A new gallery exhibition
If you are observant when walking around central Camden, new vibrant posters are publicising a new exhibition at the Alan Baker Art Gallery Macaria in John Street Camden.
The posters are in all sorts of locations.
One of the most interesting is the back wall of the Oxley Street carpark.
The new exhibition is ‘Baker, The Artist, The Influencer’ and runs until September 2023.
The exhibition is the story of the Camden Art Group, which commenced sometime in 1972.
The art group started with local school teacher Ken Rorke. He was an art teacher at Camden Public School from 1961 to 1981.
As a keen artist, Ken asked artist Alan Baker to teach a Wednesday night class, which he refused, but he agreed to provide ‘advice and an expert hand’.
The experiences of the Wednesday night art group were quite varied and prompted some individuals to further their art careers.
The exhibition catalogue states:
Camden Art Group was comprised of a mix of people from all walks of life. There were local business people, high school students, teachers, mothers, fathers, forestry workers – anyone with an interest in art was welcomed and found a place for themselves among the friendly group.
The art group, usually consisting of an attendance of about 20 artists, fostered the creative talents of many people who have gone on to bigger and better things.
Alan Baker’s role was to be ‘an inspiring and charismatic force for the class’. (Ahmad, et al, 2018)
Rizwana found it interesting to compare her training in South Asian training with Alan Baker’s Realist technique and style. (Ahmad, et al, 2018)
Some were encouraged to extend their professional interest in art after being discouraged early in life. (Ahmad, et al, 2018)
There were other benefits from the art group included lifelong friendships, opportunities for professional development, the development of a collegiate artistic atmosphere, mentoring of local artistic talent, the creation of a thriving arts community that encouraged creativity, and several participants’ lives that were changed by art. (Ahmad, et al, 2018)
Baker, mentor, artist, and local identity encouraged the art group members to experiment and use a range of styles and materials, and their work is displayed alongside Baker’s art in the exhibition.
The exhibition catalogue states:
Sleek sculptures in stone and wood, commemorative busts, traditional oil paintings, drawings, and expressive watercolours hand side by side. These works showcase the impressive body of work created by the Camden Art Group in the years of the group meetings and, continuing beyond Baker’s death, into the present day.
The Camden art group’s ground-breaking influence and its collegiate atmosphere is still evident today.
Exhibitions of artwork by Baker and others create an atmosphere that fosters creativity and innovation. Art can catalyse economic activity, leading to new businesses and job opportunities.
Gallery 2023, Baker, The Artist, The Influencer. Alan Baker Art Gallery Macaria, Camden.
Ian Willis 2018, ‘Alan Baker, the artist’. Camden History, September, vol 4, no 6, pp242-247.
Rizwana Ahmad, Patricia Johnston, Olive McAleer, Shirley Rorke, Nola Tegel, and John Wrigley, 2018, ‘Alan Baker Art Classes’. Camden History, September, vol 4, no 6, 248-257.
Ian Willis, 2018, ‘Alan Baker Art Gallery opening, a brush of class’. Camden History Notes Blog, Camden, 5 March. Online at https://camdenhistorynotes.com/2018/03/05/alan-baker-art-gallery-macaria-opening/
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