Arts and Cultural Centre
Tuesday - Sunday 9.30am - 4.30pm
23 Maitland Road, Townhead Park, Singleton
The Art of Being Here
9 July – 25 September 2022
Opening: 6pm Friday 8 July at Singleton Arts + Cultural Centre
The Art of Being Here is an exhibition that celebrates many years of momentary observations by visual storyteller Vivien Dwyer. Since moving to Singleton with her husband John in the 1970s, Vivien has recorded her experiences through a prolific series of artist’s sketchbooks. These exquisite works reflect her deep immersion and presence in a world that shifts quickly around us. More than simply providing quick drawings or studies, Vivien’s sketchbooks communicate the artist’s singular focus on truly seeing and recording what is before her, in all its profound detail. Here, the act of documentation is intrinsically connected to the artist herself, and the sketchbook provides Vivien with a trusted means to navigate her surroundings and indulge her unending curiosity. These books are both unedited personal diaries of her experiences and unique snapshots of her place in time, which raise the ordinary to extraordinary.
Vivien has completed some 46 sketchbooks over the last forty years. Many books specifically focus on the beautiful heritage buildings and gardens of the local Singleton area, while others tell the story of changing land use in the Hunter Valley. Several of the sketchbooks present Vivien’s responses as an embedded artist-in-residence, carefully reproducing the locations she is drawn to, sometimes by invitation, sometimes by chance and sometimes after years of wishful planning.
Behind the sketchbooks are layers of history, stories and events that deeply connect and bind the local community. Vivien’s works undoubtedly serve as keepers of memory; their importance reflected in Kit Foggo’s quote:
“…invest in your memories because no one can take them away from you and they only become more valuable to you with time.”
The sketchbook pages come with both illustrated and written observations by the artist. Each page witnesses Vivien’s physical presence in the ‘here and now’ and provides a testament to a distinct moment in time and place.
While Vivien Dwyer’s sketchbooks are the main focus of The Art of Being Here, the exhibition also includes watercolours, paintings and prints that were developed from her sketchbook process. Many of the works on display have been kindly loaned to the Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre by their owners for the duration of the exhibition - we extend our gratitude to the lenders for their great generosity in supporting the exhibition.
At selected times during the exhibition, Vivien will be available in the Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre as artist-in-residence, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to directly observe her skills and hear more about the many projects she has undertaken.
Viewpoints: Wollemi National Park
Travis De Vries, Mark Dober, Michelle Earl, Marie Mansfield, and Rebecca Rath
13 May - 3 July 2022
Viewpoints: Wollemi National Park shows the outcomes of an artist in residence program that invited five contemporary artists to become immersed in the rugged landscape of the Wollemi National Park. Guided by the Director of Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre, Elissa Emerson, artists Travis De Vries, Mark Dober, Michelle Earl, Marie Mansfield, and Rebecca Rath visited the same four sites in the park, with a view to creating works that reflected their different experiences of the natural landscape at Terrys Creek, Commission Road, Oil Shale Relics and Phipps Cutting Walking Track.
Painters Rebecca Rath, Marie Mansfield, and Mark Dober visited the sites together. They made studies en plein air, some choosing to develop the work back in the studio and others completing works on site, utilising their different and individual processes. Michelle Earl, a fibre and sculptural artist, took her camera and her drawing book, focusing in on small details that would inspire her woven and sculpted forms. Travis De Vries captured field recordings and found points for photographic studies that he reworked in his studio.
All of the artists were transfixed by the natural beauty of the landscape. Wollemi National Park Ranger, Shane Forty, reflected on the powerful impact of this place, noting that Wollemi is one of the few places within such close proximity to Sydney where the visitor can experience the total absence of signs of modern human intervention within a 360° view, even from the highest vantage points. This sense of isolation, history and mystery was also palpable for the artists, as Travis De Vries wrote:
"This is Wollemi. A place that for outsiders feels locked up and inaccessible. For those who know, who have been shown the way, it is a place of rich, deep history - with hidden paths and stories to tell…if you know how to listen."
The Wollemi Artist in Residence Project was made possible by the Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre in partnership with Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre, and with the support of the NSW Government Resources for Regions program and NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
ABOUT THE CENTRE
The $4.08million building was funded in partnership between Singleton Council and a $2.787million Create NSW grant, and boasts more than 300 square metres of state-of-the-art gallery space
, and two artists' workshops including wet and digital studios. The centre will also house Singleton’s Civic Art collection.
The Arts and Culture Centre has been designed in keeping with the Townhead Park MasterPlan, and in conjunction with existing facilities on the site including the Visitor Information Centre, café and playground. It will transform this important location off the Hunter Expressway and New England Highway into a hub for visitors, the Singleton community, arts and culture, recreation and leisure.