When Diokno Pasilan set about coordinating an exhibition from a dozen Ballarat artists, he decided to give them a broad scope and not actually set a theme.
The resulting artworks have linked together to create their own identity – and the exhibition Mixed Blessings was born.
Mr Pasilan asked six painters and six photographers, who have known each other for some time and come together to exhibit in other venues including Backspace Gallery and Ballarista coffee shop, to create large-scale artworks of their choosing.
“Most of the paintings are around 2m x 2m and some of the photos are around 1m x 70cm or a series of photographs,” he said.
Only Mr Diokno knew what each artist was doing, receiving updates of the pieces as they came to life.
“There are small delicate prints, wonderful landscape photographs, some tough cartoonish images, spiky and colourful, straight off the street. Some are nearly the size of street hoardings, some no bigger than a typed letter, but they will all repay careful attention,” said curator David Bromfield.
Mr Pasilan’s own artwork Paradise Island is a colourful, energetic work of abstract forms moving beneath silhouettes of small boats.
“This memory of the artist’s home is a fine invitation to a voyage of the imagination,” Mr Bromfield wrote about Paradise Island.
PJ Gregg’s drying tomatoes on panels is equally striking and large, while Scott Fredericks Portrait of a Boy injects some humour with grey eyes trapped between two bent car registration plates pays gentle homage to Ned Kelly.
Other artists taking part include photographers Pippa Tandy, Neil Newitt, Jeff Moorfoot and Aldona Kmiec and painters Casey Mcintosh, Andrew Dudley, Deb Johnston, Jimi Gregg and street artist Stuart Walsh.
While the artists have shown together before, it’s the first time most of them have exhibited at Mixed Blessings exhibition space at Ballarat’s Mercure Hotel.
The Mercure opened a new art space in October last year to promote local art and artists.
“I came to see this place because one of the artists in this exhibition had paintings here. It’s a big space and after talking to the manager he said it was open and free for artists to show so I decided to organise an exhibition which has become Mixed Blessings,” Mr Pasilan said.
“It’s a wonderful space because in Ballarat we don’t really have a gallery dealing just with the artists to post their work. We have Backspace, but it’s a council thing, but as artists we have to create our initiatives to get our work there to the audience.”
Mixed Blessings is on show at the Mercure Hotel from June 7 to July 8.