Three Exciting Exhibitions: Dean Bowen, Carolyn Graham and Annette Ratcliffe.

Three Exciting Exhibitions: Dean Bowen, Carolyn Graham and Annette Ratcliffe.
14 March – 5 May 2013
Dean Bowen’s paintings, sculptures and prints all display his quirky sense of humour. He has been described by biographers as eccentric, passionate and fun-loving; the typical Australian.
Born in Maryborough, he experienced country life and then long stretches of the Calder Highway, travelling with his family from rural to suburban and urban places. He frequently references all facets of these country, suburban and city experiences.
He is renowned for his child-like images – a fat, colourful bird eats a heart-shaped leaf, a pulsating red heart escapes from a chimney, a black parrot watches a millipede – all bring to mind the quirky French cartoon “Miniscule”. They are optimistic, joyous and humorous visions of life around us.
Children draw and paint with a freshness, spontaneity and expressiveness that trained artists frequently lose. Dean Bowen, like artists Dubuffet, Chagall, Giacometti and Australian indigenous artists Rover Thomas and Ginger Riley, deliberately searches for this child-like freshness. His bronze sculpture ‘Man Waving’ depicts a cheeky Australian youth; perhaps Bowen himself, and his large etchings ‘Country Girl’ and ‘Country Boy’ are characters from his country childhood.
Bowen’s art appeals to a wide audience. He has exhibited extensively around Australia and the world and his work is represented in numerous international collections – France, Japan, China, England and Italy as well as in Australia – Artbank, the Art Gallery of NSW, the Australian War Memorial, the National Library of Australia, The National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria and Parliament House in Canberra.
As part of the Castlemaine State Festival, a selection of his paintings, sculptures, etchings and lithographs will be on show upstairs at Falkner Gallery 14 March – 5 May.
Downstairs are two exhibitions with very different styles and techniques.
Carolyn Graham has held several solo exhibitions at Falkner Gallery and each one has attracted an enthusiastic audience. This show ‘Between Daylight and Dark’ includes landscapes as well as animals and birds.
The landscapes describe the Central Victorian region. Her expressive style allows her to eliminate the superfluous details of the view in order to capture the essence, particularly of the areas around Castlemaine and towards Ballan and Ballarat. Hilly farmlands in Spring and Summer become quilted patterns divided by cypress windbreaks – her trademark signature.
Her birds and animals are expressive and dramatic whether fighting hunting dogs, trotting, fat pigs or bold, confronting hares and crows.
Another artist who describes the Central Victorian environment is also showing at Falkner Gallery. Annette Ratcliffe resides at nearby Basalt and after her art training in Melbourne, some years living in Europe and a period of teaching, she now works in a diverse range of artforms.
She describes the main thread throughout her artwork being drawing, giving her the ability “to learn to see”. Her miniature landscapes are exquisite renderings of what she sees in her own environment; they are meticulous studies of twigs, leaves, trees, boulders and bush tracks. Her works are photo-realist watercolour representations of the landscape she loves.
The exhibitions by the three artists Dean Bowen, Carolyn Graham and Annette Ratcliffe cover a wide range of artforms and techniques – oil and watercolour paintings, bronze sculptures, lithographs, etchings, linocuts and woodcuts. Themes of the landscape of Central Victoria and beyond, as well as animals, birds, portraits and cityscapes are treated very differently stylistically by these three highly regarded artists.
14 March – 5 May
Hours:  14 – 24 March, Thursday – Sunday 11-5.