Romancing the Skull opening night at the Art Gallery of Ballarat.

The hotly anticipated Romancing the Skull exhibition officially opened at the Art Gallery of Ballarat on Friday, October 13 to a packed house of artists and art lovers. 

CRÁNEO: Clare Blake and Duncan Lannan draw inspiration from the day of the dead at the opening night of the Romancing the Skull exhibition. Picture: Lachlan Bence.

CRÁNEO: Clare Blake and Duncan Lannan draw inspiration from the day of the dead at the opening night of the Romancing the Skull exhibition. Picture: Lachlan Bence.

The exhibition is the work of curator Julie McLaren and gallery director Gordon Morrison, who first imagined the concept a decade ago. 

“Thank goodness for Julie for taking up the concept, she has managed to bring together the most amazing group of contemporary artists,” Mr Morrison said. 

As well as recent works from Australian artists, the exhibition showcases works that are centuries old with the skull as the prevailing motif. 

“This the most remarkable exhibition this gallery has ever presented,” he said. 

“In my opinion it is a landmark exhibition of contemporary Australian art because of how it manages to place so many artists working in Australia today in a context that goes right back into deep roots in Europe and Central America.”

Ms McLaren said it was surreal to have the exhibition officially kicking off after years of hard work and thanked the team at the gallery for bringing it together. 

“There has been lots of pressure but also lots of support from a great team in the staff here at the gallery, the volunteers, and people from other organisations in Ballarat that have been really supportive,” she said. 

The exhibition will open to the public on Saturday, October 14 though until January 28 and Ms McLaren said she hopes families will take advantage of the school holidays to see the exhibition. 

“It is a family friendly exhibition, it’s not all dark and morbid, there are some really fun images,” she said.

“I have to thank our designer Ben Cox and Gordon Morrison, who will be retiring next year,”

“It’s great he placed so much faith in me and I couldn’t do this without his support.”