Neal’s album steps up

ALBANY-raised musician Mark Neal is returning south for a belated celebration of the launch of his ironically named album, Debut.

Recorded and performed by Neal’s six-piece indie-rock band Odlaw, the album is heavily inspired by the musician’s time spent in the Great Southern.

“I was originally an Albany boy. I went to St Joseph’s and grew up in Denmark and Albany and love the area,” he said.

“I still have lots of friends and connections down there.”

Neal said Odlaw is currently his songwriting outlet, using it as a creative tool to explore his unique style of music.

“Odlaw started around five years ago when me and a friend were writ- ing songs together and eventually put a band together and started going through the motions of playing shows and stuff like that, but it’s evolved and changed so many times over the years,” he said.

“I recorded Debut after Odlaw almost failed and had broken up, but we put out the album during Covid when I had forced time off without a lot of expectations or thinking many people would really listen to it or care that much.

“But I got such great responses from people that I put a band together and started playing it.”

Neal said that locals would be able to recognise some of the locations that inspired certain tracks.

“There’s a song on it about the White Star Hotel which is where I used to hang out at a lot, and it’s got Kris Nelson singing on it as well because we’ve played music together for a long time and he’s an Albany-based musician,” he said.

The gig, which will be hosted at Six Degrees on Friday, December 11, will act as a late celebration of the launch of the album.

“We never really launched it properly during Covid, so now that we’ve got a proper band and are playing shows, I wanted to bring them all to Albany and play the whole album in full and celebrate it coming out,” Neal said.

“We haven’t played the album in full before, and there are so many weird tracks that I don’t even know how we’re going to do live.”

Tickets are available through odlawmusic. com

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Earthworks company slapped with big fine for serious workplace injury

A MOUNT Barker earthworks business has been penalised $33,000 in Albany Magistrates Court for failing to provide a safe work environment after an employee’s legs were crushed by a 3000kg front-end loader in 2017.

Screenwest, which owns earthworks company Healy N J & Sons, was conducting excavation work at a site in the south Stirling Ranges when events turned horribly wrong.

A long-serving Screenwest employee, David Siwiecki, was carrying out laser levelling inside an excavation pit when a reversing front-end loader knocked him to the ground and rode up onto his legs.

Mr Siwiecki suffered an open fracture to his right tibia and a closed fracture to his left femur.

He was transported to Albany Health Campus and eventually flown to Perth for surgery.

One of Screenwest’s directors, Quentin Healy, was driving the loader that crushed Mr Siwiecki’s legs.

State Prosecutor Nick John told the court Mr Healy could have simply used a spotter to avoid the incident.

Mr Healy admitted to Worksafe inspectors the loader’s reversing camera was too blurry for him to see whether Mr Siwiecki was in the way of the machinery.

Mr John labelled Mr Healy’s actions “seriously negligent.”

“It’s a type of accident that happens too often,” he said.

For his part in the accident, Mr Healy was fined $11,000 and order to pay costs of $1500.

Screenwest was facing a maximum fine of $400,000, while Mr Healy could have been penalised up to $200,000.

Under legislation, those penalties have dramatically increased since the 2017 incident.

Screenwest has no affiliation with the film company of the same name.

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Body of art now on show

THE bare human body is both the subject and art form of Blush Retail Gallery’s latest exhibition.

Featuring the works of Great Southern artists Marjan Bakhtiarikish, Ria Di Cola, Angie Fryer-Smith, Patrick Mettam, Jen Mitchell and Sara Riches, and Perth artist Ryan Ahern, Embody is on display now until November 28.

The compilation of work includes charcoal drawings, classical and contemporary oil paintings, and graphic artwork.

Mettam said he wanted to convey both the male and female forms using primarily lines with minimal to no rendering.

“I established a clear and bold silhouette, with a flat internal tone to give a strong separation from the white background,” he said.

“I chose the poses based on each bringing a different movement and action to the others, as I appreciate the diverse range of motion of both the male and female figure, whether it be to convey strength or elegance.”

Riches selected ink and oil for her artwork.

“My collection is reflecting on the human spirit, how healing comes from within ourselves,” she said.

“Finding the way to heal when you feel broken; your light within.”

Mitchell’s expressive figure drawing celebrates the lines and dynamism of the human form.

Ahern’s work is primarily figurative and is marked by a dark, nostalgic and a subdued realism, reminiscent of 20th century expressionism.

Bakhtiarikish has attempted to create a poetic image of the beauty of human form using the classical, layered oil painting technique and the ‘alla prima’ method.

Di Cola has enjoyed playing with oils on canvas and board, wrapping the female form in rich colours.

Fryer-Smith’s large graphic paintings of classical sculpture aim to show how romantic and timeless the human form is.

Blush Retail Gallery is located on York Street.

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Bunnings mural ‘extraordinary’

FIVE Indigenous artists recently joined forces to decorate two water tanks at the new Bunnings Albany site.

The 64-panel work was inspired by the region’s diverse sea life and Indigenous connection to country.

It was created thanks to the talents of Lyn Knapp, Michael Cummings, Tameka Cummings, Kathleen Toomath and Margaret Miller.

Commissioning artwork agent Dale Tilbrook said the artwork took on a life of its own after the initial concept was developed.

“Our original concept for the installation was for it to resemble a book of stamps, so that each section would be placed between the structure’s rivets,” she said.

“I did a lot of research on the wealth

of sea life in the local waters, and when the artists took inspiration from this, the artworks produced were quite extraordinary.”

The artwork incorporates a variety of sea animals, from humpback whales to blue-ringed octopus’, printed on vinyl panels sized 2200 x 1100mm.

The original artworks were painted to this size and printed by Indigenous company Sista Girl.

Bunnings Regional Operations Manager Hayley Coulson said she was excited to have the artwork ready for the new store’s opening.

“We’re really proud to have such incredible artwork from the local Minang artists as part of the new Bunnings Warehouse in Albany,” she said.

“The new store is on track to open by the end of 2020 and we can’t wait to welcome customers through the doors.”

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Artists exhibit cast of crafts

THE final instalment of a three-year artistic project inspired by the Albany Heritage Park will wind up at the end of next week.

Cast encompasses the work of John Carberry, Annette Davis, Theo, Terri Pikora and Nat Rad and explores the broad meaning of ‘cast’, including “a turning of the eye”, “an impression taken from an object” and “a wide sweep”.

The environment of Albany Heritage Park, particularly Princess Royal Fortress, inspired these artists, who each set out to document spaces, places and concepts through their respective crafts.

The group has worked to cast shadows and light from the environment, cast characters from history and cast back to old memories of the site.

Their works are exhibited through video, audio soundscape, textiles and paintings.

Cast follows the 2018 exhibition Crypsis and 2019 exhibition Campaign.

Cast will be open to the public 9am to 4pm for free Tuesday to Sunday until October 30 in the Married Quarters West Wing gallery, located along the Convoy Walk at Albany Heritage Park.

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VAC’s 40 years on show

FOUR decades of art and craft were celebrated last weekend with the launch of the Vancouver Art Centre (VAC) 40th Exhibition.

Saturday saw people trickling in all day to explore the centre’s history, learn about its origins and see samples of visiting artists’ works.

The exhibition is comprised of both artwork and historical record and is open to the public until November 12.

Exhibition curator Annette Davis said VAC was a place of inspiration, vision, hard work and creative passion.

“The VAC is such an important part of Albany’s cultural life and the challenge with an exhibition like this it to try and adequately represent its rich history,” she said.

“So many events and activities have happened here over the past 40 years that it is impossible to include or mention everything.

“I hope that when people come to the exhibition, they learn about, or are reminded of, the significant projects that have happened here.”

The exhibition is open weekdays from 10am to 4pm until November 12.

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Swing band covers all the classics

FOR a night of fine wine, dining and dancing, join The Rainbow Coast Big Band as they perform classic swing era band music at the Stirling Club on October 30.

The 18-piece band, along with three vocalists and the Bluebirds vocal group, also cover timeless masterpieces from artists such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis and Dean Martin along with contemporary musicians such as Michael Buble and Diana Krall.

Pianist Adrian Kenyon said he had been considering what to do as lockdown restrictions eased and met with new Stirling Club President Peter Macdonald.

“We hope people support this and if it is successful, we hope it will become a regular monthly event,” he said.

The band has performed a number of acts in Albany and Denmark and its most recent performance was the closing concert for the Harbourside Festival at the entertainment centre.

Kenyon himself has a chequered career, previously musical director for Zimbabwe’s leading theatre company.

He also composed jingles for radio, TV and film productions along with producing pop records.

Moving to Perth, he wrote newspaper jazz columns and was WA’s first jazz coordinator, later forming the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Kenyon also launched the magazine Music Maker, which was later rebadged as Arts West.

The former journalist became a repetiteur for ballet classes at the WA Academy of Performing Arts.

The event kicks off at 7pm with tickets $20, $15 concession, $50 for families or pay at the door, with Stirling Club members admitted free. For bookings call Sally Bishop on 0415 181 330.

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Play promises progressive hilarity

PLANTAGENET Players have emerged from lockdown with a brand-new play full of laughs, cheek and a bit of sass.

Freaks, Geeks and Comedy Treats is the creation of mother-daughter duo Kristy and Grace Russell and veteran Jeff Drage, who collectively spent three months crafting an original play full of skits enjoyable for the whole family.

Kristy Russell said the trio wanted to both attract new audiences and please loyal supporters.

“It’s a bit different to what we usually do,” she said.

“It’s a bit more progressive with its humour but it’s still slapstick.

“We’re very excited to come back after Covid and we hope people are excited for a night out.”

Grace Russell is one of the youngest Players and was thrilled at the opportunity to act, write and direct.

The WA Academy of Performing Arts hopeful is keen to expand her theatre experience and build a portfolio.

“It’s been amazing, a really great experience,” Grace said.

“It’s like a family here and they’ve all helped me along the way with writing and directing.

“I’m really excited to see it for the first time on the night – it’s extremely rewarding to see what you’ve done come to life.”

Freaks, Geeks and Comedy Treats will play on October 23, 24, 30 and 31 at Plantagenet District Hall.

Tickets are available from Mount Barker Newsagency and part proceeds from opening night will go towards the 2021 Mountains and Murals Festival.

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Wild Walpole focus of display

PERTH illustrator Malcolm Lindsay has exhibited his latest collection of colourful abstract landscapes in Walpole over the past few weeks.

Wood Water Walpole will be on display at Petrichor Gallery until October 18 and present Lindsay’s interpretation of Walpole and surrounds.

Lindsay exhibited at Petrichor when it first opened and was keen to exhibit solo this month.

“The theme of the exhibition was obvious when I asked myself, why was I exhibiting in Walpole?” he said.

“The answer was that the whole reason to be in Walpole at all was to immerse myself into the isolation and pristine, natural environment, so it had to be Walpole landscapes.”

Lindsay said the ‘lure’ of the wild Walpole environment had brought him back to the area many times over the years.

“Thinking about what makes Walpole so enticing, I’d have to say it’s the isolation and topography,” he said.

“The trees, water and hills.”

Lindsay has worked as a commercial artist and illustrator for his entire adult career and exhibited at multiple galleries.

He has worked previously with pastels and printmaking but now focuses on acrylics.

His work ranges from representational to abstract.

“The proudest moment of the exhibition for me was seeing all the work hung thoughtfully, in its own space, for the first time,” Lindsay said of Wood Water Walpole.

“This is when you can truly appreciate the cohesive message of the exhibition … this is Walpole!”

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Exhibition goes alfresco

SIX Albany artists will display their interpretations of the Great Southern’s vast and varied landscapes in a two-week exhibition.

Zoe Butler, Jennifer Dul, Margaret Dowdell, Ros Jenke, Jennifer Hills and Julie Fletcher from Albany Outdoor Painters will exhibit at Albany’s Historic Whaling Station until October 11.

The group were drawn together through their love of outdoor painting and sketching, meeting weekly at different locations for inspiration.

Fletcher said the artists delight in discovering the natural beauty of the area and are always on the lookout for interesting and exciting places, historic buildings and undiscovered locations.

“All artists have exhibited a range of their extensive and varied works in Albany and throughout WA, are experienced and accomplished artists, and some have taught in their individual specialties,” she said.

The exhibited works will vary between watercolours, oil paintings, acrylic work and pastel creations.

The Albany Outdoor Painters Exhibition and Art Sale is open daily from 9am to 5pm during its exhibition time.

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