A day of contemporary art: four galleries and exhibitions to check out before the month ends

Melbourne is home to a plethora of innovative and exciting art exhibitions that are head-spinningly good. Clear a day in the up-coming week and spend it feeding the soul with creative expression, because these art exhibitions are coming to an end; and they are definitely not to be missed.

Start in Abbotsford at the convent, with a delicious vegetarian breakfast at Lentils as Anything. This will set you up for a day of contemporary art in the City of Yarra.

Tacit Gallery
Abbotsford

Make your way up Johnston street, and around 200m before Hoddle street, you’ll come across Tacit Gallery.

The space is a commercial gallery run by Keith Lawrence that generally exhibits excellent, though more traditional two-dimensional works by established artists. The diversity of colour, style, and medium in the current exhibitions makes for a fantastically varied narrative to walk through. Amongst other mediums, the current show consists of oils on linen, monoprints, collage, and drypoint. This is, Keith details, a tendency of the gallery’s shows, following the discovery that their patrons tend to prefer shows that prioritise this very quality of difference. The smoky, Munch and Hopper-esque oils that greet the gallery-goer extend to the next room of magpies and feathers, and contrast dramatically with Gallery 3’s outlined nudes. Colourful wooden collages – undeniably cubist in form – again contrast with Libby Burne’s misty, textured landscapes. This exhibition adheres with the gallery’s ‘prioritisation of the object’.

The current exhibitions are on until the 27th November

Noriko Nakamura's We weren't aware that you have been here all this time, 2016, in Gertrude Contemporary. Photo: Camilla Eustance
Noriko Nakamura’s We weren’t aware that you have been here all this time, 2016, Gertrude Contemporary. Photo: Camilla Eustance

Off the Kerb
Collingwood

Keep traversing up Johnston street, entering into Collingwood. Across the road from the famous Keith Haring mural, you’ll find Off the Kerb Gallery.

Founded by Shini Pararajasingham, Off the Kerb is primarily centred around illustrative, painted, and photographic works. In early December, they’ll feature the Melbourne Polytechnic BA of Illustration graduates in an exhibition titled ‘Kindling’. For now, the light-filled gallery is exhibiting four artists/illustrators. There is no underlying theme, but as with most shows at the gallery, the work coheres – through its illustrative or portrait-based nature. MITCH, whose popular work occupies the initial space, creates beautiful, stylised designs – much of them on wood panel – featuring long-haired, plant-laden, cosmic belles. Upstairs you’ll find Naomi Waller’s explorations in ink and geometric design, and a bright white room full of prints that poetically investigate the colours of childhood through depictions of quirky, pretty girls. Occasionally the gallery exhibits more conceptual work, like Ramak Bamzar’s ‘In Pain’, which are a series of arresting portrait photographs. This gallery, full of trendy, eye-catching work, is perfect for a lightly-caffeinated afternoon stroll – perhaps after stopping by Everyday Coffee on the street opposite.

The current exhibitions are on until the 24th November

Collingwood Gallery
Collingwood

Up and around the corner, Collingwood Gallery sits happily amidst the hipster bustle of Smith street.

The commercial gallery is aimed at a slightly older audience, but features exciting artwork accessible to just about anyone. Established in 2000, the gallery features but is not limited to painted and photographic work. Entering, you’ll find a long, cool room partitioned into two sections. Currently, Eric Henshall’s exhibition ‘Nepo Rab’ is on display. The bright, vivacious work is a visual and sociological pleasure. All of the works are night scenes from bars exclusively in the swing-town city of New Orleans, and are filled with keenly observed activity. The works are somewhat neo-expressionist in tone and dance around a moody burgundy colour scheme interspersed with the luminous green of a pool table, the electric blue of a Bud Lite can, or the red of a ketchup bottle. Outside of the art on its walls, Collingwood Gallery also offers Life Drawing classes on Wednesday.

Nepo Rab is on until the 24th November

Erich Henshall's Portrait of Aya, 2016, in Collingwood Gallery. Photo: Camilla Eustance
Erich Henshall’s Portrait of Aya, 2016, Collingwood Gallery. Photo: Camilla Eustance
MITCH's exhibition Twoism, 2016, in Off the Kerb Gallery. Photo: Camilla Eustance
MITCH’s exhibition Twoism, 2016, Off the Kerb Gallery. Photo: Camilla Eustance

Gertrude Contemporary
Fitzroy

Continue down Smith street and up the hill to Gertrude, where you’ll find Gertrude Contemporary.

The art gallery takes a conceptual leap after Collingwood gallery, but is best noted simply as evidence of just how wide the scope of contemporary art is. Supporting contemporary artists for over 30 years, the gallery is one of the artistic hot-spots of the Fitzroy area. The current show ‘Gertrude Studios’ exhibits some of the finest contemporary art practice and research that Melbourne has to offer. A pleasing mish-mash of objects and mediums command the space’s attention upon entering. One of the terrific qualities of the contemporary art is the freedom of medium, and the option to dematerialise entirely – something that all visits to Gertrude will demonstrate. The exhibition features textural abstracts, new media concerned with travel, technology, and the nature of art itself – as well as more performative works such as Hamishi Farah’s Statement of non-participation, Adelle Mills’ video work Family is a score, and Eric Demetriou’s Round Base: mysterious microphone in the middle of the space. To break up the whirring in your brain whilst you observe such art, why not blast out an anthem?

Gertrude Studios 2016 is open until the 10th December

By Camilla Eustance

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