Penrith Regional Gallery to Reopen from 28 June with Dream Realised: Our Community Victory
Celebrating the 40-year anniversary of Penrith Regional Gallery’s beginnings Dream Realised will run until 1 November. The centrepiece of the suite, showcased in the Main Gallery, is the first solo regional gallery exhibition of acclaimed artist and founding President of the Friends of Penrith Regional Gallery, Warwick Fuller. Titled Chasing the Light, this exhibition is filled with Fuller’s captivating landscapes, created using an outdoor painting (plein air) technique, many capturing the Blue Mountains as well as the myriad other colours and textures of our evocative Australian landscape.
The heritage modernist Ancher House will house Art Lives Here celebrating the creative partnership of Margo and Gerald Lewers; while – from 25 July - Lewers House is host to Circle of Friends, showcasing acquisitions funded and supported by the Friends of Penrith Regional Gallery (established in 1979).
The reopening follows the recent announcement from the government allowing galleries to begin operation under the implementation of COVID-19 safety measures and restrictions.
The exhibition will be open across three ticketed sessions per day, 10-11.30am, 12-1.30pm and 2-3.30pm, with time for cleaning in between each session.
Visitors are encouraged to book online or by phone on 47351100 to attend a session but can also book at the door. Bookings will be open soon.
Gerald and Margo Lewers were leading artists in the development of modernism in Australian art, and pivotal figures in the Sydney creative scene. Both were keenly interested in the evolution of new and unique thought, artistic practice, debate and visual arts education. It was Margo’s wish that upon her death (1978) her home at Emu Plains would become an art centre where travelling exhibitions could be held, and artists could meet to exchange ideas.
In 1980 the community’s dream was realised in the decision to establish a regional gallery at Emu Plains thanks to the generous Lewers Bequest and NSW Government funding. The Lewers’ creative spirit lives on through the Gallery programs offering exhibitions, gardens, architectural heritage, education and an art collection within the unique property that was Margo and Gerald’s home.
The Gallery will be following COVID-safe procedures including the implementation of additional cleaning, hand sanitiser stations, and physical distancing measures. Visitor numbers will be capped to no more than 50 people across all Gallery spaces per session. Visitors are asked not to attend the Gallery if they are experiencing any cold and flu symptoms, if anyone in their household is awaiting COVID-19 test results or has returned from overseas in the past 14 days. Fold out seating for visitors unable to stand comfortably will be available from reception, and an additional reception desk will be situated in the Main Gallery.
Café at Lewers is also open, adhering to NSW Health Guidelines for restaurants and cafes, allowing up to 50 customers, with up to 10 people at a table. Café bookings are available by calling 4735 4265.
Art Lives Here | Ancher House
Penrith Regional Gallery, Home of the Lewers Bequest was the private home of two artists – sculptor Gerald Lewers and his wife, painter Margo Lewers - and their daughters Darani Lewers and Tanya Crothers (nee Lewers). This property and a collection of artworks, furniture, and ephemera was gifted by the daughters to Penrith City Council in 1980 and has been operating as a public gallery since 1981. The exhibition Art Lives Here presented in Ancher House presents work from the Collection which speaks to the creative partnership that was developed between Margo and Gerald Lewers throughout their lives and by extension the influence they imparted on frequent artist visitors including Frank Hinder and Sonia Farley, Gerald’s niece.
Circle of Friends | Lewers House (from 25 July)
Celebrating the contribution of the Friends of Penrith Regional Gallery, Home of the Lewers Bequest the exhibition Circle of Friends showcases many of the works purchased with assistance of The Friends. Artists presented in the exhibition are also amongst those who are known to have visited Margo and Gerald at the Lewers’ property including Lyndon Dadswell, Elwyn Lynn, Henry Salkauskas, Bim Hilder, Stanislaus Rapotec and Robert Klippel.
Warwick Fuller - Chasing the Light | Main Gallery
Kanimbla NSW artist Warwick Fuller was the founding President of the Friends of Penrith Regional Gallery, Home of the Lewers Bequest. Fuller’s highly successful career as an artist commenced in 1978 at the same time as he headed up the Friends group of community members campaigning for the Penrith City Council to accept the Lewers gift and establish a regional gallery in Western Sydney. Fuller has been Prince Charles’ official Australian tour artist three times and a number of his works are in the private collection of Their Royal Highnesses, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. Chasing the Light is Fuller’s first solo exhibition in a public gallery though he does exhibit regularly with his gallerist Geoff White at Lost Bear, Katoomba. Fuller’s painting focuses on capturing the light in Australian landscape, leading him to travel Australia extensively. Largescale works by Fuller can be seen in hotels around Australia including a vast panoramic landscape at the Emirates exclusive One&Only Wolgan Valley.
Peter Anderson AM, Chair Penrith Performing and Visual Arts commented: It has been my absolute pleasure to have been involved with the Gallery since before its inception, during the ‘fight’ for a regional gallery for the people of Western Sydney. It was a victory for cultural access and equity, and we are delighted to be celebrating its 40-year milestone. The Gallery is a centre of vigorous intellectual discourse and creativity and provides cultural access for the people of Greater Western Sydney. We are proud to continue the legacy of the Lewers family, offering a unique and important centre for artistic activity for the region and for the wider community.”
Sheona White, Director Penrith Regional Gallery, said:
“It is so rewarding to see how the local community holds the Gallery in warm regard, and many have cherished childhood memories from early visits. Those journeying from further afield in Greater Western Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Sydney city and beyond, know to expect a rich cultural encounter and art experience. At this 40-year milestone, we’re excited to celebrate this marvellous local asset continuing as a hub of art and ideas, stories and community.”
Exhibition Catalogue and details: www.penrithregionalgallery.com.au
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