Artists welcome back visitors at Dandenongs Open Studios

Visitors enjoyed a taste of things to come at the Dandenong Ranges Open Studios launch exhibition at
Burrinja. Photo by Cathy Ronalds.

Artists from Upwey to Kalorama opened their doors to visitors for a weekend of creativity this May with the return of the Dandenong Ranges Open Studios program.

The highly anticipated weekend was bigger than ever and warmly welcomed by artists and visitors alike following the cancellation of the 2020 event due to Covid-19.

This year’s Open Studios event was launched with a group exhibition at Burrinja under the theme of Wabi Sabi: The Beauty of Imperfection. Wabi Sabi is a Japanese philosophy which encourages people to focus on the blessings hiding in their daily lives and celebrate the way things are, rather than how they think they should be.

Each artist involved in Open Studios displayed a work at the exhibition, giving visitors a taste of things to come. The exhibition was followed by a weekend of viewings, workshops, demonstrations and events on 8 and 9 May. Visitors were invited to enter the private creative spaces of more than 50 artists, to meet them and experience their processes, as well as see and purchase their artwork.

Artists included long time favourites like Tracey Roberts from The Patch, who combined music with visual art at her geodesic dome in the forest and Jacqui Christians from Upwey, with her vibrant paintings of local plants, birds and landscapes.

In their tenth Open Studios event, Michael and Martin from Juet Sculpture showed off their sculptures in a beautiful garden setting at Upwey, while just down the road, Alex Moncrieff opened his studio to visitors for the first time.

Alex creates mixed media paintings and assemblages, at times incorporating found materials. He received the inaugural Visual Arts Innovation award, presented by Larry Parkinson from Swinburne University of Technology, Wantirna, at the exhibition launch. Larry described Alex’s work as open to interpretation, curious and multi-layered.

Larry congratulated all artists on producing such inspiring work and exploring the Wabi Sabi theme.

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