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Zanny Begg: The Beehive (production photo) 2018. Image courtesy of the artist and Enigma Machine. Photography: Hugh Hamilton

Two exciting new solo exhibitions will open at the Shoalhaven Regional Gallery on Saturday April 2, showcasing the works of two highly respected artists, both masters of storytelling – one in painting and the other in film.

Graham Blondel’s abstract works have a diverse universal narrative derived from his domestic life, his extensive travels, his street art, his interest in all cultures – especially tribal – and his love of the history of art.

There are elements of Pop art and graphic street art in his works.

MindScapes is a retrospective exhibition of works from Blondel’s final year at the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts from 1971 to the present day.

The title refers to the perceptual and psychological projections that his work as a professional artist has achieved for more than 50 years.

The pieces are bound together by an evident love of heightened vibrant color and dense patterns, whether in totally non-objective works or through graphic abstractions with symbolic and recognizable patterns.

Graham grew up in Nowra, and the gallery and the artist are delighted to share a wide selection of his works with the community.

“Being offered a survey exhibition at the Shoalhaven Regional Gallery is an exciting opportunity for me,” Blondel said.

Graham Blondel, Contagion Head George, 2021, mixed media on paper, 32 x 24cm.

“Having left Nowra at 17 to study at the National Art School and Alexander Mackie Teachers College in Sydney, my life trajectory has been one of lifelong artistic creation, art education, curatorial of exhibitions, the direction of galleries and many trips to discover the world of art in all its forms.What a privilege.

Zanny Begg’s practice incorporates film, drawing and installation and is interested in exploring contested histories.

These stories will be differentyou, a traveling exhibition UNSW Galleries and Museums & Galleries of NSW, brings together three of the artist’s most important video installations.

Graham Blondel, The Empress (at Court), 1986/2017, acrylic and paper on canvas, 173 x 101cm.

Together, these works reimagine a medieval feminist utopia, investigate the unsolved murder of Juanita Nielsen, a high-profile anti-gentrification activist, and explore the connections between love, loss and language in diasporic communities in Australia.

Videos tell stories, but they also challenge the politics of storytelling itself. Drawing on ancient literary traditions, non-linear timelines, and computer-generated randomization, Zanny Begg invites you to see the world differently.

“All of my work has been about ways of living and inhabiting the world…how we can live differently in the world,” Begg said.

“I don’t know if art alone can create a different world, but it can help us see how a world might come into being and the ways we can contribute to that process.”

Don’t miss your chance to see these two high-calibre exhibitions at the gallery before they close on Saturday, May 28.

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