Culture fix: our top 4 exhibitions to see this summer


"The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions."― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Get your culture fix this summer with our top exhibition picks.

Dombrovskis: Journeys into the Wild

Imagine being so moved by nature that you felt compelled to spend your life capturing its beauty on film. That’s exactly what Peter Dombrovskis did. As one of the world’s foremost wilderness photographers, he went out into Tasmania’s wild places and recorded images of them that are so magical, it takes your breath away. His most famous image is of Rock Island Bend in Tasmania, which was used in the campaign to stop the damming of the Franklin River in 1983.

The National Library holds the entire collection of over 3,000 Dombrovskis transparencies, donated by Peter’s widow Liz Dombrovskis, and has displayed 70 of the best for this exhibition. Stunning, moving and captivating.

Free exhibition, on show at the National Library of Australia until 30 January 2018.

More info: nla.gov.au/dombrovskis

Image: Peter Dombrovskis, Morning mist, Rock Island Bend, Franklin River, Tasmania, late 1980 or early 1981

Hyper Real

Mildly disturbing, yet incredibly moving, this exhibition addresses the question of what it means to be human. Truly lifelike sculpture and virtual reality combine to create a sense of unease, yet familiarity. Many of the works use painted silicone that mimics human flesh so closely it’s quite unnerving, as well as human hair and glass eyes.

Patricia Piccinini’s creatures are humanlike, but not human. Ron Mueck’s giant people are wildly discomforting. Sam Jinks’ figures capture moments of intense human vulnerability.

Incredibly thought provoking, this exhibition is worth seeing if only to appreciate the incredible skill and dedication that goes into making such lifelike art.

On show at the National Gallery of Australia until 18 February 2018, $25, $22.50 concession (free for under 16s).

More info: nga.gov.au/hyperreal

Image: Ron Mueck, Pregnant woman, 2002

Starstruck: Australian Movie Portraits

One for the Aussie film buffs! Sam Neill. Nicole Kidman. Heath Ledger. Toni Collette. Mel Gibson. Rachel Griffiths. There are plenty of knowns in this show, but plenty of unknowns, too.

Fabulous for fans of portraiture and film alike, this exhibition features not only portraits, but also rare film posters, scrapbooks and original film costumes (including from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the DesertI! What a treat!)

On show until 4 March 2018, $12 for adults, $10 concession (free for under 18s)

More info: starstruck.gov.au

Image: Abbie Cornish as Candy and Heath Ledger as Dan on the Gravitron, Candy 2006

Jess Cochrane: After My Own Heart

What is beauty, anyway? This truly gorgeous exhibition of paintings by local artist Jess Cochrane is as thought-provoking as it is visually stunning. Her work focuses largely on the disconnect between beauty and feminine standards in popular culture, and what she sees as the real and honest beauty of women.

Her works combine photography and paint to create what could be described as a reworking of the unattainable “perfection” found in much fashion and beauty photography.

Free exhibition on show until 31 January at QT Hotel Canberra.

More info: www.qthotelsandresorts.com/canberra/qt-blog/artist-jess-cochrane-canberra

Image via @jesscochranepaints_ on Insta

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BOOKPLATE is located at the National Library of Australia, Canberra ACT, Australia