16 March - 15 April


Retrospectives x4

an exhibition of artworks in various media by
Alison Brown, Philip David, Pamela Illert & Stephen Skillitzi

This exhibition features four artists who have come together to showcase work produced throughout their career.

 Alison Brown began painting in the late 1960s, with her early pieces depicting in oils the landscape that her eyes saw in a realistic way. In the late 1970s she began studies in Art and was introduced to printmaking, with screenprinting becoming her major medium. She found she was looking at the landscape in a different way, searching for the structures of the landscape, for what lay beneath the surface.  Alison also discovered that she was drawn to the patterns found in the landscape.  Her colour interpretation altered and became more of an emotional reaction to her connection with what she was seeing.

 Alison simplifies the shapes of the landscape, moulds the forms, and romanticises the colour using glazes. In her mixed media work, the torn edge of watercolour paper provides a character of its own.  Layers of torn paper combined with other specialty papers, create a rich surface on which to layer colours.  This combination of medium allows her to achieve something of the richness of the textures found in the landscape. 

 “The painting becomes both intuitive and spontaneous, almost taking control of my mind and hand, and often needing to be reworked to achieve the richness of surface texture and depth of feeling I am striving to achieve” Alison says. “I am searching to show the timeless, inner spirit of the land so it may speak to others as it speaks to me.”

 Philip David has always enjoyed creating the human figure in the environment, either as abstract or realist, and over the course of time has gained through experimentation with differing styles, textures and various mediums the joy of the human figure with all its varieties and complexities. He is predominantly a portrait artist, but is also in the early stages of a series of contemporary works dealing with the daily city living and the seeming angst that he sees on many faces of people as they travel to and fro from their worldly endeavours in major cities.

 Philip has a curiosity in the ability of all humans to wear masks metaphorically in our daily life – he has produced many varied series dealing specifically with the masks we wear in our daily lives. “I am endeavouring to produce one or more series of works that will say something on the current human condition, providing visual metaphors capturing the souls and personalities of people who live at this time in our country during these periods of governmental upheaval, social change, the demise of manufacturing and eventually the fossil fuelled car, terrorism and all sorts of dilemmas that Australia faces at the moment and still have elements of optimism for the future in each work” he says.

 Philip is a Fellow - Royal South Australian Society of Arts and a Member of The Artist Voice. He teaches portrait painting at the RSASA & Burnside Painting Group.

 Pamela Illert, throughout her career, has been an active and exhibiting artist; concerned with drawing, painting, printmaking, glass jewellery and most recently encaustic. She particularly enjoys drawing, painting and printmaking and often employ fragments of her images in collages and encaustic. Themes usually refer to social, political or spiritual aspects and/or abstract botanical forms.

 Her methodology is to focus on particular thoughts or concerns and slowly allow these to flow into more intuitive areas. This results in complex and abstract works which allow viewers broad ranges of possible interpretations. All such works refer to and seek to move beyond established art historical and contemporary theoretical contexts.

 Pamela studied at the SA School of Art where she received a Diploma in Fine Arts - Sculpture (1976). She then attended Flinders University, graduating with a first class Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Degree in Visual Arts and Drama (1980). Following that, she worked as an Arts Administrator (with Country Arts SA, then the Contemporary Arts Centre of South Australia) prior to attending the University of Adelaide where she completed a Diploma in Education (1986) and a Masters Degree in Anglo-American-Australian and French philosophies (1994). Most recently, Pamela attended the University of South Australia where she completed a PhD in Visual Art History and Theory (2003). Between studies, she worked as a Secondary Teacher with the Education Department of South Australia. 

 Stephen Skillitzi’s 52 years of exhibiting solo culminates here with his retrospective sub-titled: “Back to the Future”. Displayed here at Gallery M is of course a tiny fraction of the rough estimate of 100,000 Skillitzi-created items now widely scattered. Guiding hundreds of art/craft students (many nowadays mature renown artists) since 1968 in USA and later in Australia, through his hands-on example, was central philosophically to much of that diverse-media and message-driven output. 

 Being a local-lad in the Marion area for 36 years, Stephen has cemented local fielties without losing focus on global current-affairs issues which have informed his craft-based, often didactically cutting-edge practice. Open home-studio days during SALA are supplemented by visits by appointment to his twice TV-featured Sculpture garden.

 Dr. Noris Ioannou, critic and author, Adelaide, wrote: “Skillitzi has been involved in the Australian glass scene since its beginnings in this country from 1971. Prior to that was the North American experience. Therefore any close scrutiny of his work must, of necessity, be set in the context of the establishment and development of the studio glass scene in Australia. Conversely an historical narrative of Australian studio glass cannot be complete without tracing Skillitzi’s involvement and influence: he is recognised as having initiated the hot glass studio movement in Australia, through his transplantation of both the missionary zeal and techniques of the North American studio glassed pioneers” [1990] “Clearly individuals such as Skillitzi sparked initial interest in the new medium- for which he deserves the title of father of Australian studio Glass”. [1995]

 Grace Cochrane AM, curator and writer, Sydney, wrote: “Since first watching Skillitzi blowing glass in Tasmania in 1973, while wearing what became his signature billowing wizard’s cloak, I have followed his career with increasing fascination. The evolution of the curious thematic juxtapositions of his forms and their meanings, has been paralleled by an often idiosyncratic sourcing of materials. At that time we had to collect bottles to be melted for his glassblowing demo, but he was also known for recycling discarded broken lampshades from Leonora Glass Works and later, several tons of obsolete glass spectacle lenses.

Innovative? Resourceful? Imaginative? He has never stopped!” [2018]

MEET THE ARTISTS - 2pm Sunday 25 March