The latest from handmark articles

grande vue mansion ― art hotel

Published 10 June 2021

Art has breathed new life into a historic Hobart mansion that for many years has welcomed guests as a boutique hotel.

Holding court in Mona Street, Battery Point, the Grande Vue Hotel has long been a landmark. But new owners, Brock Gardner and Ashley Fleming, are giving the distinguished old lady a facelift – and art tops the list.

In fact, at the end of last year, when Brock and Ashley were handed the keys, one of their first stops was to visit Handmark Gallery, where they called upon Director Allanah Dopson to adorn the walls: “We are in the throes of revitalizing the Grand Vue, and art has been one of the biggest changes. It’s incredible just how much it has lifted the feel of the property,” Brock tells us.

As part of Handmark’s Art Consultancy service, Allanah spent hours with Brock and Ashley at Grand Vue selecting Tasmanian art that reflects their personalities and vision. Some of the pieces were especially commissioned, such as the three works that Tom Samek created for the Gin Room: “Whenever guests walk into the room, Tom’s prints immediately become the talking point. They revolve around martini glasses, olives and gin, and everyone loves his cheeky style!” Brock laughs.

And that is just the start. Other works, including a commissioned Battery Point Streetscape by Vika Fifita, are increasingly lining the walls, ensuring that this grand old lady is a showcase of fine Tasmanian art.

bethany van rijswijk + emma bugg ― power duo

Published 10 June 2021

In Bethany Van Rijswijk’s work, it is the plants, not people, that dominate. She layers giant ‘almost psychedelic botanical illustrations’ over familiar scenes, like those of Pieter Breugel’s peasant dancers or Lucas Cranach’s nudes. Like visions from a fairytale, these distinct hand-cut collages are Bethany’s way of creating an ‘alternative history’ and a world where ‘plants are at the centre of every story.’

“I have always been fascinated by plants and the mythology behind them,” Bethany explains.

“Plants are so often overlooked, but in reality they have played a major role in shaping our civilizations including our food, wine and medicine.”

Much of Bethany’s fascination centres around the folklore of poisonous flowers, mind-altering plants, and so-called weeds: “My main aim in Devotion to the Invisible is to reposition plants as key protagonists within our world, within our history, and to tell their own individual stories.”

While Bethany’s focus is on plant’s, Emma Bugg’s mind is on rocks. Or in the case of this exhibition,  specifically on man-made ones. She is excited to be showing her latest jewellery designs which are the result of exploration with the gem, moissanite.

“Moissanite is a wonderful lab grown gem, that has a similar hardness of a diamond and comes in a range of wonderful colors,” Emma explains. “In my latest work it is all about using materials that play with light and color and I have chosen to use beautiful teal green stones for the pieces.”

Emma was inspired to create her jewellery – which features rings and necklaces – as a way to showcase Tasmania’s incredible light. Pointing to the luminescence that glitters on our cold water, and the Aurora Australis that often lights up the sky, Emma sees these latest pieces as “celebrating the light in the dark of winter.”

The exhibition of Bethany van Rijswijk and Emma Bugg runs from June 11 – June 28.

art honors ― handmark artists

Published 10 June 2021

Handmark artists have been making their mark both locally and overseas, including in one of the world’s richest landscape art prizes.

With its $100,000 prize purse, the 2021 Hadley’s Art Prize attracted a record 721 entries from across Australia. Only thirty-three artists made the final cut for this prestigious landscape award, including Handmark’s Martin Rek who is thrilled to be on the list.

The 37-year-old avid hiker is quickly gaining a following for his drawings of Tasmania’s rugged wilderness. In fact, when we catch up with Martin he has just returned from Mount Field where days were spent braving the cold with a sketchbook in hand. Sublime, yet detailed landscape sketches in carbon pencil are Martin’s calling card, but his Hadley’s entry, Reverie, is a radical departure for this methodical artist.

Reverie began as one concept landscape, but over a number of months it morphed into something completely different,” Martin tells us. “Spontaneously the landscape began to fragment and eventually the work evolved into a collection of little pieces of Tasmania’s wild landscape that represent my happy places.” The Hadley’s Art Prize will be announced in Hobart on July 31.

In the meantime other Handmark artists have also made the final cut in different parts of the state. Printmakers Rebecca Coote and Melissa Smith are both finalists in the Bay of Fires Art Prize, an award for modern contemporary art that will be announced in St Helens this Friday. While on the north-west coast, jewellers, Shauna Mayben and Di Allison, have both been shortlisted for the Women’s Art Prize Tasmania. The winner of the state’s only female art competition will be unveiled in Burnie this Thursday.

Congratulations also to Diane Masters. Her print, Shining a Light on Plankton – Polychaete greets a Sea Butterfly, is currently on display in France as part of the International Mini Print Cantabria exhibition.

evandale pop-up ― winter salon

Published 10 June 2021

The finest Tasmanian art, food, wine and a roaring fire. Why not make Handmark’s Winter Salon your next weekend adventure.

Could there be a better way to celebrate winter’s arrival? Head to the beautiful village of Evandale for Handmark’s latest pop-up exhibition which opens Friday week at the stunningly refurbished Clarendon Arms. The works of four of Tasmania’s most exciting artists will be featured – painters Adrian Barber and Nick Glade-Wright, collage artist Bethany Van Rijswijk and printmaker Nic Goodwolf.

Nic is thrilled to be part of Handmark’s Winter Salon where his hand-drawn prints embrace the importance of ‘Transit’ in our global lives: “I love to play with the concept of the joy of movement that we all experienced in the pre-COVID world, which could be anything from hot air balloons to zeppelins,” Nic explains. “The freedom to transfer not only ourselves, but our knowledge, across the globe is something that fascinates and excites me.”

The Winter Salon pop-up will offer something unique and very different to Handmark’s Hobart exhibitions. As Handmark Director, Allanah Dopson explains: “Winter Salon is a chance to combine stunning Tasmanian art, history and food in one of the state’s most beautiful villages. So why not enjoy a meal at the Clarendon Arms and make it the perfect winter weekend getaway. Or better still, join us for opening night.”

HandmarkWinter Salon pop-up opens at 5:00pm on June 18 at the Clarendon Arms in Evandale.  It runs until August 4.

jonathan partridge ― divine maker

Published 28 May 2021

Tibetan inspired cabinets, small ceramics and large ethereal prints.  The Artefact exhibition of Jonathan Partridge is testament to his incredible artistic diversity and the divinity of nature.

Jonathan describes himself as a ‘compulsive maker’. While he is best known – and loved – for his large-paneled prints, he is a ‘multi-disciplinary artist’ who will try his hand at anything and everything: “I always have to be making something and I am constantly moving from one thing to the next, whether it’s art, furniture-making or even shaping a surfboard,” he tells us.

Cocooned in his retreat at the foothills of kunanyi/Mount Wellington, the genesis for Jonathan’s Artefact exhibition was born. At its heart it draws on Buddhist philosophy and reverence for the natural world.

“An ‘Artefact’ is a man-made object that has cultural significance. A sacred object, a revered object,” Jonathan explains. “And I view the concept of nature as an artefact, it is divine.”

Stunning artefacts in Jonathan’s exhibition include cabinets of recycled King Billy Pine crafted using early pioneer techniques and adorned with ‘Tibetan alter paintings, of tigers and thylacines. There are also small ceramic animals, ‘little deities’, that again echo nature’s reverence. But, hanging centre-stage are Jonathan’s large-paneled prints, where dreamlike landscapes of she-oaks and birds are brought to life with a Japanese-styled tranquility.

“I like bringing beauty into the world. It’s very important,” Jonathan explains. “And this is reflective of the biggest influences in my life – my Buddhist studies and my many years of living in Asia.”

Jonathan Partridge’s Artefact exhibition runs from May 21 – June 7.

jock young ― landscape lovers

Published 28 May 2021

The chance to create immersed in the wild pristine coastline of the Bay of Fires with one of Tasmania’s top landscape painters, Jock Young, has been an unforgettable experience for ten art enthusiasts.

They recently returned home, tired but happy, following their four-day ‘Art Walk’ which was organised by the Tasmanian Walking Company in conjunction with Handmark Gallery.

Staying at the Bay of Fires Lodge, each morning the keen painters – who encompassed all levels of experience – ventured out for the day with their easels. Under the watchful eye of Jock they would paint the rugged beauty before them. After lunch, the group packed their paints for a small trek to a second location. And, at day’s end it would be a wine and drawing tutorial with Jock around a raging fire.

“I think those four days exceeded everyone’s expectations. The Bay of Fires is one of my favourite places in the world to paint, with it’s incredible orange-tinged boulders, gleaming white sand and amazing blue water,” Jock enthusiastically recalls. “And, during our ‘Art Walk’ we had that incredible changing Tasmanian weather, and a real energy in the pounding ocean which came out beautifully in everyone’s landscape paintings.”

But, don’t despair. If you missed out on this outing with Jock, there is always next May when this leading landscape painter will be conducting another ‘Art Walk’ to his favourite place in the world.

julie payne ― architectural art

Published 28 May 2021

Handmark’s Julie Payne drew on her former high-flying career, to provide an unforgettable artistic experience for a group of architects she escorted on an ‘Art Walk’ to the stunning Bay of Fires.

Julie has forged a career as one of Tasmania’s favourite visual artists. But what few realise is that before this incarnation, Julie was a highly successful architect who ran a leading practice with her partner, Robert Morris-Nunn.

Not surprisingly, Julie was in her element as she led a group of eight ‘incredible women’ –  most of them top Brisbane architects – on a Bay of Fires ‘Art Walk’. “They were my dream group,” she tells us, “smart, clever, fun and they could do all the drawings!”

The four-day ‘Art Walk’, the brainchild of Handmark Gallery and the Tasmania Walking Company, began at Eddystone Point. After sketching the wild beauty of this remote lighthouse, the group trekked seven kilometres down the beach to the Bay of Fires and the luxury of the Lodge: “Being from Queensland what really blew them away was this incredible sense of isolation and the spectacular landscape,” Julie says.

Armed with a ‘Concertina Journal’, watercolors and pencils, Julie says the group would spend the day “experimenting with drawing, watercolors and rubbings,” and as the sun set would replace this with fantastic wine, food and conversation around a roaring fire: “They were extraordinary women and I feel so honoured to have met them.”

adrian barber ― mountain magic

Published 14 April 2021

The primal landscape of kunanyi/Mt Wellington looms large over the life of painter Adrian Barber and is the inspiration behind his upcoming exhibition.

Since his childhood lived across the globe, mountains have held a “magnetic attraction” for Adrian. In Uganda and Papua New Guinea it was the jungle-covered highlands, while the desert ranges of northern Iraq enthralled him during years spent in the Middle East: “Mountains have always symbolised possibility to me. The excitement of what is over the other side,” Adrian tells us.

Not surprisingly, when he moved to Tasmania 16 years ago, Adrian settled on a bush block at Neika nestled in the foothills of kunyani: “Every day I walk out the back door and into that incredible primal wilderness, and that feeds my art,” Adrian explains. “I feel at one with the surroundings, and especially respond to all the sculptural elements, such as the folds in the rocks.”

Adrian’s exhibition, Between the Known and the Unknown, is a homage to his mountain love and the result of two very different processes. Six large paintings – ‘The Known’ – are deliberately constructed from images collected during bushwalks.

However, much of the exhibition – ‘The Unknown’ – consists of dreamlike monochrome works that emerged during what Adrian describes as a meditative, zen-like state: “The intentions come from the storehouse of memory and from years of immersion in the Tasmanian landscape. In creating these works, the conscious mind does not force the hand and the paint must find its own path.”

Adrian Barber’s Between the Known and the Unknown exhibition runs from April 9 – 26.

mandy renard ― ‘wild’ women

Published 14 April 2021

Aptly called Rewilding, Mandy Renard’s current exhibition is her ode to magnificent ‘wild’ women and a glimpse of what could be.

Mandy is passionate about ‘rewilding’ and hopes her stunning prints will ignite the same passion in others.

Rewilding is a rapidly growing movement that seeks environmental restoration through the return of land to wildlife and letting nature take care of itself. But it is also a state of mind that implores us to embrace a more natural way of life as the path to physical, mental, and spiritual completeness – and a better world.

“We need to re-wild our lives. I want people to see they are part of the world, and the world is part of us,” Mandy explains. “A rewilded mind, and a rewilded world, will create a more holistic, harmonious future and lead to the greater good.”

The Rewilding exhibition is a celebration of possibility. Of what the world can be. We view magnificent wild women wrapped in snakes, leaves and waves. Adorned with flowers, butterflies, and birds. In one powerful work a woman is made of fish to impart Mandy’s message that we are an integral part of the ecology of this planet: We eat a fish, and the fish becomes part of us.

Mandy’s art invites us to imagine our own rewilding: “A rewilded woman is a magnificence to behold. Awe inspiring, powerful, beautiful. But perhaps there is only one thing more magnificent than a rewilded woman, and that is a rewilded world.”

Mandy Renard’s Rewilding exhibition runs until April 6.

linda van niekerk ― women walking tall

Published 23 February 2021

A collaboration between one of Tasmania’s most exciting jewellers, and some of the island’s best-known women, has resulted in an incredible exhibition – Walking Tall – which opens this Friday.

Linda liaised with 21 brilliant Tasmanians from all sectors of the creative arts, designing a piece of bespoke jewellery for each. These recipients include actress Marta Dusseldorf, author Heather Rose, media identity Judy Tierney and philanthropist Julia Farrell. As Linda explains: “This is still very much my exhibition, but it honours those women who ‘walk tall’ in their own right. I wanted to create something that spoke to them individually and reflected their character.”

Bold designs that draw heavily on the natural world are Linda’s trademark, with one of the exhibition pieces being a “bold necklace to fit the woman’s bold personality.” But, Walking Tall also takes Linda’s jewellery into uncharted territory. There are delicate dew-drop earrings for the lady “who walks tall with a powerful quiet presence”, a silver seagrass ring for another who is passionate about diving and jewellery that incorporates driftwood.

Linda also teams up with six well-known Tasmanian female artists for Walking Tall, crafting bespoke pieces for each to be exhibited alongside one of their new artworks.

All the jewellery and art in the exhibition is for sale.

Handmark’s Walking Tall exhibition opens at 5.00pm on Friday February 19 and runs until March 9.