The City of Levees

Joe Frost (1974-) painted this work for the exhibition View of Maitland from the riverbank (with apologies to Jan Vermeer and View of Delft), shown at Maitland Regional Art Gallery (MRAG) in 2006. Alongside eleven other commissioned artists, Frost painted a view of Maitland on a canvas the same size as that used by the […]

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Guns to Roses

Close up of bright blue room with multi-coloured paper artworks. They are made like paper lanterns, taking the shape of fans despite being made from the shapes of guns

The bright, happy colours of the fanned paper sculptures in Li Hongbo’s work Gun No. 1 (2016) would not be out of place at a seven-year-old’s birthday party. But appearances are deceiving. The underlying structures of these ephemeral decorations are solid paper cutouts in the shape of bullets, hand-held pistols, and shoulder-mounted semi-automatic weapons. The rainbow […]

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Every Cloud Has a Neon Lining

It’s a simple message, welcoming visitors to the Maitland Regional Art Gallery (MRAG) – don’t worry, be happy. A smiling cloud sheds happy tears, brightening the day of anyone who sees it on the outside of MRAG, where it was installed in 2019. Its message is most effective at night, when its neon light illuminates […]

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‘Needled Spires Point the True North…’

It may have been painted 340 years later and on the other side of the world, but Michael Fitzjames (1948-) has channelled the spirit of the Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer’s famous View of Delft (1663) in View of Maitland from the riverbank (2006).  Like Vermeer, Fitzjames has split his canvas into three horizontal bands of […]

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Fashioning Violence

A question the artistic collective AES+F ask of themselves is: despite our technological advancement, how different are we psychologically from the people who lived in antiquity? The four artists of AES+F, Tatiana Arzamasova (1955-), Lev Evzovich (1958-), Evgeny Svyatsky (1957-) and Vladimir Fridkes (1956-), explore this query through highly produced video and photographic works that […]

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Capitalism Will Eat Itself

It takes many minds to create an artwork on the scale of AES+F’s panoramic video works. Four, to be precise. AES+F is the collective of Tatiana Arzamasova (1955-), Lev Evzovich (1958-), Evgeny Svyatsky (1957-) and Vladimir Fridkes (1956-), who have been practising together since 1987. They have produced multi-channel video installations since 2007, when their […]

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Third Time Unlucky

Irishman Dr William Dudley Power (1853-1912) eagerly opened the Maitland Mercury newspaper, fresh off the printing press on 19 April 1890. The large pages rustled as he flipped through and scanned the headlines. On pages two and four he found the columns he was looking for, and held his scissors at the ready to cut […]

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Mental and Moral Improvement

With today’s digital library resources, it’s easy to forget how libraries once relied entirely on paper catalogues. In Maitland, sometime after 1860, the librarian of the West Maitland School of Arts library (which boasted 417 volumes) cut a length of adhesive tape and stuck it along the spine of this copy of the institution’s catalogue […]

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Best Foot Forward

A symbolic aeroplane and the bold letters ‘PROGRESS’ keep no secret that William Claude Johnston, who published this booklet, had a clear message to communicate. It was 1935, and the 50th anniversary of his family’s footwear business coincided with the centenary of the proclamation of West and East Maitland. It was a golden opportunity to […]

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Racing to Help

This pennant was won by Ron Ekert (1930-2019) in the senior musical flag competition during Caves Beach Surf Life Saving Club’s Carnival of 1950-1951. Ron was a well-known Life Member of the Caves Beach Surf Life Saving Club, and in 2007 the Club named its new surf boat in his memory. A talented athlete in […]

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