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‘Abstract Wonder’ at Grafton Regional Gallery to showcase works by SCU visual arts graduates


Sharlene King
28 January 2015

An exhibition focusing on abstract painting at Grafton Regional Gallery will feature three Southern Cross University visual arts graduates, curated as part of the SCU Curatorial Lab.

‘Abstract Wonder’ opens at Grafton Regional Gallery on February 11, and runs until March 22.

The exhibition will include abstract works by visual arts graduates Giovanna Field, Kathryn Dolby and Dan McDonnell.

“The exhibition was first proposed by the SCU Curatorial Lab in 2013”, said Dr Wes Hill, acting course coordinator of the Visual Arts degree at SCU, and founder of the Lab.

“SCU has a long history of producing interesting abstract painters, and abstraction was a feature of the 2014 visual arts graduating students’ exhibition, Transit.

“These three students now get the chance to advance their careers beyond SCU, working with the Grafton Regional Gallery to gain insight into exhibition management and learn the ropes in terms of professional practice.”

Through the SCU Curatorial Lab, art students can connect their SCU experience to the local arts industry, helping them to make the transition from ‘student’ to ‘practising artist’. The Lab works with a range of Northern Rivers organisations to secure venues for student-led exhibitions, encouraging artists to be active promoters, and organisers, of their own work.

Dan McDonnell, winner of the painting category at the 2014 National Campus Art Prize, said that being selected for ‘Abstract Wonder’ was a great opportunity.

“It has enabled me to keep my sights set on building my career, after the highs and lows of graduating,” the 31-year-old said.

Dan has produced new work for the exhibition, which he intends to build upon later this year when he begins studying honours at SCU.

Over the past few years Dan’s work has focused on colour and gesture, with the artist using his bare hands to paint, instead of a brush.

“The exhibition at Grafton will enable me to test these new works”, Dan said.

“I’ll be interested also to see how my work sits in such a professional setting, with only two other artists exhibiting alongside me. It will be a change from the large scale of the SCU grad show.”

An ‘In Conversation’ artist talk with Dr Hill, Giovanna Field, Kathryn Dolby and Dan McDonnell at the Grafton Regional Gallery will take place on Saturday 21 February at 11am. Entry is free and all visitors are welcome.

Photo: (l to r) Giovanna Field, Kathryn Dolby and Dan McDonnell, all graduates of the SCU Bachelor of Visual Arts program in 2014, standing in front of works by Dan McDonnell.