Past Exhibitions and Events

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.

Drawing Wall #34 - Steven Rhall
Friday 22 February 2019 - Wednesday 1 May 2019

Discover the meaning of the barely visible 'AT THIS SITE', the latest instalment by artist Steven Rhall. This unique drawing wall is a sign post that reflects on Australia's history and the absence of Aboriginal voice.

The SAM Drawing Wall is located in the Eastbank foyer, adjacent to the SAM entrance.

Steven Rhall is an interdisciplinary artist of the Taungurung People, whose practice spans photography, sculpture, and performance including public and private interventions responding both to cultural histories of place and ideas about their potential futures. He lives and works in Melbourne, Victoria. Rhall exhibits internationally, lectures at the Victorian College of the Arts, and is a current PhD candidate at Monash University on Birrarung-ga land (Melbourne, Australia).

For this particular commission, Rhall has painted the oversized text AT THIS SITE in a gloss white paint on a flat white, almost grey, finish. The effect is a phrase that is barely visible. The letters are ceiling to floor in height, and stretch the full length of the wall. The viewer is encouraged to ‘find’ the letters, and thus decipher the meaning underlying the text. The difficulty of doing so is intentional. Rhall’s choice of text and colour intentionally challenge ideas around what First Nations artwork should be, from dot paintings of central desert art, to the use of colour and form. These words and the way in which they have been treated reveals a desire to reflect on the way that Aboriginal and Colonial cultural histories and perspectives have, historically, not always been visible or aligned.

The term SITE has two meanings. It refers to the place that the work is situated. It also has a wider significance for the artist; as the site where the artist’s mother grew up as a young girl, on the banks of the Kaiela (Goulburn River) between Mooroopna and Shepparton – a place more familiarly known as The Flat’s, and where she was removed from her family by authorities.

Rhall’s reference to a specific location and event can also be read as emblematic of many such occurrences experienced by many Aboriginal communities.  Rhall gives voice to a part of Australia’s history, the absence of Aboriginal voice, a lived experience, and the ongoing presence of the past as something that we all share and can comprehend.

Black is Black - Tracy Muirhead
Tuesday 19 February 2019 - Wednesday 8 May 2019

South African born, Melbourne based ceramic artist Tracy Muirhead works predominantly with hand-building processes.

Her practice is informed by the intuitive nature of clay where stretched, torn, squished and pierced pieces are a result of a playful process of discovery and experimentation.

Sourcing black clay from the UK, white stoneware clay from Australia and terracotta from Africa, her work is influenced by the diverse global history of ceramics.  This body of work Black is Black explores Tracy Muirhead’s fascination with black.  Her experiments with white clay stoneware are transformed into bold, strong and powerful pieces through black glazes, gloss finishes, and exhibited alongside more raw pieces made from black clay.

“I resonate strongly with black.  I’m drawn to it over any colour – whether it is in clothing, furniture, art. I find black comforting and familiar.”

Tracy completed her Diploma of Arts (Ceramics) from Box Hill Tafe in 2010. She has exhibited across Australia and her work can be found in numerous private collections. She maintains a strong studio practice from her home in Donvale Victoria.

Tracy Muirhead on Instagram

Craft X SAM is a collaborative project in partnership with Craft.

2018 Indigenous Ceramic Award (ICA)
Saturday 25 August 2018 - Sunday 11 November 2018

The Shepparton Art Museum is pleased to announce the winner of the 2018 Indigenous Ceramic Award - Yhonnie Scarce, for her work, Servant and Slave, 2018.

The winning work was selected for the way it speaks to difficult histories with a delicacy and resolved sophistication of language and material. In an extension of her previous work, Scarce rethinks the traditions of fine porcelain and tea. Her broken and intentionally fragmented porcelain cups appear inhabited or co-opted by a series of black glass forms. She invites us to reflect on past oppressions and lived experiences from her own family.

The $20,000 Indigenous Ceramic Award (ICA) is the most prestigious national award for Indigenous ceramics, showcasing new and exciting developments in the field. The acquisitive prize attracted ceramic works from Indigenous artists across Australia.

The winning work, and that of the finalists, will be on display at SAM from 25 August to 11 November 2018.

Judges shortlisted seven artists from a wide field of contemporary Indigenous artists working in the ceramics medium. Their approaches highlighted the rich and diverse ways that artists understand and extend the possibilities of the medium of ceramics within our contemporary context and times.

The 2018 finalists are:

  • Dean Cross (Worimi, ACT): Cross presents a site-specific work that is responsive to the architecture that confines it and will continue to respond directly to the situation it is presented in. Cross’ work seeks to challenge the Western canon of memorial statuary.
  • Jackie Wirramanda (Wergaia, VIC): Wirramanda’s work incorporates the colours of Lake Tyrell, a site which is both locally and culturally significant to the artist; it is a place referred to by the old people as one where the earth met the heavens. The work represents the Creation story of Larnankurrk (seven sisters) of Wergaia area.
  • Jan Goongaja Griffiths (Miriwoonga/Ngarinyman, WA): Goongaja Griffiths’ work presents scenes from her family history, including her father’s experience as an Indigenous stockman working for rations at Victoria River Station, NT in the 1940s. The work continues in her practice of creating small figurines.
  • Janet Fieldhouse (Torres Strait Islands, QLD): Fieldhouse, who is participating in her fifth Award, presents large scale sculptural forms, exploring themes such as the narrative of storytelling, abstract scarification, the beauty of landscapes, and sharing of knowledge.
  • Jock Puautjimi (Tiwi, NT): Puautjimi presents lidded and unlidded vase forms which continue to explore Tiwi graphic mark making. Some lids have symbolic sculptural pieces affixed. Puautijimi also presents representations of traditional pukamani poles.
  • Penny Evans (Gamilaraay/Gomeroi, NSW): Evans’s pieces work with Thanggall and Giinbay (large and small freshwater mussel) ceramic forms, utilising terracotta, black and white clays.
  • Yhonnie Scarce (Kokatha/Nukunu, SA): Scarce’s work combines her signature glass vessels with ceramic forms, making reference to the oppressive behaviours that occurred during Aboriginal domestic’s employment, and how Aboriginal women were kept; hidden, covered and imprisoned.

“We congratulate each of the shortlisted artists presented in the 2018 Indigenous Ceramic Award. The Judging panel were moved, delighted, and impressed with the calibre and diversity of approaches and artworks.

“Each work in its own way rewrites the language of ceramics inflected through a personal cultural specificity. Some of the works have a close engagement with Country, others with post-colonial narratives, while others celebrate deep memory of people, culture and place,” said the Judging Panel.

It’s the sixth in the series of biennial Indigenous Ceramics Awards which have been held at SAM since 2007.

Director, Shepparton Art Museum, Dr Rebecca Coates, said the Award supports Indigenous artists to pursue aspirational projects in the medium, and provides a national platform to share personal, historical and deep cultural learnings from artist and Country.

“The Award celebrates and supports the rich and diverse use of the ceramic medium by Indigenous artists and acknowledges the special industry of ceramic art. Each shortlisted artist has presented a substantial body of new work for display,” Dr Coates said.

The judges for the 2018 ICA Award were Stephen Gilchrist, Associate Lecturer of Indigenous Art, University of Sydney; Genevieve Grieves, Manager, First Peoples Department at Museums Victoria; and Dr Rebecca Coates, Director, Shepparton Art Museum.

The 2018 ICA’s Project Curator is Belinda Briggs, Shepparton Art Museum’s Community Engagement Officer – Indigenous, working with Anna Briers, Curator, SAM.

To assist the artists to create their dynamic body of work, the seven finalists received a development fee to help support the production builds on SAM’s significant holdings of Indigenous ceramics.

Previous Awards winners include Kaiela Arts artists, Jack Anselmi and Cynthia Hardie in 2016; Bankstown Koori Elders Group in 2014; Janet Fieldhouse in 2011 and 2007; and Danie Mellor in 2009.

The 2018 ICA is supported by Principal Partners, Sir Andrew and Lady Fairley Foundation and Mr Allan Myers AC QC, and the University of Melbourne (Learning and Engagement Partner).

Image: Sean Miller, Songlines in the Sky, 2016 (detail). Shepparton Art Museum Collection © the artist. Photo: Christian Capurro.

Subject / Object
Saturday 25 August 2018 - Sunday 11 November 2018

Developed by Shepparton Art Museum in partnership with Bendigo Art Gallery and La Trobe Art Institute, artist Damon Moon presents a series of exhibitions that respond to these unique Victorian regional collections and spaces. Moon has selected collections of vessels or pots that are specific to each institution, history and context. Using slip cast multiples and repetitive forms, Moon explores the subtle shifts in technique and materiality between his work and the selected ceramics. He offers a form of object-based conversation between his own ceramics works and works from each Collection selected to reflect on each place’s history of art and industry. These inspirations include the utilitarian vessels of early Chinese migrants; domestic-ware made by Bendigo Pottery; and a series of works selected to respond to a building’s architecture.

An exhibition developed by Shepparton Art Museum in partnership with Bendigo Art Gallery and La Trobe Art Institute. Subject / Object is a feature project of Artlands Victoria. Artlands Victoria, Australia’s largest regional arts gathering will be in the City of Greater Bendigo and Mount Alexander Shire from 10 – 14 October, 2018.

Image: Damon Moon, Untitled blanks from the Subject/Object project, 2018, slip cast ceramic, dimensions variable. Courtesy and © the artist. Photo: Andre Castellucci. 

Drawing Wall #32: Sadie Chandler
Saturday 11 August 2018 - Wednesday 24 October 2018

Sadie Chandler’s practice spans painting, wallpaper and occasionally object making. Her work has a cartoon-like quality characterised by graphic outlines and a figurative style that avoids any shading or traditional perspective.

Her subject matter ranges from urban cityscapes to pin-up girls, portraiture and landscapes. Rendered through economical gestures, her images have a sense of immediacy that is prioritised over realism. This is echoed through her preference for DIY processes such as paste-ups and ink on paper.

In Arcade (2017-18), a series of busts, objects and ceramic vessels are displayed on Greek columns directly referencing art history. Based on studies of Classical sculptures in the famous French museum the Louvre, Paris, some of the familiar figures include: The Venus de Milo by Alexandros of Antioch (c.100-130 BC) and The Borghese Gladiator signed by Agasias of Ephesus (c.100 BC). These are contrasted with contemporary interpretations of ancient statues such as Damien Hirst’s copy of a roman foot from Remnants of Apollo (2012). Two ceramic pots by Ernabella artists Alison Milyika Carroll and Shauna Colin also feature with Ngayuku Walka (2014) and Tali (2014) from the SAM Collection.

Chandler is compelled by the constant circulation and reproduction of existing images, and the enduring influence of art history on the construction of new ones.

Sadie Chandler has held a number of solo exhibitions across Australia since the late ‘90s. Recent significant group exhibitions include: Unfinished Business, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2017); Constellations – A Large Number of Small Drawings, RMIT Gallery, Melbourne (2012); Shilo, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne University, Melbourne (2009); Soft Sculpture, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (2009); I Walk the Line – New Australian Drawing, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2009). Her work is held in a number of collections Australia wide including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Art Bank, Sydney, Melbourne, Perth; Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne; and RMIT University, Melbourne.

Image: Sadie Chandler, Arcade, 2017-2018 ink on paper