May 13, 2019
Stunning photos, textile art, and a tribute to a pioneer cattleman who lived in a Boondooma cave for 10 years make up the Wondai Regional Art Gallery’s May exhibition.
The three exhibitions – works by photographer Belinda Kranz, the Graham House Spinners and Weavers, and artist Wendy Olsen – were officially opened at a well-attended wine and cheese night on May 3.
It was gallery’s biggest opening night so far this year.
The front gallery is given over this month to Belinda Kranz’s photos, which cover everything from South Burnett landscapes to portraits.
Belinda said she had originally taken up photography as a hobby but had begun to take it more seriously about four years ago.
She now runs a photographic business. Her exhibition consisted of personal favourites along with photographs that had found favour with judges at the many photographic competitions she’s entered.
The bulk of her photos are views of the South Burnett and its people, including a striking portrait of Belinda’s father, a lifelong peanut farmer.
Belinda’s photos are vivid, often breath-taking, and provide views of some things many local residents have probably seen – such as Wooroolin’s paulownia plantation – in strikingly new ways.
In the main gallery, the Graham House Spinners and Weavers have a wide-ranging display of textile art.
The group’s large collection of lovingly woven wearable art is accompanied by a large static display showing the astonishing array of everyday materials that can be used to dye wool, along with examples of the colours each of these dyes produce.
Examples on display include everything from cochineal beetles and copper pipes to a fungus that grows on a tree in one spinner’s garden.
Members of the group who attended the official opening said they pursued spinning, weaving and dyeing primarily as a hobby, however they were very pleased to have the opportunity to bring their work to a much wider audience.
Finally, the rear gallery contains a selection of artworks from Wendy Olsen which were inspired by the life story of little-known South Burnett pioneer Cyril Jerrard.
Cyril selected a block of land in the Boondooma area in 1921 but lived in a cave until he built a small house 10 years later.
Jerrard’s hobby was studying birds, and he developed a particular fascination for the now-extinct Paradise Parrot, which he observed over several years on his property and neighbouring properties.
He produced thorough descriptions of the bird’s appearance, nature and nesting habits; took the only known photographs of the species; and is credited with the last official sighting of the parrot in 1927.
Jerrard went on to be a successful grazier but his own life also ended in tragedy when he drowned at a family picnic in 1943 at the age of 54.
Wendy said her works were a tribute to Jerrard, and to the idea that human beings should try to live in harmony with nature rather than destroy it.
The official opening was conducted by Cr Danita Potter.
Cr Potter praised the works on show and said she found them all fascinating, but each in different ways.
Gallery curator Elaine Madill told the audience that – much to her surprise – she was the Gallery’s president again after incoming president Amanda Seiler had to reluctantly step down due to unforeseen family circumstances.
Elaine said Amanda will still take part in activities at the gallery but was unable to assume the top job as planned.
So Elaine has resumed the role she’s held for the past 11 years until a new president can be found.