Trailing Reflections: Bellarine Arts Trail, New Hall

What a weekend. 

New Hall opened its doors to a diverse body of work presented by Lighthouse Arts Collective, to a community generous in their presence and engagement. For the Collective, this was the first time we had come together to share our work, in our new home.

Until this weekend, we had been working together to present work by individual members of the Collective, or artists we greatly admire – but this was the first time we were able to share our work, side by side, as a Collective. 

Each of us are embedded in diverse practices, working predominantly as independent artists, yet our works spoke to, and complimented, each other in ways surprising and fulfilling, adding intricate and interconnected layers to the concepts at play. 

One uniting feature was the way the sites, themes and colours of the place we call home came into the work in obvious and more subtle, nuanced ways. While place played a role in the work so too did the space. 

New Hall continues to transform, hosting diverse artistic experiences. A cinema one week, a live music venue the next and over the weekend sharing its glory in the light of day as an exhibition space, a space that keeps on giving. 

To the work held within New Hall: on entering the space, audiences were met with sound artist Ben Talbot-Dunn’s sonic installation, seamlessly transporting the viewer from the outside world and into the world of the exhibition. I enjoyed watching many linger here before being carried into the hall to meet the rest of the work. Talbot-Dunn created a moving atmosphere that gently enabled the viewer to move into a contemplative space with nuanced and layered sound. 

Once inside the hall viewers met the paintings and sculptural works of Suzie Wyllie. Wyllie moves effortlessly between forms to bring attention to fine details and the repetition of symbols featured in both paint and clay, calling to each other across the space. Wyllie interrogates themes of time, movement and mapping within motherhood in contrasting textures and concepts, delicate and weighted. There is literal and metaphorical room for interpretation within the work, seen within individual pieces and the body of work as a whole. Wyllie’s work will continue to interrogate these themes working towards a larger exhibition in collaboration with my own work early next year at New Hall. 

My work similarly (and dissimilarly) explored themes within early motherhood, grief and death. Working within literal and conceptual forms which are very new for me, the work explored impermanence, grief and resilience, placing process at the forefront of the work. 

Again, inside the main space, sound enabled the viewer to linger with the work and concepts at play. Nick Huggins played live within the space creating a dynamic that was both stirring and poignant. Drawing from the same body of work ‘No Wind Behind the Hill’ the sound and paintings spoke to one another in a language unique to the artist. Many people spent a significant amount of time here, floating upon the sound to other work in the space. The palette and depth of Huggins’ paintings ask you to look and look again, sharing something new in each viewing. 

And there you all were, looking and looking again. We were so moved by the generosity and presence of the community who engaged with our work across the weekend. How wonderful to witness an audience open and attentive, generous in both their presence and feedback. 

To those who lingered and visited again, who asked questions and shared their response to the work with words, stillness, tears, smiles and eyes exchanging experiences unspoken but felt – we thank you. For it is you, the audience who is the final and crucial ingredient in bringing our work to life. 

What a joy to open the doors of New Hall to share our work and have the community receive it in this way. Bravo Point Lonsdale and the Bellarine Peninsula, we look forward to sharing with you again very soon.