Three exhibitions are being hosted at Manly Art Gallery & Museum (MAG&M) this summer.

From 04 December 2020 until 14 February 2021, the gallery has three varied exhibitions to entice and engage the public in activities other than visiting the beach over the summer break.

History Repeats

Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, three artists started working on an exhibition exploring life under lockdown at Sydney’s quarantine station in decades gone by. They were not expecting to have real life experience to draw on and contextualise their work.

Jo Neville, Julie Paterson and Fiona Chandler

Artists Jo Neville, Julie Paterson and Fiona Chandler have each created forty panels, working with paper, textiles and paint, to represent the original forty-day quarantine period imposed on those arriving in Sydney aboard ships suspected of carrying infectious diseases.

Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan said the concept of the exhibition which initially seemed anchored in the past, suddenly became very current.

“All three artists began to rethink their approach to the exhibition and their artworks, looking at the contrasts and similarities between quarantine then and now, and have come up with some fascinating artworks,” said Mayor Regan.

Senior Curator Katherine Roberts said the cross-media arts project was inspired by the desire to bring together artists who also practice as designers.

“We look forward to seeing how the 120 panels come together on MAG&M’s walls, floor and suspended in the air and how the audience engages with the installation.

“The artists have brought to their works their own personal and socio-historical narratives in parallel with each other at this unprecedented time in Australian history.

“This timely exhibition is presented in partnership with Q Station, Manly, to whom we are most grateful for the site access they provided to the artists and for the enthusiasm with which they embraced what is our third partnership project in the past five years,” said Ms Roberts.

The Theatre Sketchbooks

Artist Nicholas Harding has become a well-known face at the Sydney Theatre Company. With intimate access to the theatre over a number of major productions, Mr Harding has drawn some of Australia’s most renowned cast and crew, on and off stage.

Nicholas Harding

MAG&M is presenting an exhibition of his sketches, ‘Nicholas Harding — The Theatre Sketchbooks’, accompanied by the recently published book of Harding’s theatre sketches, ‘From the Wings’. Mr Harding was awarded the Archibald Prize in 2001 for his portrait of actor John Bell as King Lear.

MAG&M curator Ross Heathcote said Mr Harding’s theatre drawings are fascinating works of art, but they also present an intimate insight into the workings of the theatre world.

“From thousands of drawings and dozens of sketchbooks, we have selected works for the exhibition from Nicholas Harding’s theatre ‘residencies’. The original sketchbooks, displayed alongside larger drawings developed from the sketches, will have regular page turnings,” said Mr Heathcote.

Nicholas Harding

The Garden Exhibition

The Garden Exhibition has been developed with artist Laura Jones (main image) to reflect her close connection to the Ku-ring-gai, Hawkesbury and Blue Mountain regions.

A bold colourist, Jones is known for her diverse interests, from exploring the floral still life genre, to the impact of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef and Antarctica.

Laura Jones

Laura Jones is primarily a painter, but she also produces drawings, prints and sculptures. She has regularly exhibited in public and commercial galleries since 2011. Residencies include travel to two scientific research stations: The Australian Museum’s Lizard Island Research Station and the University of Queensland’s Heron Island Research Station.

She has also been Artist in Residence at The Glasshouse Regional Art Gallery and the Byron Bay School of Art, completed extensive private residencies in New York and Japan, and was artist on board the 2018 WWF Expedition to Antarctica.

Jones has been a finalist in several art awards, including the Archibald Prize, the Portia Geach Memorial Award, the Kings School Art Prize, the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship and the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize.

A detailed range of events and activities in support of each exhibition is available at the MAG&M website.

Images: Manly Art Gallery & Museum