Fresh like a Southerly: IAVA at Parliament House





For the second time IAVA artists are exhibiting their latest works at Fountain Court, in NSW Parliament House. It’s an airy and elegant space with a central light-well and fountain. 27 of us are showing our art there and it promises to be a strong show. Janine Sager is Guest Curator and Diana Wood Conroy is not only participating as an artist, but has also written a thoughtful and erudite essay for our catalogue. Fresh….


Out of the Illawarra

Fountain Court, NSW Parliament House, Macquarie Street Sydney

Opening Event Thursday 3 August, 2.30-4.30pm

Exhibition runs 1 – 25 August

Gallery hours Mon-Fri 9am till 5pm


Wynne Prize and art from APY Lands

Pondering this week on the annual Wynne Prize. I try to submit a work every year if I can. Feeling pretty good about this year’s effort, Coastal Scape Elements, acrylic on board, 76 x 108cm:


Coastal scape elements


There are so many stunning works that get exhibited every year. My chances are hilariously tiny, but that doesn’t matter. It’s a kind of professional obligation, in a way, to enter these important shows – to somehow feel like you’re part of the whole endeavour, even if your works don’t get to be hung in those hallowed halls. This is the electric and gorgeous winner from last year, Seven sisters  from the Ken Family, acrylic on 2 canvases, overall 244 x 305cm:



The various styles of work from the APY lands (top left corner of SA) are mind-blowing. Check out this little clip from ABC Arts…gorgeous stuff.

Tasty treats at Belconnen Arts Centre


Invitation-Feast-IAVA-BAC-opening- (1)


Eleven of us from IAVA have been working towards  Feast – a major group show at the beautiful Belconnen Arts Centre. It’s a lovely space right by Lake Ginninderra in Canberra.

Participating artists are: Melissa Ritchie, Arja Valimaki, Mary Wingrave, Paula Gowans, Libby Bloxham, Deb Redwood, Jennifer Jackson, Liz Jeneid, Susan Macalister, Virginia Settre and myself.

Apart from the exhibition itself, we’re running a Workshop on Sunday July 2. ‘Tastes Great!’ is a workshop  that examines the ingredients for making powerful artworks.  $90, bookings contact the Arts Centre 02 6173 3300 or

An artists’ talk on Sunday July 9  from 11am lets you hear from the artists themselves, who’ll discuss aspects of their practice.

Opening Event Friday June 30 @ 5.30pm

Show runs July 1-23

Gallery hours Tues – Sun,  10 – 4

All welcome. Wheelchair accessible. 




Oooooh this is exciting!  I don’t mind talking about my own work if I have some interested folks – but the real delight of this event will be talking to Jane Bennett. Jane is a very well regarded award-winning Industrial Heritage artist, who’s made her name over several decades by faithfully recording the disappearing industrial scape of Sydney. She has some marvellous stories and some fabulous art. If you’re in town, come on down and hear Jane speak. Oh. And me, I guess….;)

Artists’ Talks: Moira Kirkwood in conversation with Jane Bennett

Saturday 15 April, 2 – 3pm

Wollongong Art Gallery

cnr. Kembla & Burelli Streets Wollongong.

Admission free, all welcome.

The gallery is wheelchair accessible.

How things go together: solo show at Thirroul Seaside & Arts Festival



Ooooooh I’m excited about this one. I haven’t had a solo show for ages, and now this is it. An Artist Grant from the Thirroul Seaside & Arts Festival enabled me to put together a small body of work. They also provided a wall of my own (not the whole room, Virginia, but it suits me fine…)

If you’re in town, come on down.

How things go together

New works by Moira Kirkwood

Thirroul Community Centre and Library, (within the Main Art Exhibition)

352-360 Lawrence Hargrave Drive Thirroul

Opening Friday 31 March @ 7pm ($20 entry, over 18 only)

Sat 10am-4pm and Sun 10am-3pm (gold coin entry)

All welcome | Wheelchair accessible

Symphony: celebrating spiritual diversity in Art & Culture



Symphony is the second show in the Insight project, founded by Alena Kennedy and Libby Bloxham.  They  bring together artists of all kinds with a view to celebrating our various brands of humanity, and I’m delighted to be a part of it again. It’s a stunning show, full of colour and texture.

It’s at Project Contemporary Artspace, 255 Keira Street Wollongong



WED-SUN, 10 -4


Apart from the exhibition itself, there is a weekend of workshops and performances planned:

Symphony program_Page_1

Symphony program_Page_2

I also contributed a Catalogue Essay for the show…

SYMPHONY:  an essay

… there are so many things that make us the same. We dance to music, we get wet in the rain, we laugh and we cry…

Narelle Thomas & Lorraine Brown, Coomaditchie United Aboriginal Association


Art is like breathing: as essential and as personal.  An artwork may be a celebration of beauty, a political statement, or created as a commission, but it remains my construction; my mark-making. Each of us sees through the    lens of our own conditioning.  A particularity of viewpoint is inevitable.

As someone born and raised in a Western culture it’s hard for me to conceive of art any other way, but individuality is not equally emphasised across cultures.  An Aboriginal artist may be more concerned with connection to Country or maintaining the currency of traditional stories for the benefit of community, rather than some gesture of individual expression. In both Korea and Japan an oft-quoted proverb is ‘The nail that sticks out will be hammered down.’ This hints at certain ideas about the ways we come together to create a society.

Symphony pushes back, not against individuality itself but against the idea that once my own oxygen mask is on I can relax. Actually, I can’t. We need to continually move towards each other. Scientific studies are belatedly showing what the sages and wisewomen have known all along: the more human connections we have, the healthier we are.[1] Further, those involved with actively doing something for someone else end up reaping the benefit. That twentieth century giant Albert Schweitzer talked of the great value of service to others, linking it directly with our own happiness.[2] Whatever our beliefs (or lack of them) may be, we can all recognise the magical nature of doing something – anything – as a cooperative venture. The project quickly becomes an entity greater than the sum of its parts.

Alena Kennedy and Libby Bloxham are the founding mothers of the Insight art project (of which Symphony is a part.)  They are long-time spiritual travelling companions, active for many years in community activities where creativity and intuition are valued.

They chose the title of this exhibition with care. The word originates from the Greek sumphonia,[3] meaning harmony – a sister concept to co-operation, with its implication of respect and recognition of the contribution of others. Everyone plays a part. Beautiful things arise.

The show is scheduled around Harmony Day, a time when cultural diversity in Australia is celebrated.[4] This in turn coincides with the United Nations International Day for the elimination of Racial Discrimination.[5]The importance of such a day in the current political climate is self-evident. March 21 is also significant in astronomical terms though: it’s the Autumn Equinox, a point in the year’s turning that is held as sacred for many faiths. It’s the time when day and night are of equal length and we start the descent into the winter months.  Traditionally there is gratitude for the harvest and recognition of the importance of maintaining balance.  It’s a reminder too of the delicate nature of things. The gods might be whispering: don’t take all this for granted…

It’s true that art-making most commonly has a solitary aspect to it, even if one is sharing a studio space with others. It demands something of you as a particular entity. For an artist, an artwork is a manifestation of their presence in, and interpretation of, the world. This is the case whether their work is photo-realistic in presentation – it really ‘looks like’ something – or, at the other end of the spectrum, totally pattern-based abstraction. Some art-viewers feel that they can only relate to something recognisably pictorial. Fair enough; it’s good to remember though that our lives are dominated by patterns and rhythms of all kinds, from the beating of our hearts to the route we take to work. The sun comes up every morning; the moon shows its face according to its own slow, cyclical dance.

Artists in this show have not been constrained to create works to some rigidly enforced theme. The whole point is that we can have different viewpoints on art or on life, but come together and learn from another’s experiences and vision.

Focussing on the particular can help us consider larger themes more effectively. Robert Reid’s painting The Olive Tree is a complex and nuanced arrangement of movement.  A complement to this is his poem that draws our imagination to (of all the tortured places on Earth) Aleppo. He considers an olive tree and the golden liquid it produces.  We find ourselves momentarily there, in the heat, standing on a hillside. It’s a poignant moment spent with that ancient city and its bitter sorrows.

Pain and hope also combine in Diane Goodman’s work, Emancipation, Cascades Female Factory, an archival inkjet print. Goodman’s work explores the 19th century Cascades Female Factory in Tasmania – a convict institution notorious for the cruelty of its conditions. Says the artist: “I feel a sense of empathy and unity with the diverse group of women who lived, worked and died there… women grasped any available opportunity to grow and nurture friendships, tell stories, sing and dance…”

While some artists focus on the particular, Shining Rainbow looks to the universal. Her painting The Love and the Infinite Space is a decade-long voyage to uncover what is waiting to be seen. It’s autobiographical, aspirational, unfinished and at the same time perfectly sufficient unto itself. Just like us.

Many artists in this show have created works that arise from an intense connection to the land. They acknowledge its sacred and precious nature. I’ll leave the last word to artist and teacher Maria Valentina Temple:

…we find ourselves in Nature: only then, in full knowledge of who we are, can we share ourselves with others and be of benefit to society and earth…

Moira Kirkwood


[1] Mayo Clinic

[2] Albert Schweitzer’s Leadership for Life

[3] Oxford living dictionaries

[4] Harmony Day

[5] United Nations

International Women’s Day exhibition – ‘be bold for change’


It’s that time of year again…

It’s great to be exhibiting with this mighty group of women artists. The show is always varied and includes elders as well as up-and-comers. Men, non-women, and those who are undecided, all most welcome….


International Women’s Day


be bold for change


Project Contemporary Artspace, 255 Keira St Wollongong

Opening Event: Friday 3 March @ 6pm

with performance by Femme Fatales

Show open Feb 22 till Mar 12

Wed-Sun 10 till 4

Thread II

This week we headed down to the beautiful Red Point Gallery at Port Kembla to  install our upcoming show. It’s always a marathon…you have to have things millimetrically right.




Our works are pretty diverse but the contrast works to our advantage I think…come and see what you think.

Thread II

Julie Brockenshire | Anne-Marie Hayes | Moira Kirkwood | Gail Wistow

Red Point Gallery, 100 Wentworth Street Port Kembla

Opening Event 

Saturday 19 November  2-4pm. The artists will talk about their work.

Free entry, refreshments provided, all welcome. The gallery is accessible.

Show runs Nov 16 – 27, Wed-Sun 10-4pm

Every day this  month I’ve strapped on my pedometer and been stepping out to raise money for Cerebral Palsy Alliance.



I’ve been a little late promoting it, but I swear on a stack of holy books I’ve been walking every day!!

Our team is ‘Goal Diggers One’ – search for our team and click on my name to donate. Please spread the word to support those who may never get to walk those famous 10,000 steps..



Under your skin: IAVA at Bulli presents ‘Slivers of Difference’

 An exhibition of art by four members of the Illawarra Association for the Visual Arts (IAVA): Liz Jeneid, Deborah Redwood, Mary Wingrave and Judy Bourke.



For the month of July, the upstairs Gallery at Beach Art Bulli is hosting those who’ve been journeying a while and intend further exploration. All four artists hold in common a reverence for the nature of things, as well as a hard-won confidence in their practice. There’s no whiff of calcification here though: each artwork is a record of lively engagement.

Deborah Redwood’s sculptures and installations are now nationally recognised. Earlier this year she was a Finalist in Cottesloe’s Sculpture by the Sea and is a regular in Sculpture at Scenic World and other major exhibitions around the country. Dedicated to imposing a new order onto post-industrial materials, her works range from playful to sober, with ecological and social justice concerns a frequent theme.

Black death references the catastrophic Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. Modestly sized, it comprises a cylindrical section from a large drill spearing through the figure of a fish described in metal. Stressed wood is a wall-mounted piece of silky oak, bearing the wounds of cutting and sawing. The blades of sawing tools have been left in the cruel incisions and threaten the viewer’s space. Given a little more room to breathe, this piece could bring to mind a crucifixion image.

Other pieces in the show simply demonstrate her fascination with materials –the surface finish, size and shape. I prefer the pieces where rhythm is most prominent, for instance Nothing to say where a length of copper tubing creates a meandering line through the air, with each end terminating in a small flared bell. This is a visually satisfying and fun piece which might bring to mind the voices raised in the recent election hubbub.


Mary Wingrave’s works are incredibly alive. The artist cherishes all aspects of the natural environment, and her works reveal a deep desire to share and celebrate this with the viewer.

Autumn impressions comprises small-format monotype prints of firewheel blossoms (a favourite subject of Australian printmaker Margaret Preston’s) presented in a snug grid formation. The variety of surface treatment and the consideration given to colour and tonal rhythm is masterfully handled. Wingrave tells me she’s has been wary of colour for many years, but this exhibition demonstrates a colour sense that’s both sophisticated and restrained.

She’s included three larger still-lives in mixed media, full of the generous curves of pumpkins, bottles and leaves. There are also some encaustic works focussing on the form of the cicada. The surfaces are the colour of bees wax and reminiscent of both ancient scientific documentation and human flesh.


Judy Bourke’s art always strikes me as being the thing she does to survive: as natural and necessary as breathing. Consistently prolific, she works on bookmaking, textiles, printmaking, sculpture and drawing. I admire how after knowing her for 15 years, I still can’t always reliably pick her work.

For this show she’s included artist’s books of drawings of the NSW North Coast. Influenced by the style of the late Australian printmaker Bea Maddock, these are coastal descriptions using simplified forms in ink on paper, presented in a concertina format 5cm high and several metres long. These are beautifully observed and understated.

There are also small free-standing figures created from industrial packaging. The styrofoam shapes that originally protected electronic goods in transit have been carefully covered with hand-made Nepalese kenaf paper. The artist has worked this surface with multiple layers of coloured stamp imprints.

At first glance these figures may seem light-hearted, but there’s an underlying concern in Bourke’s practice with issues of waste. She’s keen to honour the natural resources utilized in industrial processes as well as the human labour that goes into each item, often invisible to the end-consumer. Considered in this light, the pieces, embellished with tiny parts gleaned from industrial discards and covered in the precious paper brought back from Nepal in the artist’s luggage, take on the aura of reliquaries.


Liz Jeneid travels widely and often. The pieces in this show are the fruits of a residency in the south of France at Peyriac-de-Mer, an area populated with lakes that for centuries produced salt as an economic mainstay for the village.

Despite the titles locating them geographically, Jeneid’s plein air works read as altogether out of time and place. The stronger of the two suites of work is a series of ten modestly sized square-format paintings on paper using watercolour and gesso.

The lakes are serene and still as a mirror, surrounded by warm-toned, simplified landforms and reflecting a quiet and empty sky. There is a delightful Japanese aesthetic at work here: the simplicity of the forms, the careful consideration of negative space and the delicacy of touch are classic Jeneid and go straight to something deep that we all too often overlook. Maybe it’s soul.

In a nod to straight description the gesso surface is scratched in places to indicate vegetation. The overall feeling though is that we are looking at somewhere that may well be the interior of Jeneid’s head more than some literal observation of place.

There’s a quiet confidence about this whole show. Go take a look and consider your time well spent.



Upstairs at Beach Art Gallery, 233 Princes Hwy, Bulli
Open: Tuesday – Friday 9.30am – 5pm & Sat 9.30am – 3pm
Contact: (02) 4285 4111

Opening Event Saturday 9 July @ 2pm.

Exhibition runs for the whole of July.