Julie Paterson

Cloth: From Seeds to Bloom

9 December 2017– 28 January 2018

Julie Paterson Cloth hero Image_small

Cloth: From Seeds to Bloom traces 20 years of work from one of Australia’s most influential textile designers and local Blue Mountains resident, Julie Paterson.

Drawing inspiration from the Australian bush, Paterson’s stunning fabrics are a riot of colour, floral forms, and patterns. Achieving commercial success through design excellence, her designs are highly prized and sought after, with short batch productions quickly snapped up by avid collectors, interior decorators, and commercial clients.

The exhibition will focus on nine key textile groupings – the first called Seeds and the last one Bloom. Contemporary textiles commonly sit at the practical end of art and design. Cloth: Seeds to Bloom is comprised of Julie Paterson’s domestic textile objects, which take the viewer on a journey from the humble seed through to the luscious bloom.

An Australian Design Centre touring exhibition

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Julie Paterson, Cloth: From Seeds to Bloom installation view. Image courtesy the artist and Australian Design Centre.

Public Programs

Free with Gallery admission ticket

Join exhibiting artists Julie Paterson, Heidi Axelsen and Hugo Moline as they discuss their current exhibitions and their artistic practice, followed by a Q&A. RSVP appreciated at Reception or 4780 5410.

Heidi Axelsen & Hugo Moline

The Visitors

9 December 2017– 14 January 2018


The Visitors explores alternate means of encounter and exchange between the human and botanical worlds. Rather than simply using plants to do things for us, could we work for them? The exhibition investigates the potential of this ‘Plant agency’ in Katoomba and its surrounds.

Plants mostly seem to recede into the background, the base and stage for the lives of faster moving creatures like us. Yet we depend entirely and absolutely on the lives and labours of the plant world. We are here because they are here.

If we are their guests, we are rather inconsiderate ones. We farm them, we garden them, we prune and transplant them. We harvest them and process them. We eat them and wear them. We use their bodies to house ourselves. Like unwanted visitors we depend much on our hosts to support our endeavours and we take much more than we return.

Inhabiting a single site for a lifetime, plants seem incapable of paying any visits of their own. Perhaps if we expand our timescale beyond a singular plant we can see the way plants move not individually but across generations. Is it through their seeds that plants pay visits? Exploring new terrain and flourishing or perishing according to the conditions in which they germinate; continuing or terminating their journey accordingly.

This project explores the possibility of finding other, less extractive modes to engage with the plant world. Instead of just doing things to plants could we do things for them, or even with them. Could we become agents for plants? Real estate agents? Travel agents? Secret agents?

The exhibition comprises an investigation into the kinds of methods which may be required to make this shift. The work is envisaged as a kind of mobile training camp containing various devices to assist in the practice of ‘plant agency’.

Heidi Axelsen and Hugo Moline work across architecture, installation, social process and situated public art. Through an interest in modes of mobility, occupation and ownership, their work engages with specific places and asks if the social, political and ecological relationships could be re-framed or re-arranged.

They make objects, shelters, vehicles, tools and devices not as end products in themselves but as ‘props’ to gather together communities of concern and catalyse the formation of new relationships within a particular place or process.

A Blue Mountains Cultural Centre Exposé Program exhibition


This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.






HEIDI AXELSEN & HUGO MOLINE The Visitors 2017, digital C print, 198cm x130cm. Image courtesy the artists

Public Programs

Free with Gallery admission ticket

Join exhibiting artists Julie Paterson, Heidi Axelsen and Hugo Moline as they discuss their current exhibitions and their artistic practice, followed by a Q&A. RSVP appreciated at Reception or 4780 5410.


Picture Gallery: Contemporary Australian Children’s Book Illustrations

30 September – 19 November 2017


Blue Mountains Library and Blue Mountains Cultural Centre are pleased to showcase this fun collection of original artworks presented by WestWords and the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

As part of the Sydney Writers Children’s Festival of Moving Stories, WestWords and the SWF present an exhibition of a selection of works by renowned contemporary Australian children’s illustrators. Featuring Andrew Joyner (from Too Many Elephants In This House, The Swap), Tony Flowers  (including works from Saurus St), Cheryl Orsini  (including Pom Pom, Where Are You?), Judith Rossell  Wormwood Mire (the follow-on novel after Withering-By-Sea), Shaun Tan (from Tales From Suburbia), Chris Nixon (from Meet Captain Cook) and Liz Anneli  (from Howzat).

On display at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre Seminar Room. Entry is free.

A WestWords touring exhibition presented by Blue Mountains Library and Blue Mountains Cultural Centre


Photo Elements with David Brazil


16 September – 21 October
10:30am – 12:30pm
$210 / $195 Insight Members
Bookings essential at reception or by calling 4780-5410

This 6 week photography course is designed to help individuals hone their creative vision to produce better images while also getting the most from their digital camera. With a focus on nature-based photography, the techniques learned can generally be applied to portraiture, travel and photojournalism. Key areas explored in this course include: Camera craft – focus on creative control, understanding photographic equipment and techniques, image processing, editing and printing, and publishing, review and exhibition. This course is for anyone with an interest in photography, no prior experience is needed, however basic computer skills are assumed. Students are required to bring their own cameras. A digital camera capable of manual settings and at least 8 megapixel resolution is encouraged and DSLR’s are recommended, a tripod and laptop is also recommended. David Brazil is a photographic artist and educator based in the Blue Mountains. David has extensive experience working commercially as an event photographer and has exhibited locally and as part of the HeadOn Photo Festival.

David Hockney

Words & Pictures
14 October  – 3 December


Drawn from the British Council Collection, the exhibition presents four major suites of artists’ prints produced by David Hockney from 1961–1977. United by their reference to historical works of literature and art, these prints were produced during the first two decades of Hockney’s career when he established his international reputation as a Pop artist.

A selection of Hockney’s more personal works from the private collection of his brother John Hockney will accompany the exhibition.

Blue Mountains City Art Gallery is proud to present this major international exhibition in partnership with Tweed Regional Gallery. The exhibition will premiere at Tweed before travelling on to Katoomba.

A touring exhibition by the British Council, presented at Blue Mountains City Art Gallery in partnership with Tweed Regional Gallery

Image from: David Hockney: Words and Pictures
DAVID HOCKNEY  The Old Guitarist from “The Blue Guitar” 1976 – 1977, etching, edition of 200, 52.5 x 45.7 cm © David Hockney

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Public Programs

John Hockney Floor Talk and Film Screening


Come along to hear John Hockney share insights on the David Hockney: Words & Pictures exhibition as well as personal stories from his recollections of David’s life. The talk will begin with an illustrated presentation in the Workshop Room, followed by a 30minute break and then a film screening of “David Hockney: The Bigger Picture” from 12.30pm – 2.30pm.

Entry to the Gallery will be free on Saturday 18 November. 

Painting and Mixed Media with Tim Allen


11 October – 29 November
10:30am – 1pm
$310 / $290 Insight Members 
Bookings essential at reception or by calling 47805410

This workshop will focus on a fresh and bold approach to observational painting and drawing. Tim will demonstrate a range of techniques in ink, mixed media, acrylic and oil painting, offering new skills and ideas for both beginners and experienced students. An understanding of mark-making and layering techniques in each of these media will then help the students respond creatively to a range of observational subjects; these will include still life, interiors and landscape. There will be also plenty of individual feedback as students develop their own unique approaches and styles.

Artist Biography:
Tim Allen has been exhibiting his work professionally for over 20 years. He has been a finalist multiple times in many of Australia’s leading art prizes, including the Wynne Prize, the Dobell Prize, the Kedumba Drawing Award and many others. In 2014 his work was featured in Artist Profile magazine. He exhibits with Defiance Gallery in Sydney and NockArt Gallery in Hong Kong. Tim is also a very enthusiastic teacher, having taught for many years at TAFE and at art workshops around Australia. Tim lives and works in the Blue Mountains.


19 August – 8 October 2017

Julie Harris_ Blue Pentaptych#1 (detail)_2016_acrylic on polyester_Photo Asia Upward

For this exhibition Julie Harris combines recent abstract paintings and sculptural pieces all referencing the same motif: the strip or ribbon. Harris has intuitively incorporated this linear element in ever increasing ways over the last three years, layering it onto a more organic ground. The motif signifies her immediate environment in its most basic form – whether vertical or horizontal the strips describe features such as: her studio louvre window, musical scores, birdsong, garden elements and the weather. This motif also references Harris’ process of stripping back any recognisable imagery or formalist structure from the canvas and allowing the paint residue to create the final work.

Harris is influenced by the Japanese aesthetic concept of Wabi-sabi which looks at the beauty of imperfection and impermanence especially with regard to the natural world. With this in mind she paints intuitively allowing her physical surrounds to flavour the work: she is directly influenced by the seasons, her studio, the music she chooses and sounds from outside. Harris has a long history of non-intentional painting, she allows the substance of the work to reveal itself without a predetermined outcome in mind. The colours and texture of the paint find their own form, in this way her paintings are a collaboration with the natural environment.

A Blue Mountains City Art Gallery exhibition curated by Rilka Oakley

JULIE HARRIS TSS #4 (Blue Pentaptych) (detail) 2016-2017, acrylic on polyester, 80 x 900 cm. Photo by Asia Upward.

Leahlani Johnson

However late it may seem
9 August – 8 October

Leahlani Johnson_detail_Hazelhurst


Leahlani Johnson’s However late it may seem is an exhibition of new, site specific installation work that combines ceramics, painting, plant material and moving image to investigate the paradoxical nature of time.

Johnson juxtaposes various mediums within her installations to reveal the opposing durational qualities of stillness, temporality and flux. She explores different forms of timekeeping, with the ceramic elements revealing gestures of everyday objects within a static form; the moving images convey a sense of compressed time; and the  plant works,  created through a labour intensive process, will change with time and alter colour, shape and texture. The combination of these diverse mediums allow time to be re-imagined from a linear formation into a more malleable substance.


 LEAHLANI JOHNSON Petal work 2015, paper daisy petals, dimensions variable. Image Zan Wimberley

The Beginning of a Thing; The Art of Flowers. A Floral Workshop with Leahlani Johnson


Saturday 2 September
10:30am – 1pm
$75 – $70 Insight Members
Bookings at Reception or by calling 4780 5410
Working with a variety of seasonal flowers the workshop will introduce participants to several approaches of working with the living material. Some of the techniques covered in the workshop will include flower pressing, basics of floral arranging, installation methods and discussion surrounding the historical context of the flower within art practice.

Leahlani Johnson completed a Master of Fine Arts at UNSW Art & Design in 2015 is a trained and experienced floral designer and educator, who employs living plant material in her art practice.

Dambu-Waa Ngurra – To Paint the Country

3 July – 23 July
Blue Mountains Cultural Centre Seminar Room



Susan Bell – Aranawan
Nicole Boorudoo Parsons – Yuin
Kristine King – Wiradjuri
Annette Lavender – Bundjalung
Teekee Marloo – Palawa
Pippa Smith – Wiradjuri
Leanne TobinShay Tobin – Darug
Dianne Ussher – Darug (Burramadigal)
Anthony Vale – Darug (Buruberonga)
Uncle Ed Walker – Dharawal

This exhibition consists of a collection of artworks by Aboriginal students involved in a TAFE Outreach course called Dambu-Waa Ngurra: Painting the Country, facilitated by established artist and teacher Leanne Tobin.

The course allows Aboriginal community members of any age to learn painting skills and strengthen their connection with their own Aboriginal identity while simultaneously learning about country – the country where their people come from and their connection to where they live now; the Blue Mountains.

Many of the participants of this class, through circumstances beyond their control, have been disconnected from their traditional families and communities often as a result of trans-generational trauma and/ or government intervention. Several have been adopted, others went through foster care, were made a ward of the state or brought up on a mission. Some have never painted before while others have been painting for many years and have utilised this class to explore other aspects and techniques to add to their art practice.

Dambu-Waa Ngurra: Painting the Country has become in a sense, a way to deal with the past; a vehicle for sharing and learning. Many of the classes involve informal discussions about cultural matters and through research and sharing, the students explore and discover more about who they are and where they’re from.

The students bring with them their own cultural knowledge and stories. It is a class filled with laughter, comradery and courage. Sad stories are shared and the burden is lessened with each retelling. All students come with their areas of expertise and all are happy to share what they know.

These paintings continue the age-old cultural practice of sharing stories. The artists included in this exhibition graciously allow others a glimpse into their own personal journeys.

Blue Mountains Cultural Centre and the artists acknowledge that the City of the Blue Mountains is located on the traditional lands of the Darug and Gundungurra peoples.

A NAIDOC Week exhibition

 IMAGE: LEANNE TOBIN One Sister Sleeping 2017, acrylic paint on canvas