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Women artists influence new SAM drawing wall artwork

Visitors to Shepparton Art Museum and Eastbank will soon notice a new artwork on the wall near the Riverlinks box office with the thirty-sixth drawing wall being created next week.

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.


Join Carla McRae for a lunchtime Artist Talk at SAM where she demonstrates her art and design practice.  Thursday 1 August from 12.30 – 1.00pm.  Registrations at Eventbrite.

Get your portrait taken by renowned photographer Ponch Hawkes at SAM

Shepparton Art Museum is hosting photographer Ponch Hawkes for her project Flesh After Fifty, 500 Strong which involves photographing nude portraits of women over the age of 50 on two days on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 August.

Ponch is encouraging women over 50 of all cultural backgrounds from the Goulburn Valley to participate by having their portraits taken at SAM.

Ponch will be creating a series of 500 photographic portraits of women over the age of 50 in an attempt to capture changing images of women in different ages and stages of their lives. These portraits will be displayed as part of a concluding exhibition Flesh After Fifty: Changing Images of Women in Art presented in March 2020 in Melbourne.

The photoshoot will take 15 minutes, in which participants have the option to bring an object to conceal their face from the camera to remain anonymous.

We live in a society swamped with images, where high value is placed on physical appearance and an association between attractiveness and youth, particularly for women. Flesh after Fifty will explore and challenge negative stereotypes of aging whilst celebrating and promoting positive images of older women through art.

Australian artists have a history of photographing, painting and sculpting the female form, mostly by and for men whose interest in exploring youth, vulnerability and beauty has dominated the images we recognise. The way in which artists portray older women often reflects public attitudes. Images of older women have changed over the last century as fashion, community, politics and society have changed. Much of the time, images of older women are absent altogether. Some artists, however, are able to rise above fashion and convention to externalise personal desires and aspirations that challenge preconceived perceptions and expectations.

Artist Information:

Ponch Hawkes is an Australian photographer whose work has been widely exhibited and is part of the Australian National Gallery, NGV and State Library of Victoria collections. The subject matter of Hawkes’ work is documentary, and can be seen as a commentary on Australian society and cultural life since the 1970’s. Her work considers topics of the body, the community and relationships we hold to both, within a feminist framework.

Artist Talk:

Ponch Hawkes and Project Curator Jane Scott will talking about the opportunity to be involved and the project more broadly as part of the SAM Out Late series on Thursday 1 August at 6.00pm, where potential participants or curious minds are invited to listen, learn and ask questions about the project.

For more information and frequently asked questions please visit

SAM introduces kids weekend art program

Shepparton Art Museum is expanding on the range of kids programs with a weekend workshop series called SAM Monthly Makers to cater for children aged seven to 15 years of age starting on Saturday 27 July.

The Monthly Makers joins SAM Little Hands for toddlers and children which is held once a month on a Wednesday morning and SAM Art Club, an after-school program held on Tuesdays for primary school aged children.

The weekend workshop series commences with Clay Houses where children and teens can make abstract clay houses with hand building techniques.

“The houses can be as quirky and creative as the maker’s imagination,” said Public Programs Officer Lisa Linton. “We want kids to come in and explore creativity and have a go at interpreting that in clay.”

“They can take some inspiration from Julie Bartholomew’s ceramics on display in the Sidney Myer Fund Australia Ceramic Award exhibition. Julie’s work explores our relationship with our environment and can spark some ideas for the makers,” said Lisa.

The workshops are $15 each and are held from 10.30 to 12 noon. Bookings for the workshop are essential; please visit Eventbrite.

In August the second Monthly Makers weekend workshop will be A Fine Cut where kids can work with artist Zhu Ohmu to create their own rice paper artwork using nature and flowers as inspiration.  

Exhibitions celebrate Boyd family’s artistic contribution

Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) is delighted to present Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul, A Bundanon Trust touring exhibition in its first Victorian showing, alongside a new exhibition curated by SAM celebrating the Boyd family legacy in ceramics.

This is the only time that these two major exhibitions will be presented together, offering visitors new understandings of the relationships and connections between Boyd’s landscape paintings and ceramics. 

Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul features works principally from Bundanon Trust’s collection.

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

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

Alongside Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul, SAM will present The Boyd Family: a legacy of pottery, an exhibition showcasing many of the over 140 ceramic works by the extended Boyd family from the SAM 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 exhibition 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).

Dr Rebecca Coates, Director of SAM says, “Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul is a tour de force. We are delighted to be bringing this major exhibition to our regional audiences. Together, these two exhibitions explore the trajectory of one of our nation’s most important artistic families. Landscape and nature inspired and influenced so many of the extended Boyd family, and Australian flora and fauna is celebrated and revealed in a myriad of ways in the paintings and ceramics featured in each exhibition.

“Presenting the Boyd pottery drawn from the SAM collection alongside Bundanon’s Arthur Boyd collection provides a unique insight into the Boyd national legacy,” Dr Coates said.

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.

Barry Pearce said, “Boyd’s profound delirium of light and dark, swinging between euphoria and apprehension through diverse notions of landscape over almost half a century, is the focus of this exhibition. The story of Arthur Boyd is one of genius evolving out of childhood innocence to which in some ways, through extraordinary complexity, it returned at the end of a long productive life. His was an artist’s odyssey through landscape both seen and imagined.”

Linking these two exhibitions is archival material showcasing painter Arthur Boyd’s first studio, a purpose-designed building by Robin Boyd (1919-1971), conceived and built specifically for his cousin. This exhibition forms part of a series of collateral events organised around the Centenary of Robin Boyd’s birth.

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.


Arthur Boyd: Landscape of the Soul, A Bundanon Trust touring exhibition

14 September 2019 – 24 November 2019

The Boyd Family: a legacy of pottery drawn from the SAM collection

14 September 2019 – 15 March 2020

Image: Arthur Boyd, Lovers on fire in boat with kite, c.1965, oil on canvas, Bundanon Trust Collection

More information on the Exhibitions page. 

Clay workshop series with expert local ceramic artist

Well-known Mooroopna ceramic artist Kaye Poulton will be running a series of workshops throughout August for people interested in increasing their clay hand-building experience.

Taking inspiration from the artworks in the 2019 Sidney Myer Fund Australian Ceramic Award, participants will work independently and create an original body of work, supported by the expertise of Ms Poulton.

Kaye has been working with clay for thirty five years and is known for her raku forms but also produces figurative, sculptural and thrown porcelain and stoneware pieces.

She lives near the Goulburn River in Mooroopna and has works in the collection at Shepparton Art Museum. Her work is available at Craft Victoria, SAM, Bendigo Pottery and various other retailers.

“I began working with clay in the late seventies in Kerang. I enjoyed the malleable feel and endless possibilities of using this wonderful material,” said Kaye.

“I enjoy making work on the potter’s wheel as well as hand formed figurative and sculptural work. I make my own glazes from raw materials and enjoy the challenge of the alchemist, constantly adapting and modifying my glazes until they create the right surface and finish for my pieces,” she said.

“Working in clay sculpture is a vehicle for self-expression and enables me to explore many aspects of the human condition. I am a keen observer of human and animal behaviour and enjoy working on large scale works and small complex allegorical pieces.”

This workshop for adults will run Monday 5, 12 & 26 August (we skip 19 August to allow for the drying and firing of work). The workshop is suitable for those with prior clay hand-building experience and all materials and firing are included.

Bookings are essential, please visit Eventbrite.

When: Mon, 5 – Mon, 26 Aug 2019 at 6:00pm / 8:00pm 
Where: Shepparton Art Museum, 70 Welsford Street, Shepparton 
How much: $140 ($130 Friends of SAM) 
Contact: 5832 9861

NAIDOC Week at SAM: Conversation with leading emerging Indigenous photographer

Indigenous photographer Hayley Millar-Baker will participate in a conversation about some of her photographic processes, themes and ideas revealed in SAM’s new acquisition, A Series of Unwarranted Events, as part of NAIDOC Week at 12 noon on Tuesday 16 July.

Update: Watch the video of the conversation below.

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SAM Community Engagement, Indigenous officer Belinda Briggs, (Yorta Yorta, Wamba Wamba) will host the discussion with Millar-Baker who is of the Gunditjmara Peoples whose Country rests in far south-western Victoria bordering the Glenelg River in South Australia.

The new acquisition, Untitled (Theft of the White men’s sheep), is one of five works in A Series of Unwarranted Events, works that collectively suggest a narrative and a pictorial framework from which to explore and reconcile National identity. Utilising a personal archive held for safekeeping by her grandfather and her own collection of images captured on and off Country, Millar-Baker’s photographic works interrogate the historical, social and cultural complexities carried from the past through to the present day.

Untitled (Theft of the White men’s sheep) portrays the colonial and geographical remnants associated with the now infamous Eumeralla Wars. From 1834 to 1849 a chain of violent and bloody events took place between the Gunditjmara and the European squatters colonising the lands between Port Fairy and Portland, Victoria. Millar-Baker’s collage of imagery juxtaposes Country, with its large expanse of volcanic hills, with the colonial architectural heritage that still remains in order to encourage new conversations around the impacts and legacy of colonisation from a First Nation’s perspective.

In her artist’s statement on these works, Hayley Millar-Baker said “The Gunditjmara would often capture livestock from the colonists’ settlements and return to camp through rocky terrain deeming the colonisers incapable of retrieving their stock without injury”. Her observations acknowledge the defiance, strength and resilience of her People in the face of colonisation.

Through her contemporary approaches to photography, Millar-Baker draws strength from her bloodlines, history, and landscape – confronting and crafting past, present, and future stories of South-East Aboriginal existence, and honouring the connectedness of intergenerational experiences of Aboriginality.

Millar-Baker has undertaken major collaborative projects as part of Our Country including Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) Education in partnership with Melbourne Indigenous Transition School (MITS), Heide Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition, 2019, and the Melbourne International Arts Festival, as part of the ART TRAM series, 2018. 

Millar Baker was shortlisted for the influential John Fries Award for early career visual artists John Fries Award 2019 and has her work is included in major collections including MUMA, State Library of Victoria and Warrnambool Art Gallery.

The session is free but bookings via Eventbrite are essential.