For most people, winter equals hibernation. The wind swept oceans and cloudy days are beautiful to watch from the warm surrounds of a beachside café, but only a select few are mad enough to actually be out there running through the rain. However, it’s the perfect time of year to enjoy the many indoor pursuits that the Margaret River Region is known for.
The region is a haven for creative types and there are an incredible number of artists and artisans that call this corner of the world home. It’s not surprising. There’s oodles of inspiration from Mother Nature’s wonders, peace and quiet away from the hustle of city life, and of course, an abundance of award winning wine.
There’s plenty to choose from, but here are seven exhibitions to make a bee-line for this winter.
Above: Joe Webster’s “Afternoon to Morning”.
On Location, Margaret River
JahRoc Galleries is unmissable as you drive into Margaret River’s townsite. A splash of colour on the street side and an ever changing selection of art gleaming from the windows, it’s a top spot to visit year round. This winter however, there is even more reason to mark your google maps. On Location, part of this year’s Cabin Fever Festival, features the work of two established artists. Joe Webster is an award winning British International plein air artist and will be calling the gallery home throughout the month of July as artist in residence. Awarded a grant from the European Union to further his experience anywhere in the world, he quickly realised that Margaret River offer unbridled inspiration and was an unbeatable destination. Painting his landscapes from start to finish on location, Joe works using acrylics, graffiti tools and water based media that interact with the atmosphere and enhance his play between realism and abstract.
Joe is joined by local artist Stu McMillan, whose sculptures echo the natural elements of the South West and contemplate it’s seasonal shifts and patterns. After discovering the region on a surf trip twenty years ago, the raw beauty of the environment captured his imagination and shaped the development of his artwork. If you are lucky enough to be in town on the 20th July, be sure to meet both artists in person and celebrate at the opening event. ‘Nature’s Wonderland Soiree’ kicks off at 6pm and you’ll be treated to an exciting unveiling of the exhibition alongside live music, mulled wine and fellow art aficionados.
Above: Art gallery at Vasse Felix housing the Holmes à Court Collection.
You may be familiar with Vasse Felix thanks to their quaffable wine, their reputation as the founding Margaret River Wine Estate and their famed restaurant; but did you know they also have play host to the Holmes à Court Collection? With more than 4000 pieces of art, the internationally recognised collection has some of Australia’s most culturally significant works. The Vasse Felix Art Gallery holds regularly changing exhibitions, featuring carefully curated pieces from the collection. This winter Concrete EXPANDED is an exhibition consisting of works that explore the effects of colour, design, pattern and shape through works of geometric abstraction. As the title suggests, the genre of Concrete Art plays a starring role, along with Minimalism in the new millennium.
Think large-scale, hard edged, minimal, abstract and pure colour paintings which are joined by three-dimensional wall-works, actual concrete sculpture, light sculptures and ephemeral light works. It’s a collective of works that coalesce and converse in philosophical questions of form, aesthetic experience and existence.
Above: Julie Dowling Cousin Peter, 2017. Image courtesy of City of Greater Geraldton.
ArtGeo Cultural Complex
If you haven’t yet visited the ArtGeo Cultural Complex in Busselton, then it’s time to remedy that. Stat. Situated in the cultural complex, the gallery plays host to an ever changing exhibition schedule, and the courthouse is one of the oldest buildings in Busselton. A visit to the cultural complex and you’ll get an engaging combo of history and art. This winter renowned Western Australian artist Julie Dowling will have a collection of her works on display thanks to Art on the Move, a touring exhibition entitled Yagu Gurlbarl (Big Secret). Centring on the on the theme of slavery of First Nations Peoples in Australia, both in past centuries and in current Australian society, on display until the 28th August and with free entry there is no excuse to miss out.
Feeling inspired? Stay in town a little longer and take part in one of the many workshops held at the cultural complex. Vicki Nicholson will be guiding aspiring artists to create their own pieces with the help of a glass of prosecco on the 6th July, followed by a gold leaf workshop the following day. Prefer something more functional? The 8th and 21st July see Lorraine Baily teaching the craft of macramé with wall hangings and plant holders.
Above: Artwork by Jason Woodridge, “Cetacean #3”, on display at Margaret River Gallery for “Lands Edge” in July.
Tucked behind Margaret River’s main street up on Charles West avenue, you’ll find an Aladdin’s cave of artistic treasures at the Margaret River Gallery. Be sure to put aside a leisurely afternoon to browse through the eclectic collection at this colourful and texturally rich space filled with paintings, sculpture, jewellery, ceramics and more. This July Lands Edge is an exhibition featuring the best of local talent and artists throughout the South West. Uniting each and every work is a common thread: a life bound by living on the ocean’s edge. In this exhibition, the artists offer up works moved by their interactions with the ocean and from living on the shores of Western Australia. Whether camping, fishing, swimming, surfing beach-combing or purely observing, each artist has a deep connection with their chosen medium and their subject. From semi-abstract landscapes through to ceramics, stoneware, metalwork and glass – you’ll find the ocean’s pull rippling throughout each piece.
Above: Artwork by Evans & Tate resident artist Carmen Griffen, “Floats”, on display at the winery’s gallery in July.
Evans & Tate
The Evans & Tate Cellar Door is also home to the Evans & Tate Studio, working studio and gallery of four Margaret River artists – ceramicist Jolene Hewison, pyrographer Bobbie McCain, mixed media artist Chloe Wilder and painter Carmen Griffen. The majority of art that is created in their space is also on display within it – the studio and gallery are extensions of the cellar door, so visitors are welcome seven days a week and free to appreciate artistic works from the couches with a glass of wine. If you choose the right days you may even get to bump into one of the artists dogs! July 20th will also see the studio host a one-off Gallery Exhibition and Art Market, where original drawings, ceramics, prints, and jewellery made by the studio’s resident artists will be for sale.
Artists In Residence at Aravina Estate
There’s something for everyone at Aravina Estate. Whether you are drawn to visit the estate thanks to the fabulous food from Head Chef Ben Day, the undulating gardens, the delicious wine, the dreamy car collection or the WA Surf Museum; there’s one more reason this winter. Aravina’s owner, Hayley Munro-Tobin, has opened the doors of the space below the terrace restaurant to local artists to try something different, displaying their work on site and reaching new audiences. The estate welcomes over 65,000 people each year, so chances are there will be a few new art lovers after an unexpected brush with creativity over the coming months. Heidi Emma and Ange Brewster are the two current artists in residence. Ange’s work will capture animal and ocean fans with her bright colours and bold brush strokes, while Heidi’s still life and landscapes will sit nicely on the wall back at home to remind you of your trip down south. Want more? They’ve also a number of art workshops scheduled, so you can add some creative pizazz to a canvas of your own while sipping that glass of cabernet.
A multigenerational potters studio, Grandfather Erl Happ is a pioneer of pottery in the Margaret River region, and Myles and Finn are continuing the family legacy with works from each generation also exhibited at the Dunsborough-based Happs Pottery studio. Over the coming months, Finn Happ will be adding to their usual artistic offering with ‘ You, Me, Us : An #Instabition of Millennial Essentials’, an exploration of ideas of consumerism and how creative and functional kitchenware enriches the loves of young adults of the millennial generation. Following the exhibition will be the launch of the ‘Millennial Essentials Pottery Experience’, in which you become the make – taking home with you not only your finished ceramics but a ‘gram-worthy’ curation of photos to share in your own ‘#instabition’.
Need somewhere to stay? Book with one of our local experts now.
JahRoc GalleriesMonday - Sunday: 10:00am until 5:00pmGreat For: Rainy Day
83 Bussell Highway MARGARET RIVER
Vasse FelixMonday - Sunday: 10:00am until 5:00pmGreat For: Child Friendly,Disabled Access,Fireplace,Vegan Wines
Caves Road (Cnr Tom Cullity Drive) Cowaramup, Margaret River, Western Australia 6284
ArtGeo Cultural ComplexMonday - Sunday: 10:00am until 4:00pmGreat For: Child Friendly,Free,Rainy Day
4 - 7 Queen Street, Busselton.
(Corner of Queen St and Marine Tce)
Margaret River GalleryMonday - Tuesday: 10:00am until 5:00pm
Thursday - Saturday: 10:00am until 5:00pm
Sunday: 10:00am until 3:00pm
Shop 4, 1 Charles West Avenue, Margaret River WA 6285
Aravina EstateMonday - Sunday: 10:00am until 5:00pmGreat For: Child Friendly,Disabled Access,Outdoor Playground
61 Thornton Rd, Yallingup WA 6282, Australia
Happs PotteryWe have relocated to a new showroom on Caves Road | Open Daily 10am-5pm Closed Christmas and Boxing days and Good Friday.
749 Caves Road, Anniebrook WA 6280, Australia
Happs WineryMonday - Sunday: 10:00am until 5:00pmGreat For: Child Friendly,Dog Friendly,Indoor Play Area,Outdoor Playground
575 Commonage Road, DUNSBOROUGH WA, Australia
Evans & TateMonday - Sunday: 10:30am until 5:00pmGreat For: Child Friendly,Dog Friendly,Fireplace,Picnic Spot,Rainy Day,Sunny Day
Corner of Caves Road and Metricup Road, WILYABRUP