Joe will be in Warwick on Saturday 14 May at 11am to present a talk about his work
Warwick Potters Association was formed in 1973 by an enthusiastic group, keen to learn pottery. The Potters continue to promote the art of clay and support the Southern Downs community.
The Potters hold regular workshops with visiting tutors and conduct in house lessons for both adults and children with their own skilled members. This exhibition showcases the wonderful potential of clay as an expressive medium.
Participating artists; Pat Almond, Sue Creed, Dianne Gray, Leah Kelly, Sue Keong, Penny King, Alan Lang, Roslyn Lang, Noelene Luck, Kym Rose, Jennifer Shergold and Sue Whitton
Plan your visit to Warwick Art Gallery using our Exhibitions Calendar.
Our three unique exhibition spaces are updated every 4 to 8 weeks. We are open 10 am to 4 pm Tuesday to Saturday.
||ORANGE WALL GALLERY
|12 May - 9 July 2022
Lightning Without Flash
In his solo exhibition Lightning Without Flash, documentary photographer Joe Ruckli seeks to unearth the idiosyncratic qualities of Lightning Ridge, a rural mining town in northern New South Wales, famous for its large deposits of Black Opal.
The featured objects and photographs suggest an inhospitable landscape that belies the beauty of its gems and precarious labour hidden below. Scorched by the sun and secluded deep within Australia’s vast interior, the exhibition reveals strange and surreal glimpses of life on the minefields and its fringes; a subterranean world where prospectors chase their fortune and hermits search for somewhere to retreat or disappear.
|26 May - 9 Jul 2022
From the Ground Up
A collection of works from members, focussing on the phrase From the Ground Up. Small clubs like the Warwick Potters begin because likeminded people wanted to come together to create, learn and share their potting journey. They start small and grow into thriving community hubs. Members come and go but the club house is always there, much like our natural landscape, it blooms and thrives and hibernates through the seasons, natural disasters can devastate the landscape but once that has passed it blossoms again in all its glory.
Like many small community clubs that have suffered throughout the pandemic as they struggle to adapt to the post pandemic world, and our natural landscapes after bushfires and floods we are rebuilding from the ground up
14 July - 27 August 2022
The Ozquilt Network Inc. is Australia’s organisation for makers of art quilts and supporters of art quilts as a medium. Established a little over 30 years ago, the Network’s vision is to raise the profile and status of art quilters, art quilts and art quilt making in Australia.
Australia Wide Eight is the latest exhibition in a series that have toured the nation since 2008. The juried exhibition features 36 art quilts that showcase innovation in the art quilt movement. The works highlight the scope and variety of the ‘stitched and layered textile medium’.
21 July - 20 August 2022
Community Paper Quilt Project - Abundance
Our paper quilt is a collaborative art project made from hundreds of paper artworks that respond to the theme “abundance”. This installation, celebrating creativity and participation, will be assembled by Warwick Art Gallery staff and volunteers.
1 September - 8 October
A name for the Group was agreed and the “Warwick Artists Group” came into being with a membership subscription of ten shillings each year.
The meeting closed at the end of lunch and all members happily returned to their half-finished paintings.
In this sixtieth year, the Warwick Artists Group celebrates its longevity by presenting their regular biennial exhibition at the Warwick Art Gallery. “60 YEARS IN THE MAKING’ showcases the work of our members and includes not only painters, but fibre artists, printmakers, bookmakers and other paper crafters.
25 August - 1 October
Rightly or wrongly, art is predominantly associated with the sense of sight.
13 October to 19 November
If we don't tell you...
WALK WITH US...
WALK WITH US is a group exhibition of The Demented Artists Group Inc. Using the healing power of Art to enhance the lives of those in recovery and to help break the stigma surrounding Mental Health. The artworks have been created by our members of differing skill levels and at different stages on their journey to wellness.
6 October to 12 November
Landscape and nature are important to me; observing the colours, the changes, the shape, the peace, beauty of our environment is what I explore in my art. Seeing the beauty in what surrounds us is important to me, so beauty is what is depicted. There may be harshness in the landscape but beauty lies in the colour, textures, contrasts and the way the various elements interact and influence each other.
A tree may be dead but there is beauty in the structure of the branches and the trunk, how they come together and meld with each other. The colours can be faded, greyed, blackened but the story and beauty of the tree is still there and continuing.
Man-made structures have the potential to be part of this too with colours, reflections, shadows, light connecting them and allowing a merger with the beauty of the natural environment.
24 November to 7 January 2023
Warwick Artist Fiona Hayes interprets scenes of shops, cafés and houses in watercolour, coloured pencil and ink. She is captivated by urban clutter, rubbish bins, advertising, street signage and power lines. These details augment familiar local and vacation destinations with a human element prompting viewers to answer the question “do you see what I see?”
17 November to 14 January 2023
Lauren M’s series Once Upon A Table was conceived after the artist completed a digital drawing of a Woolworth’s brand Mudcake with a “reduced” sticker, laying on a red gingham tablecloth. The artist found a sense of joy and comfort in the image as it reminded her of simpler times and finding happiness in the small things. Drawn by the idea of “simple food” on a table, the artist reflected on her yonder years and could recall many other items of foods, beverages and even utensils that brought her a sense of joy, comfort and nostalgia.
Warwick’s Cattle Dog Printmakers celebrate their seven year anniversary with an exhibition showcasing a form of the visual parts that closely blends art with crafty. The exhibition comprises printed works by group members which have been produced using a range of techniques including lino cut, lithograph, collagraph, etching and engraving.
In recent years the group has extended their practice by exploring bookmaking, collage and papier mache. A collaborative installation “Bespoke” consists of several small and unique three dimensional works all made of paper. The exhibition also included a visual narrative illustrating the interesting and diverse craft of the printmaker. Artists Gayle Pershouse, Mo Skett, Rita Crawford, Jill Birtwistle, Sandra Bartley, Susan Ellwood, Eileen Mair, Kaz Thorpe and Kris Woodd
Warwick Art Gallery has been organising the Condamine Country Art and Open Studio Trail (CCART) since 2020. It is the "little sister" event to the Granite Belt Art and Craft Trail (GBART) and from 2022 onwards will be held in alternating years to GBART. Our Trail seeks to, first and foremost, provide a platform for local artists to share their practice with others and highlight the significant economic and social impact the arts have on our community.
The success of our previous two CCARTs in 2020 and 2021 has established the reputation of the event to attract out of region visitors. Feedback gathered from attendees and participants from these years have also identified that these visitors are spending money on accommodation and meals enjoying the region for a couple of days. This arts driven economic impact builds community pride and activates artists to feel positive about their contribution to the prosperity of the Region.
WHAT IS AN ARTS TRAIL?
Basically it is a publication with a map showing information about artisans and venues including their locations so visitors can plan their own “adventure”. The idea is for people to use this booklet to create their own adventure across the advertised days/times in November.
WHO CAN APPLY?
Artisans residing on the Southern Downs north of Dalveen. Unfortunately we cannot extend the trail beyond the boundary of the Southern Downs Regional Council.
Image: Artist Dawn Head Rose Photographer Samantha Bennett
Launched in 1993 in Gdynia, Poland, the Baltic Mini Textile exhibition is one of Europe’s leading reviews of textile miniatures. The juried event is held every three years featuring artists from all over the globe.
The remarkable characteristics of the 20cm x 20cm x 20cm textile miniatures are significant for their close ties with the latest trends in contemporary art. The artists are given strict size restrictions while being left with a freedom of choice of topic, material and technique; the resulting miniatures serve as veritable laboratories illuminating the new possibilities presented by artistic textiles.
“The small scale lets artists experiment with complex, intricate techniques and use delicate, ephemeral materials. The huge variety of the artists own techniques and fascinating artistic solutions show us that textile miniatures are a fully independent, important genre, full of potential.” Anna Śliwa, Exhibition Co-Curator, Gdynia City Museum
Warwick Art Gallery (Queensland, Australia) and Gdynia City Museum (Poland), have collaborated to bring this special exhibition to tour Australia, It features thirty six works from the Gdynia City Museum collection.
Warwick Art Gallery and Brisbane based/Polish born artist Jolanta Szymczyk have collaborated to bring the Baltic Mini Textile exhibition to Australia in 2021/2022.
36 works have been selected by the curator Anna Śliwa for the tour, in partnership with Warwick Art Gallery Director Karina Devine. They have selected a combination of free standing and hanging works.
Itinerary (correct 10 February 2022 but subject to change)
22 May – 13 July 2021 Capalaba Art Gallery, Capalaba, Queensland
22 July – 18 August 2021 Colac Otway Performing Arts & Cultural Centre, Colac, Victoria
27 August – 23 October 2021 The Old Ambulance Station, Nambour, Queensland
4 December 2021 – 15 January 2022 Warwick Art Gallery, Warwick, Queensland
22 January – 12 March 2022 Dogwood Crossing @ Miles, Miles, Queensland
18 March - 30 April 2022 Gympie Bones Museum, Gympie, Queensland
15 May – 19 June 2022 Cowra Regional Art Gallery, Cowra, New South Wales
We are looking for additional venues July - November 2022 - please contact Warwick Art Gallery on 07 4661 0434
Work on this exhibition started in 2012 when Queen of Tea Cosies Loani Prior and photographer Mark Crocker travelled to six towns in three states meeting tea cosy guardians and recording their stories. From these meetings Mark has produced 40 black and white portraits of the interviewees with their tea cosies in colour. Their stories have been turned into an audio presentation and delightful quotes about family, friendship and the joy of owning something handcrafted.
This exhibition also stars 20 exuberant TEA COSIES created by Loani Prior, author of three best selling books, Wild Tea Cosies, Really Wild Tea Cosies and How Tea Cosies Change the World. They are knitted objets d’art, woolly sculptures; clever and funny, like nothing you will have seen before.
The exhibition was displayed first in Warwick during Jumpers and Jazz in July 2013. The tour includes the following locations: Mittagong, Northern Territory, Hervey Bay, Miles, Longreach, Bundaberg, Ballina and Canberra. The tour was completed in 2015. Mark Crocker's prtraits are now part of the Warwick Art Gallery collection.
This project is supported by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the Australian state and territory governments and by Arts Queensland in the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts.
This project has also been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.