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Nillumbik Shire Council

The Shire of Nillumbik is located less than 25 kilometres north-east of Melbourne, and has the Yarra River as its southern boundary. It extends 29 kilometres to Kinglake National Park in the north. The Shire stretches approximately 20 kilometres from the Plenty River and Yan Yean Road in the west to Christmas Hills and the Yarra escarpment in the east.

The Shire covers an area of 431.94 square kilometres and has an estimated population of 64,219 who live in close-knit communities which range from typical urban settings to remote and tranquil bush properties. There is also over 300 hectares of nature and recreation reserves, which does not include some areas of the Kinglake National Park in the north of the Shire.

Contact Information

web
http://https://www.nillumbik.vic.gov.au/Living-in/Arts-and-Cultural-Development/Art-Collection
phone
+61 9433 3131

Contact

Opening Hours

8.30am to 5.00pm weekdays

Entry Fee

Free

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Nillumbik Shire Council holds an important Visual Art Collection of over 400 works of art of contemporary and historical interest. The focus of the collection is on works of excellence that reference local content or are works of excellence from artists who live locally. Some notable artists represented within the Collection are Clifton Pugh, Rick Amor, Deborah Halpern, Matcham Skipper, John Young, David Wadelton, Walter Withers, Sue Ford, Adriane Strampp and George Baldessin. Nillumbik Shire Council also holds a Memorabilia and Public Art Collection with sixteen sculptures located in various public places throughout the Shire.

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426 items

426 items

Sculpture: Peter WEGNER (b.1954 NZ - a.1958 AUS) - The Embrace (from the 'Black Saturday' series)

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Two men embrace in despair. One man throws his arms around the other man's shoulders. The other man holds the other's back. Surface treatment is textured. Dark metallic brown colour with figures starting to turn a green patina.

Historical information

The 'Black Saturday' bushfires were a series of bushfires that ignited across the Australian state of Victoria on and around Saturday, 7 February 2009. It was Australia's worst ever natural disaster. The fires occurred during extreme bushfire-weather conditions and resulted in Australia's highest ever loss of life from a bushfire: 173 people died and 414 were injured as a result of the fires.

Significance

This work is by a local contemporary artist with a national and international reputation for figurative and portrait works. The 'Black Saturday' series is a powerful investigation of emotion and grief as experienced by many Nillumbik residents during the 2009 'Black Saturday' bushfires. A cluster of bronze figurines either stand alone or embrace in groups. Their expressions and gestures of despair are made more pertinent with the raw like application and surface treatment of the material used. The 'Black Saturday' series is a challenging work, but one that encourages healing, connection and empathy.

Inscriptions & Markings

Note stuck with tape underside of sculpture 'Savage Art Prize Peter Wegner (phone number) The Embrace 2011'

Collage: Elizabeth GOWER (b.1952 SA, AUS) - Cycles 11

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Kaleidoscope pattern of multiple segments (logos-Purina 'fancy feast') from commercial (food) catalogues on commercial packaging (cardboard - round lid).

Historical information

The 'Cycles' series is an extension of two large scale provisional installations '150 Rotations', Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, and '356 Rotations', AC Institute in New York, which also re-purposed and aestheticised multiple paper units into hundreds of circular motifs.

Significance

The immediate tactile connection with the material excesses and detritus of contemporary consumer culture informs the theoretical framework and conceptual understanding of Gower's practice, and associates her work with ideas of recovery and re-purpose, sustainable practice and thrift strategies that critique excesses of mass production and the notion of impermanence. This series was made ‘in transit’ during the artist’s recent studio residencies at Point[B], New York and Laughing Waters, Eltham, and at three temporary studios in Rome, Berlin and Collingwood.

Inscriptions & Markings

No inscriptions and markings

Decorative object (Spoon): Simon Icarus BAIGENT - Caviar Spoon

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Sculpture (textile): Susan WIRTH (b.1967 Syd AUS) - I want to love this country (Murnong)

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Yellow abstract sculpture woven into a vessel with long tentacles using cotton yarn.

Significance

Nillumbik Prize finalist (2018, 2016, 2015, 2014). The artist lives and works in Nillumbik. Abstract sculpture inspired by the artist attending a local ceremony in Nillumbik to harvest tubers of the Murnong (yam daisy), a traditional staple of the Wurundjeri people. Wirth was also inspired by the writing of Bruce Pascoe. Wirth works intuitively with awareness that meaning may be deciphered through the combination of material/mediums/techniques that she uses randomly. Through the process of experimentation and automatism Wirth allows her work to evolve organically. Wirth is represented in public art collections including: Victorian College of the Arts, Victorian Performing Arts Centre and Ararat Regional Gallery. She also completed a residency at Laughing Waters in 2012.

Inscriptions & Markings

N/A

Print (sugarlift etching): Jan SENBERGS (b.1939 Lativia, arrived AUS 1950) - 'New Jersey - rust belt' from the 'Baldessin & Friends' commemorative folio

Nillumbik Shire Council,

sugar lift etching of an urban (cityscape - New Jersey) scene - bridges, roads, buildings, in thick black brushstrokes. The image is busy; full of energy and movement. A bleed print in which the paper barely contains the city scape.

Historical information

Jan Senbergs was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1939 and came to Australia when he was ten. Senbergs’ work has been characterised by a simple and bold aesthetic. From lush landscapes to barren urban spaces, his body of work signifies an artist who has continually experimented with shape, form and motif, a fundamental humanist vision, a finely-honed sense of the absurd, and a rigorous studio practice spanning printmaking, drawing and painting. Senbergs is Baldessin's exact contemporary. He was also born in Europe and fled his homeland because of the war, arriving in Melbourne in 1950. Like George, Senbergs also worked at the RMIT and in 1973 represented Australia at the Bienal de Sao Paulo. Senbergs first met George when he was living in St. Kilda. George asked if he could screen print his 'Argus' catalogue for a show at the gallery in the Argus building. George Baldessin (1939-1978) was born in San Biagio di Callalta, in the Veneto in Northern Italy and arrived in Australia ten years later. A printmaker and sculptor he built his bluestone studio at St Andrews (Nillumbik) in 1971. The bluestone studio was hand built by George, his partner Tess and the three Hails brothers, Rob, Doug and Don. Made of recycled materials the studio today contains all of George’s equipment including the large press, which he modelled himself with the help of Neil Jeffrey (Enjay Presses). George won many prizes throughout his career and is represented in many of Australia's public art collections including his famous 'Pears' sculpture in front of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. In 1975 he represented Australia in the Sao Paulo Biennale, before living and working in Paris until his return to St Andrews in 1977. In 1978 George was killed in a car accident aged 39 years. In 2001 Tess returned to St Andrews to reclaim the run-down studio and reconstitute it as The Baldessin Press & Studio - a printmaking retreat. It operates in George’s memory, so that artists may continue to create, perpetuating the generous spirit of George.

Significance

'New Jersey - rust belt' is one of eight prints in the 'Baldessin & Friends commemorative folio. The folio was conceived by Tess Edwards as a fundraising initiative in celebration of the The Baldessin Press & Studio's fifteen year anniversary, and as a way to honour George Baldessin's memory. The Baldessin Press & Studio is a not-for-profit organisation created in memory of the late George Baldessin (1939-1978), whose original studio is now open to the public for creative use and as a practical legacy to living artists. The Studio is located in St Andrews, Nillumbik. The folio is a unique coming together of seven very different and acclaimed artists who are connected by their friendship to the missing eighth member, George Baldessin. This print finds its' origins in the time Senbergs spent at Harvard in America in 1989-90. In the context of Baldessin it explores an industrial urban surreal vision that was common to both artist. The image captures the life force of the city revealing the keen and observant eye of Jan Senbergs. Similar in sensibility to his large scale charcoal drawings of the 1990s, the artwork is not only a record of what the artist sees, but of what interest him. By following the movement of each line the viewer can witness the artist's eye travelling through, over and around each element of the urban landscape. The scale is deceptive with the image bled to the full-size of the sheet of paper like a microcosm of a much bigger whole.

Inscriptions & Markings

In pencil (handwritten): top centre: left '14/25' (edition); centre 'New Jersey-Rustbelt' (title); right 'Jan Senbergs' (signature);

Photograph: Sue FORD (b.1943-d.2009) - Submerge

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Textile (shawl): Grace MITCHELL - Grace's Shawl

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Painting: Peter GLASS (b.1917 - d.1997 AUS) - Summer Day on the Yarra, 1968

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Pottery (jar): ANONYMOUS - Spice Jar (brown)

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Print (digital): Tess EDWARDS - Spotty Snake

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Painting: Guan WEI (b.1957 CHINA) - Anonymous Invader No. 1

Nillumbik Shire Council,

acrylic on canvas

Painting: Melinda Harper - 'Untitled'

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Small-medium sized oil painting of vivid, bold, coloured shapes arranged in a kaleidoscope pattern. There is an array of colours each placed in proximity to each other to create a vibrant, lively atmosphere.

Historical information

This work was completed during Harper's Laughing Waters residency at Boomerang, 2001. The Laughing Waters Artist in Residence Program was run by Nillumbik Shire Council (in partnership with Parks Victoria) 2001-2015.

Significance

The painting is a representative of Harper's artistic practice.

Inscriptions & Markings

Anna Schwartz sticker on back of canvas.

Sculpture: Matcham SKIPPER - George Dreyfus Composer

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Figurative bronze bust of well known Australian composer George Dreyfus. He is wearing a shirt underneath a sweater. His left arm/hand is placed over his chest. His eyes are half closed as if immersed in the music. A green patina can be seen in areas on the sculpture.

Historical information

Eltham was a creative hub during the twentieth century, attracting innovative visual artists, architects, writers and film makers to collaborate, forging lifelong friendships and artistic legacies. Skipper produced this bronze sculpture of friend, Composer George Dreyfus for the then Shire of Eltham Art Award.

Significance

Matcham Skipper (b.1921 NZ - d. 2011 Melb.) was a renowned local sculptor, jeweller and builder and an accomplished teacher, designer, ironworker, and photographer. His work is held by many museums and public collections in Australia and overseas. He was a long term resident of Montsalvat in Eltham with his family deeply involved in the building and evolution of this artists colony, which was the vision of architect and painter Justus Jorgensen. George Dreyfus (b.1928 Germany - arrived 1939 Aus) is an Australian contemporary classical, film and television composer. He has composed numerous film and television scores, including Tim Burstall's 'The Adventures of Sebastian the Fox' (1963), 'A Steam Train Passes' (1974), 'Rush' (1974), 'Dimboola' (1979) and 'The Fringe Dwellers' (1986). It was the score for 'Rush' which brought him wider recognition. He has written four operas, two symphonies, chamber music and film scores spanning five decades. Dreyfus is well known for having worked with the late director, writer and producer Tim Burstall, a key figure in Australian postwar cinema and local who lived in Eltham. Burstall was instrumental in rebuilding the Australian film industry in the 60s, creating groundbreaking Australian films including 'Stork' and 'Alvin Purple'.

Inscriptions & Markings

Signature and date cast (incised with tool) onto the back shoulder blade: 'MATCHAM SKIPPER 1987'

Pottery (plate): Joan ARMFIELD and David ARMFIELD - Platter with Saturated Iron Glaze and Grevillia Decoration

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Sculpture: Stephen HUGHES - The Talisman Seed

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Sculpture: Peter CARRIGY - Platypus

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Print (woodcut and etching on chine-colle): John WOLSELEY (b.1938 Somerset, UK; arrived 1976 Melb., AUS) - 'Life world of the Longicorn beetle' from the 'Baldessin & Friends commemorative folio'

Nillumbik Shire Council,

An intimate and layered print of a tree log with line trails from the Longicorn beetle. Patches of pink, yellow and orange watercolour placed randomly. Woodcut from found log and etching on chine-colle with water colour on Gampi (top layer), Mulberry (middle layer) and Arches (bottom layer) paper.

Historical information

Painter, printmaker and installation artist John Wolseley was born in Somerset, England. He lived and worked throughout Europe before relocating to Australia in 1976. His work explores how people dwell and move within landscape. Wolseley see's himself as a hybrid mix of artist and scientist; one who tries to relate the minutiae of the natural world - leaf, feather and beetle wing - to the abstract dimensions of the earth's dynamic systems. Using techniques of watercolour, collage, frottage, nature printing and other methods of direct physical or kinetic contact Wolseley finds ways of collaborating with the actual plants, birds, trees, rocks and earth of a particular place. George Baldessin was one of the first artists John Wolseley met when he arrived in Australia in 1976. Both immigrated to Australia and connected through this shared experience. They were both at 'Realities Gallery' with Marianne Baillieu in the 1970s and 80s. George Baldessin (1939-1978) was born in San Biagio di Callalta, in the Veneto in Northern Italy and arrived in Australia ten years later. A printmaker and sculptor he built his bluestone studio at St Andrews (Nillumbik) in 1971 with his partner Tess and the three Hails brothers, Rob, Doug and Don. Made of recycled materials the studio today contains all of George’s equipment including the large press, which he modelled himself with the help of Neil Jeffrey (Enjay Presses). George won many prizes throughout his career and is represented in many of Australia's public art collections including his famous 'Pears' sculpture in front of the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. In 1975 he represented Australia in the Sao Paulo Biennale, before living and working in Paris until his return to St Andrews in 1977. In 1978 George was killed in a car accident aged 39 years. In 2001 Tess returned to St Andrews to reclaim the run-down studio and reconstitute it as The Baldessin Press & Studio - a printmaking retreat. It operates in George’s memory, so that artists may continue to create, perpetuating the generous spirit of George.

Significance

'Life world of the Longicorn beetle' is one of eight prints in the 'Baldessin & Friends commemorative folio. The folio was conceived by Tess Edwards as a fundraising initiative in celebration of the The Baldessin Press & Studio's fifteen year anniversary, and as a way to honour George Baldessin's memory. The Baldessin Press & Studio is a not-for-profit organisation created in memory of the late George Baldessin (1939-1978), whose original studio is now open to the public for creative use and as a practical legacy to living artists. The Studio is located in St Andrews, Nillumbik. The folio is a unique coming together of seven very different and acclaimed artists who are connected by their friendship to the missing eighth member, George Baldessin. Communion and collaboration with nature are central to Wolseley's practice. He assembles different drawing methods to represent a kind of inventory or document about the state of the earth. His interest is to paint the processes and energy field of the living systems of this land. 'Life world of the Longicorn beetle' is his continued exploration of Australia's natural eco-systems. The beetle attacks the eucalypt and in the process of tunnelling into the wood of the tree leaves scribbly patterns. The work celebrates the cycle of life, and the wisdom and delicacy of these creatures. This three dimensional work consisting of three layers of paper is a varied edition, offering just the slightest difference between each print, reflective of variation in nature. The found log used as a woodcut acknowledges the interconnectedness of nature and living beings; the log is not apart from the art and the beetle has become an active artistic collaborator.

Inscriptions & Markings

In pencil (handwritten): low plate: left '14/25' (edition); centre 'Life world of the Longicorn beetle' (title); right 'John Wolseley' (signature); low paper: right emboss 'GB' (Baldessin Press & Studio monogram)

Prints (solar engraving): Christine JOHNSON (b. 1959 AUS)

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Painting: Guy STUART (b.1942 ACT) - Tunnel by the Yarra

Nillumbik Shire Council,

An abstract painting of the Yarra River from Pound Bend in Warrandyte. The painting is quite expressive, linear and gestural in style. Muted, neutral tones of greens, browns and reds.

Photograph: Sue FORD - Clifton, Marlene Pugh, Dunmoochin

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Textile (botanical print): Karena Goldfinch - Legacy

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Large wall hanging comprised of strips of recycled woollen blankets stitched together. Each strip has been printed (eco dyed) with organic matter local to the Shire of Nillumbik

Significance

Recipient of the Local Prize, Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Art 2019. The imprints of eucalyptus ficifolia, eucalyptus polyanthemus, grevilia robusta and casuarina verticillata onto woollen blankets. They tell a story of home and comfort, of legacy and place, of connection and continuity.

Inscriptions & Markings

N/A

Painting: Simon DATTNER - Ode to Rueben Tice

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Print (solar engraving): Christine JOHNSON

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Print (drypoint): Marco LUCCIO (b.1969 ITA, arrived 1974 AUS)) - Spencer Street from above 2

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Bowl (wood): Paul BARTON - Warped

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Photographic light box: Heather WINTER - Hair: from the series Ego Double Helix

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Print (photo etching): Tony TREMBATH (b.1946 Vic, AUS) - Self Portrait Left Side

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Painting: Alan MARTIN (b.1923 - d.1989 AUS) - Eltham North

Nillumbik Shire Council,

Print (Serigraph): Ray Thomas - Brolga

Nillumbik Shire Council,

This work is a serigraph (screenprint) on cartridge paper using blue oil based inks of the 'Brolga' (Australian Crane); a common, gregarious wetland bird species of tropical and south-eastern Australia and New Guinea / It is a tall, upright bird with a small head, long beak, slender neck and long legs / The pose of the bird represents their stance when calling out to their mate, which sounds like a loud trumpet / The decorative markings on the bird's plumage is from the traditional carved/etched Gunnai shields from Gippsland Eastern Victoria, which is where Thomas' people are from.

Inscriptions & Markings

Underneath 'Brolga', on slant, lower right in greylead pencil (?) handwritten artist signature and language group "Ray Thomas - GUNNAI"

Pottery (jug): Lesly MARTIN - Brown jug, wax resist decoration

Nillumbik Shire Council,