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Past Exhibitions and Events

Saturday 7 December 2019 - Sunday 1 March 2020

This summer SAM presents Collector/Collected, a maximalist exhibition exploring the art of collecting.

Collector/Collected is an exhibition in three parts. It showcases two major collections of Australian studio pottery from the 1960s and 70s: The Studio Pottery from the John Nixon Collection and SAM’s own collection from this period. SAM presents these two significant collections alongside the work of four contemporary artists, Tony Albert, Kate Daw, Geoff Newton and David Sequeira, each of whom explore ideas of collecting and collections.

Nixon’s collection features works by 29 artists living and working in and around the eastern suburbs of Melbourne throughout the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Among the artists featured are those associated with the well-known Potter’s Cottage in Warrandyte, including Sylvia and Artur (Artek) Halpern, Charles Wilton, Gus and Betty McLaren, Phyl Dunn and Reg Preston, Fritz and Kate Janeba and Elsa Ardern.

“Looking at this incredible collection of hand-made pottery: wrenched, moulded and fired from clay sourced from local earth around the suburbs and backyards of Melbourne – the beating heart of creativity itself can almost be grasped. This exhibition is testament to how passion, knowledge and dedication can transform the everyday act of collecting into cultural treasure,” explains Deakin University Curator, James Lynch.

Nixon’s collection will be joined by pieces by the same artists from SAM’s own collection, totalling close to 350 works in the most comprehensive presentation of their work to date, and captures a particular moment in Australian history.   

“In part, the value of collections is how they enable us to reconsider and rethink history through our own contemporary lens and times,” says Director of SAM, Dr Rebecca Coates.

“Each artist’s project in Collector/Collected reveals an aspect of the motivations for collecting - from obsession, compulsion, means of discovery and exploration, to just plain delight of the aesthetic object. Collector/Collected continues our examination of the relationship between art, design and architecture through collections including ceramics, for which SAM has become known”, says Ms Coates. 

Modernist art, architecture and design emerged in Australia, reflecting post-war aspirations in domestic ware and functional items. Cooperatives and studios such as Potters Cottage and Cottles Bridge were formed by artists and craftspeople to meet the growing public demand for the hand-made but affordable – an integral part of the aspiration for a modern lifestyle of new housing and local manufacture.

Ceramics and the hand-made were part of this trend, and the houses of Warrandyte, Eltham and Hurstbridge of this period often featured modernist design elements such as mud-brick architecture, Scandinavian furniture, sea-grass matting and Australian native gardens. Many of these features are again having their moment in the sun, alongside our continued contemporary obsession and love of all things ceramic. 

The works were sold in department stores, such as Georges, David Jones and Myers in Melbourne, as well as the well-known Little Collins Street store, Primrose Pottery Shop. A vital commercial outlet for a group of emerging and established artists, potters and designers in post-war Melbourne, including studio potters Allan Lowe, Arthur Boyd, John Perceval and Neil Douglas, with proprietors Edith and Betty MacMillan working closely with suppliers, and commissioning and taking works on consignment.

In and around the two ceramics collections are four projects by leading contemporary artists Tony Albert, Kate Daw, Geoff Newton, and David Sequeira.

Tony Albert’s CLASH (2019) continues the artist’s ongoing series of installations which use text and appropriated imagery to examine the historical representation of Aboriginal people and culture. As with other works in this series, CLASH draws on Albert’s own extensive, personal collection of largely mid-twentieth century ‘Aboriginalia’, a term used by Albert to describe kitsch domestic objects and tourist artefacts that feature naïve ‘caricaturing’ of Aboriginality. The title CLASH points to an underlying friction, a clash of experiences and cultures.

Kate Daw presents a new installation conceived especially for SAM, reflecting on feminine experience, language and modernist design. Daw’s motifs draw on domestic interiors, decoration and design; floral wallpaper, paintings of fabric patterning, perfume packaging and book covers, and text describing a domestic scene from a John le Carre novel, each letter formed by hand in clay. In Art, Work, Life (Carlton Ware) (2009), Daw has created a collection of white ceramic cups and saucers – replicas of tableware by the Stoke-on-Trent pottery manufacturer, stripped of their distinctive colours and decoration.

Paintings from Geoff Newton’s The Victorian Scene (2015) feature the streetscapes immediately visible from the entrance of regional art galleries and museums across Victoria. Collector/Collected presents 11 paintings from this series, showing the vistas outside the following galleries; Ballarat, Bendigo, Benalla, Castlemaine, Geelong, Mildura, Mornington, Shepparton, Swan Hill, Wagga Wagga and Warrnambool. Newton captured the day-to-day detail of the scenes  – furniture, handrails, benches, carparks – using his camera, which he then outsourced to be painted and reinterpreted by artists at a manufacturing company in China. The scenes prompt broader reflection on the role and history of these buildings, each with their own stories, collectors and collections, while the paintings’ production also inherently raise the intersecting issues of authorship, reproduction, commodification, and the system of collecting and valuation.

For David Sequeira, colour is a catalyst for his collecting. Sequeira started incorporating monochromatic vessels in his work in the mid-1990s, sourcing them from second-hand stores and op shops. Dating predominantly from the 1960s onwards, Sequeira’s collection of coloured vases – often considered kitsch and discarded by their owners – introduces another aspect of modern design. Gathered together, the experience of the individual vessels is transformed, from an object that is self-contained with its own chain of connection to its original context and use, to one that exists as part of a larger composition based on the study of colour and form.

Studio Pottery from the John Nixon Collection was conceived and presented at Deakin University by curator James Lynch in 2018.

Image: Installation view, Studio Pottery from the John Nixon Collection, Deakin University Art Gallery 2018. Photo by Simon Peter Fox. 

Showcase #24: Regeneration
Friday 8 November 2019 - Wednesday 5 February 2020

SAM is delighted to partner with Craft Victoria in presenting its latest Showcase exhibition, created by Adelaide based ceramic artist Kerryn Levy.

Showcase #24: Regeneration, is inspired by Levy’s recent trip to Central Australia where she took particular interest in the regeneration of certain plant species following a controlled burn-off in the bush, and the striking colours that occurred as a result.

Using a variety of hand-building techniques Levy makes sculptural vessels reminiscent of human, animal and botanical bodies. When paired or grouped, these forms nestle and dance with one another. Their surfaces reflect the colours and textures of the Australian landscape.

For this new body of work, Levy has taken the opportunity to explore larger, more complex forms, constructing pairs of entwined figures that twist, turn and grow through and around each other. Scattered amongst these larger forms, smaller, brightly coloured pieces represent new growth, and show Levy’s ability to create and explore with a range of new glazes and textures.

After studying a Bachelor of Visual Arts at the University of South Australia (2014) and completing the Associate Program at JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design (2018), Kerryn Levy continues to practice from her JamFactory studio in Adelaide. In 2018 Levy attended the Shiro Oni residency in Onishi, Japan, and earlier this year participated in The Ghan artist in residence Darwin-Adelaide, which was influential in the creation of work for Regeneration.

Artworks from Regeneration are available for purchase at the SAM shop.

The Craft x SAM Showcase is a curated program of exhibitions in partnership with Craft Victoria and Shepparton Art Museum.

Image: Kerryn Levy, Vessels with Kintsugi Detail. 

Drawing Wall #37 - Emily Ferretti
Friday 1 November 2019 - Wednesday 25 March 2020

Melbourne based painter Emily Ferretti will be the 37th artist to take on SAM’s drawing wall - an ongoing series of commissioned, temporary wall-based drawings enlivening the foyer space of Riverlinks Eastbank.

On my way’ will be a painting that describes travelling through landscape. There is a repetitive nature to the work that mimics the feeling of moving past the environment at speed. Tree trunks feel like they bend as you move past them rhythmically like a beat of a drum.

“When thinking about the rural nature of Shepparton I kept on thinking about my time growing up in the country and the freedom I felt once I could drive. I wanted to make an image that represents that freedom but also captures my observations of the landscape when moving past it,” explains Ferretti.

Using acrylic paints, Ferretti will create a piece using rollers, brushes, and mops which have been altered, to create texture and marks that enhance the feeling of this movement.

A Melbourne based painter, Ferretti grew up in country Victoria and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2006.

Dedicated to a full-time studio practice over the past fifteen years, her works often depict rural, landscape and domestic scenes. Ferretti has exhibited widely and undertaken studio residences including Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, Cite de Arts International, Paris, and Green Street, New York. Emily Ferretti is represented by Sophie Gannon Gallery, Melbourne.

Image: Emily Ferretti, photo by Amina Barolli.

Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul
Saturday 14 September 2019 - Sunday 24 November 2019

Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul is a Bundanon Trust touring exhibition that features 40 paintings and 20 works on paper, including a group of masterpieces borrowed from major state art museums, as well as letters, photographs and sketchbooks spanning almost half a century and featuring works from Boyd’s adolescence through to his final years.

The three-year national touring exhibition curated by Barry Pearce, Emeritus Curator of Australian Art AGNSW, explores Arthur Boyd’s lifetime of landscape paintings.

Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul offers the first in depth look at the artist’s powerful early grasp of the landscape as a subject. Bookended by Boyd’s youthful paintings of the Mornington Peninsula in the 1930s and the final phase of his career depicting the Shoalhaven area in southern New South Wales in the mid-1970s, Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul considers not only the topographic landscape, but also the landscape Boyd carried within himself.

As a friend of Boyd, guest curator Barry Pearce brings a unique insight to his curatorial role, allowing this exhibition to move beyond the traditional academic understanding of Boyd’s career and delve deeper into the rich personal landscape of the acclaimed Australian artist.

Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul is supported by the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to the national collections for all Australians.

Being presented alongside this exhibition is the SAM curated The Boyd Family: A Legacy of Pottery

The Boyd Family: A Legacy of Pottery showcases many of the over 140 ceramic works by the extended Boyd family from SAM's own Collection.

Celebrating decoration, the domestic and the every-day, these works reveal the way in which art and design intersected for the Boyd family and the influences and inspirations that crossed art, architecture, literature and life.

For more information on The Boyd Family: A Legacy of Pottery, please click here

Image: Arthur Boyd, Peter's fish and crucifixion, c1993, oil on canvas, Bundanon Trust Collection.

The Boyd Family: A Legacy of Pottery
Saturday 14 September 2019 - Sunday 1 March 2020

The Boyd Family: A Legacy of Pottery is a SAM curated exhibition showcasing many of the over 140 ceramic works by the extended Boyd family from SAM's own Collection.

Celebrating decoration, the domestic and the every-day, these works reveal the way in which art and design intersected for the Boyd family and the influences and inspirations that crossed art, architecture, literature and life. 

The Boyd Family: A Legacy of Pottery features works by William Merric Boyd (1888-1959) and Doris Boyd (1889-1960), Arthur Boyd’s parents; Lucy Boyd (1916-2009) and husband Hatton Beck (1901-1994); Arthur Boyd (1920-1999) and Arthur Merric Boyd Pottery which included collaborations between Boyd, Neil Douglas (1911-2003) and John Perceval (1923-2000); Guy Boyd (1923-1988) and Martin Boyd Pottery; David Boyd (1924-2011) and wife Hermia Jones (1931-2000); Mary Boyd (1926-2016) and husband John Perceval (1923-2000).

This show will be presented alongside Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul, a Bundanon Trust touring exhibition, providing a unique insight into the Boyd national legacy.

Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul features 40 paintings and 20 works on paper, including a group of masterpieces borrowed from major state art museums, as well as letters, photographs and sketchbooks spanning almost half a century and featuring works from Boyd’s adolescence through to his final years.

The three-year national touring exhibition curated by Barry Pearce, Emeritus Curator of Australian Art AGNSW, explores Arthur Boyd’s lifetime of landscape paintings.

For further information on Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul, please click here

Photo: Stephanie Bradford. 

Showcase #23: Way to your heart
Wednesday 14 August 2019 - Wednesday 6 November 2019

SAM is delighted to partner with Craft Victoria to present Melbourne based ceramicist Zhu Ohmu in Showcase #23, which will feature a completely new body of work.

Ohmu's coiled pieces investigate the resurgence of the handmade and the ethics of slowness in an age of mass producation.

The initial concept for Zhu Ohmu's coiled vessels was a response to the rise in popularity of 3D printed ceramics. Corresponding to biomimicry - the imitation of systems of nature - the artist wanted to explore how forms would emerge if she used her hands to mimic the way a 3D printer operates through extrusion.

Ohmu's vessels are built through stacking, folding, pressing and pulling; these actions are often dictated by the weight of moist clay. Forms emerge intuitively and seem to ebb and flow, often pushed to their structural limits.

Zhu Ohmu's exhibition pieces are available for sale at the SAM shop, or why not immerse yourself in art-making? Ohmu is leading a public workshop where participants can create thier own Amoebic Planter using hand-building techniques. Or drop the kids with SAM on Saturday morning, where they will enjoy a unique rice paper cutting workshop lead by Ohmu.

Further details and booking information for both workshops are available on our Programs & Events page.

The Craft x SAM Showcase is a curated program of exhibitions in partnership with Craft Victoria and Shepparton Art Museum.

Image: Zhu Ohmu with form. Courtesy of the artist.

Drawing Wall #36 - Carla McRae
Friday 2 August 2019 - Wednesday 23 October 2019

Artist Carla McRae’s Drawing Wall 'Resting, rising 2019' is painted in acrylics and draws from some key pieces in A Finer Grain: Selected Works from the SAM Collection exhibition currently on display at SAM.

The 4 x 12 metre painting centres around a rendition of Ethel Spowers’ ‘Resting Models’ linocut print. A strong Australian woman artist and passionate modernist, Spowers was prolific throughout the 20’s and 30’s.

Artist McRae reflects “the women in this piece rest affirmed and at ease in each other’s company. Key pieces from the collection, refined and rendered down to simplified geometric forms and bold colours, drift and rise behind the women. Margaret Preston’s magnolias bloom, alongside forms derived from the ceramics of Penny Smith, Fiona Murphy, Susan Laurent, Angela Valamanesh, Kirsten Coelho and Khai Lieu.”

“They form a world of strength and companionship for these women; soft and sharp, light and dark, deep and uplifting. This piece speaks to a sisterhood and is a celebration of the contrasting, complex and powerful spirit of these artists and their artworks -- a force growing stronger, together,” said McRae. SAM Director Rebecca Coates said that this new Drawing Wall commission compliments the new collection show, A Finer Grain: selected works from the SAM collection, and continues to develop a connection between visitors of SAM and the performing arts centre.

McRae is a Melbourne-based artist and illustrator with a distinct modern graphical style of art. Her drawings pull together a blank space with clean lines, geometric shapes and strong colour. Always working to create clear, simplistic and honest images, McRae’s work depicts open narratives inspired by the beauty of everyday moments, small gestures and simple pleasures.

After graduating from the Graphic Design and Communication program at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, McRae’s unfurling illustration practice drove her to Melbourne, where she has been working and exhibiting ever since. From editorial, publishing, branding and apparel to sock design, large-scale mural projects and teaching programs, McRae has worked and collaborated with notable local and international clients around the world.

Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award 2019
Friday 21 June 2019 - Sunday 1 September 2019

The SMFACA is one of the most prestigious awards in the visual arts in Australia, with a uniquely ceramic focus. The award will be announced on Friday 21 June, and the exhibition will run until September.

Click here for more information about the award and this year's shortlisted artists.

Drawing Wall #35 Alex Pittendrigh
Friday 10 May 2019 - Wednesday 24 July 2019

The thirty-fifth Shepparton Art Museum Drawing Wall features artist Alex Pittendrigh with a work called Près des Eaux: Tears of Isis, a large abstract painting referencing water and river systems.

It ties together the artist’s interest in environment, but also his long-held passion for ancient cultures. This work specifically references symbolic and sacred readings of water in Egyptian tomb paintings. In a contemporary context, it references issues faced by river systems in Australia such as the recent catastrophic ‘kill’ events within Australian rivers such as at the Murray Darling basin /Menindee.

“The title is in part taken from an ongoing series of paintings of my own that are themselves riffing off an eponymously titled series of watercolours by Gustave Moreau at his house Museum in Paris, which were abstractions meditating on mythological subjects that appeared to the artist whilst in a liminal, sleep-like state,” said Mr Pittendrigh.

“At a symbolic level, water symbolises rebirth and new life after the destruction wrought by flood.”

The Drawing Wall zig zag pattern expands over approximately 10x2 m across the wall’s surface. The work has been painted with pencil and non-toxic acrylic and watercolour paints.

“On occasion the viewer will be confronted by irregularities or fractures in the overall geometric design, suggesting that the waters life giving flow has been disrupted or perhaps polluted by a lack of care for what has given life and a failure to heed the wisdom of those who cared for it long before,” he said.

About the Artist

Alex Pittendrigh was born in 1966 in Melbourne and lives and works in Melbourne and Tanja, NSW.

Working chiefly in painting, sculpture and installation, he maintains a strong interest in classical antiquity and how its long echo might usefully intersect with the present day and how it continues to resonate with contemporary culture’s anxieties and discontents.

He has undertaken residencies at The British School at Rome, Italy; The Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris; Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne, and has participated in group shows such as “Uncanny Nature” at The Australian centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), ”Lurid Beauty” at The National Gallery of Victoria, “Wilderness” at The Art Gallery of NSW, and others including Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Contemporary Art Tasmania, Hobart and Devonport Regional Gallery, and Two rooms, Auckland.

He was a founding member of the Artist run initiative First Floor in Melbourne, and has also exhibited at other ARIs such as Caves, Melbourne; Stereo Exchange, Copenhagen; and Dunedin.

Image: Alex Pittendrigh working on the drawing wall. Photo: Amina Barolli Photography. 

Showcase #22: earth bound, in flight: ceramic artists of Baluk Arts
Thursday 9 May 2019 - Wednesday 7 August 2019

The 22nd Showcase at the Shepparton Art Museum features Indigenous art from the Baluk Arts group and includes natural materials such as feathers and clay.

The exhibition is called ‘earth bound, in flight: ceramic artists of Baluk Arts’ and will be in the Showcase at SAM from 9 May to 7 August in collaboration with Craft.

Baluk (also spelt balluk or balug) is a Boonwurrung word meaning group of people.

Baluk Arts is a 100% Aboriginal owned & operated non-profit Victorian Aboriginal arts organisation based in Mornington.

earth bound, in flight is a record of making at Baluk, punctuating the importance of collaboration and shared understanding of culture and community. Artists here represent the beginnings of artistic practice and the achievements that come from many years of concentrated learning.

It features work by Lisa Waup, Cassie Leatham, Beverley Meldrum and Tallara Gray and feathers by Robert Kelly, Patsy Smith, Yvonne Luke, Lynnette Pitt, Robert Austin Djeranarlumn, Nick Kupetsky, Daniel Kelly, Sharee Harper, and Mai Katona.

The Baluk Arts Showcase is  part of curated program of exhibitions in partnership with Craft for SAM.

 Image: Lisa Waup, Keeping Culture (5 of 7), 2019, Porcelain, Emu Feathers, Parrot Feathers, Cotton, Hand Forged Copper Railway Wire, Silver Solder, 21 x 10 x 10cm. Photo: Amina Barolli Photography


Arlo Mountford: Deep Revolt
Thursday 18 April 2019 - Monday 10 June 2019

Arlo Mountford’s practice brings large scale interactive installations paired with sound, video and animation to the gallery.

Arlo's work assaults our individual and collective memories of all things art history through the lens of the contemporary. Amusing, strange and laden with references, his films engage the darker side of our political and social histories through the construct of the art institution and the seminal works held within.

This survey exhibition brings together several video works stitching together a lesson in time, place, and art history and shows a gradual distillation and culmination of his ideas to date.

For the SAM iteration of this touring exhibition, two extra works will be included: The Folly and Clock.

Arlo's works are filled with historical references and are enjoyable for all ages. You can view a sample below:

See our Programs and Events page for the variety of workshops that have been inspired by Arlo's works.

Image: Arlo Mountford, Walking the Line (still), 2013, dual channel HD digital animation, 4 channel surround sound, 14:37 minutes. Edition of 5. Commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria for Melbourne Now. Image courtesy the artist and Sutton Gallery Melbourne.

Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) presents Arlo Mountford Deep Revolt, an exhibition developed by Goulburn Regional Art Gallery and toured nationally in partnership with Museums & Galleries of NSW, alongside additional key works by Arlo Mountford. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

Heather Hesterman - Survey : Multiples
Thursday 18 April 2019 - Monday 10 June 2019

The exhibition survey: multiples, provides the viewer with a space to observe and navigate each object as part of a terrain, like points on a map. The objects each have individual meaning, yet collectively, they contribute to a deeper conversation about our human connection with the natural environment.

The work and collected objects in this cabinet draw on ideas and materials collected and developed over several years of Heather Hesterman’s practice. Collectively, the work investigates intersections of place, ecology, education and science.

Looking through this glass cabinet, we are brought closer into Hesterman’s world of seeing, which is often through an art/scientific lens. As viewers, we feel too, as if we are looking through the artist’s microscope or looking glass. The body of work before us shows a process of documenting, measuring, categorising and sifting through objects and issues both micro and macro.  Hesterman uses repetition, time, space and scale as continual visual cues and themes in her artistic practice and research to explore issues concerning both our inner and outer landscapes: the emotional and the geographic.  Works such as Warming, 2017, look at globally pertinent issues of climate change, whilst works like Waiting or ACT NOW, 2005, analyse the history and materiality of print media and the democratic model of disseminating information.

Hesterman’s training in fine art, education and landscape design combined with a passion for horticulture and an inherently active imagination, are the complementary perspectives in which she grounds her work.  In her process of making, she says ideas evolve, extend and shift along trajectories, “like the unseen paths of a sub-terrain rhizome, sending shoots up from nodes to break through to the surface”. 

Heather is a lecturer with the School of Art at RMIT and has exhibited locally and internationally with artworks held in both private and public collections in Australia, Germany and The Netherlands.