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From the Director - February 2024

So excited for the year ahead!

From the Director - February 2024
Oakleigh Motel, Oakleigh, Vic, 1959. NAA: A1500, K4341

So excited for the year ahead! We already have our new exhibition, Reception this way: Motels – a sentimental journey with Tim Ross, up and ready to open this Saturday. Toured by the National Archives of Australia, Reception this way is a trip down memory lane taking you back to the 1950s, 60s and 70s. A time when the joys of the roadside motel was an integral part of the Australian holiday experience. Many people will remember the excitement of pulling off the highway into a world of ease and comfort for a night or two. There was car parking at the door, a stylish, sophisticated and colour co-ordinated room with all the mod cons – from the lights above the beds, radios (and then TVs) in every room, heat lamps in the bathrooms and clean sheets and towels for everyone, and my particular favourite, the breakfast hutches full of possibilities for an early morning breakfast in bed. With a pool outside for a quick dip to wash away the day’s drive, it was one of the best ways to travel the wide distances of Australia – creating experiences to remember.

The exhibition also examines, through images and film, the changing aesthetic that was happening in Australia after the war. American design, particularly from architectural styles such as the space art aesthetic of Googie architecture, through to interior and decorative, started to have a strong influence on how we thought about public places. Caloundra became one of the places to visit, where you could stay at any one of the hotels, motels or, from the 1970s, the high rises such as the Surfair International Hotel on David Low Way. The photographs and film footage featured in Reception this way will revive memories of holiday experiences and give younger folks a fascinating peek into the past.

Guests relax at the California Hotel in Melbourne (detail), about 1964. NAA: B942, HOTELS - MOTELS & RESTAURANTS [3]

Guests relax at the California Hotel in Melbourne (detail), about 1964. NAA: B942, HOTELS - MOTELS & RESTAURANTS [3]

Entries are closing soon for the Local Contemporary Art Prize 2024: reflections on here and now. With some of the best art happening in the region, we cannot wait to see who has entered the exhibition this year; always exciting!

Now that schools are back, we are also hoping for a flurry of entries from our younger artists for the Local Student Art Prize 2024. Conditions and entry forms can be found on our website.

And chatting about our younger audiences, do not forget that the Gallery’s Kids Art Attack is on 3 February. Drop in and stay for a while to create an artistic tote bag that everyone will be wanting!

Toni Rea’s abstract paintings will be on display at the Maroochydore Library Artspace from 6 February. The Enchanted Drive: Landscape in motion captures Toni’s 40-minute drive through the Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Instead of a stationary landscape, Toni captures the flow that happens in the corner of your eye as you drive; the distortion, sunlight flickering, the horizon that disappears as quickly as it appears. A study in movement, colour and light, the exhibition is another way to see landscape.

A new work by local artist, Finn Cossar, has just been installed in Beerwah. The work, titled Mt Beerwah, is a tribute to the beauty and character of Beerwah – celebrating its rich history and connection to the natural environment and Mount Beerwah’s central role in the town’s identity. The use of welded chain as the medium for the artwork is a nod to the logging industry history of Beerwah.

As always, there are several public programs available so don’t forget to browse our website to see what we have happening.

Excited 2024 is underway; look forward to seeing you in the Gallery…

Jo Duke

Jo Duke | Photo by ben vos productions

Jo Duke | Photo by ben vos productions