With the temperature cooling, it’s time to head indoors and discover Perth’s creative side, a wealth of galleries and flourishing craft and visual arts scene.
If you’re into indigenous art, this is the place to go - its collection is world renowned and includes traditional and contemporary works from Arnhemland, the Central Desert, and Western Australia. Current exhibitions include Phenomena by one of the most significant artists of the 20th century, Howard Taylor. Taylor hails from the forest town of Northcliffe in the south west, a this green environment that has greatly influenced his work. The exhibition continues until May.
Those into sculpture should make a date to visit the gallery in late July when a piece called Split Personality by Michael Cooper will be on show for three weeks. This is a near life size motorbike with a surreal side car made from jarrah on a base of silver ash – very funky.
If something edgy and avant garde is more your style, head to the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA), just a short walk from the Art Gallery of WA. PICA is dedicated to supporting contemporary arts and artists and has a busy program of activities, exhibitions, performing arts and workshops.
Here is where you’ll find the newest, most innovative and sometimes confronting art works. Often exhibitions will be a hybrid of visual, performance and new media.
The Holmes a Court Gallery in East Perth presents works from the highly regarded family collection. It includes pieces of Australian colonial and indigenous art, as well as some from famous names such as Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Frida Kahlo.
The collection continues to grow and there is now an emphasis to support emerging and developing artists. Until April the gallery is showing an exhibit by indigenous artist Jarinyanu David Downs which explores his traditional 'stories' or Dreamings. Jarinyanu is from Lake Gregory in country belonging to the Wangkajunga language group in the Great Sandy Desert region.
If you’re looking to add to your own art collection, head to Greenhill Galleries on King Street in the City’s trendy West End. It is one of Australia’s longest running commercial galleries and features paintings, prints and sculptures by contemporary local, interstate and international artists. While exhibitions change regularly, the gallery will be displaying works by two of Perth’s leading artists, Alan Marshall and Barbara Chapman, from May 14 - 28.
Outside of the city there are plenty of galleries in and around Fremantle. The Fremantle Arts Centre is housed in a magnificent neo-Gothic heritage listed building on Finnerty Street. The Centre fosters cultural and community based projects and offers exhibitions of contemporary visual arts, as well as running courses and staging free courtyard music concerts. It also has a great craft shop which stocks hand-made ceramics, glassware, wood and textiles by local craft artists.
In the Swan Valley you’ll find Gomboc Gallery – the largest privately owned art gallery in the state. As well as monthly exhibitions inside the gallery, the grounds are being transformed into a sculpture park. Gomboc offers an eclectic mix of works and attempts to cover the full spectrum of artistic tastes.
The John Curtin Gallery at Curtin University’s Bentley campus focuses on contemporary local, national and international exhibitions. It also has a lively program of floor talks, forums and films with an emphasis on new works by living artists.
Art Gallery of WA is open daily from 10am until 5pm, (08) 9492 6622
PICA is open Tuesday to Sunday 11am until 7pm, (08) 9227 6144
Gomboc Gallery (50 James Road, Middle Swan) is open Wednesday to Sunday 10am until 5pm, (08) 9274 3996
John Curtin Gallery is open Tuesday to Friday 10.30am until 5pm and Sundays 1pm until 5pm, (08) 9266 4155
Greenhill Galleries is open Monday to Friday 10am until 5pm and Saturdays 11am until 4pm, (08) 9321 236