If you’ve passed Beaver Galleries at Deakin without going inside, then you’ll be forgiven if, like I did, you didn’t pay it much thought beyond wondering what the giant coffee cup sculptures outside represented. This little contemporary art gallery looks humble from the outside, but it turns out it packs some serious punch on the inside.
Alexander Boynes’ Last Light exhibition has opened in the gallery, dealing out one such punch. Boynes’ work deals with the damage that industry is dealing to Australia’s environment, and stands as a call to action about the loss of our country’s indigenous history.
The content may be sad, but the aesthetic is anything but drab. The pieces are immense aluminium panels of brilliant colour, with dark scenes of spiritual ghosts haunting industrial spaces.
The aluminium background becomes the highlight, searing through where colour hasn’t been applied, adding a depth and dynamism. Each panel is greyish when seen from the side, but bursts into vivid colour when viewed from in front.
With deep black backgrounds and popping technicolor, the pieces have something slightly 3D about them, with the metal jumping out in front of the pigment as the light catches it.
Your eye leaps to the brightly coloured details in rich ultramarine and electric orange, and little holographic oil-slick rainbows that draw you in. The deep void of each piece is offset by vivid red backing that glows off the walls.
The rest of the gallery is a treat. My favourite is the back room, filled with nature paintings and sweetly brilliant ceramics, all with a delicate Australiana vibe.
In the other exhibition space is Annette Blair’s glassworks collection, featuring planet-like globes of finely coloured glass shaped into wool skeins by means we mortals can only guess at.
Beaver is also home to a best-kept-secret gift store, offering handcrafted jewellery, glasswares, ceramics and prints, including several by the exhibiting artists, if the four-figure price tags on the items in the gallery proper are a bit steep for you.
Alexander Boynes’ Last Light exhibition is on display until Sunday 2 September.