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January 29, 2022

In Glue and Dust they Trust

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Geoff Hannah and some of his students a the new 'Chinoiserie' cabinet at the Lismore Gallery. Photo Eve Jeffery.
Geoff Hannah with his wife Rhonda and some of his students with the new ‘Chinoiserie’ cabinet at the Lismore Gallery. Photo Tree Faerie.

The Lismore Gallery was bursting at the seams last Friday evening when two shows were launched – Amanda Bromfield’s Damned Whores and God’s Police and the long awaited Geoff Hannah & Students’ – In Glue and Dust We Trust.

Minister for the Arts – Senator the Hon. Mitch Fifield, artist Geoff Hannah, gallery director Brett Adlington and outgoing Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell, with the Chinoiserie, a cabinet that took Geoff almost three years to make. Photo Tree Faerie.
Minister for the Arts – Senator the Hon. Mitch Fifield, artist Geoff Hannah, gallery director Brett Adlington and outgoing Lismore Mayor Jenny Dowell, with the Chinoiserie, a cabinet that took Geoff almost three years to make. Photo Tree Faerie.

Gallery director Brett Adlington spoke about Hannah saying he first met Geoff when he was about 13-years-old. ‘I remember at the time being unable to properly connect this unpretentious man with his astonishing work even back then’, said Brett. ‘In the ensuing years, Geoff’s work just keeps getting more and more astonishing,’   

Jenny Dowell paid tribute to Geoff and his work. ‘The intricacy of what you produce is just astounding,’ she said.

‘You are a master craftsman, and we are so lucky to call you a son of Lismore. We hope you will always be that.’

Jenny also spoke about the public groundswell of hope that the world famous Hannah Cabinet, currently housed at the Bungendore Woodworks Gallery near Canberra, will be a permanent fixture in the new Lismore gallery. ‘It’s Geoff’s dream, shared by Thomas [George], Kevin [Hogan] and me, to keep that Hannah Cabinet, not just in Australia, but in Lismore.

Everything from breakfast trays and dressing table mirrors to the 'Chinoiserie' are on display at the Lismore Gallery until September 24. Photo Tree Faerie.
Everything from breakfast trays and dressing table mirrors to the ‘Chinoiserie’ are on display at the Lismore Gallery until September 24. Photo Tree Faerie.

‘I know that Brett has been working with the architect from the gallery to ensure that if we can achieve that, there is space in the new gallery for it.’

Federal Minister for the Arts Senator the Hon. Mitch Fifield was very impressed with exhibition and was happy to express that in the highest terms.

‘Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t want to name drop but I will,’ he said. ‘A little earlier today I was on the Gold Coast hanging out with Chris Hemsworth, as Arts Ministers do, on the set of Thor, the next movie in that franchise, but can I tell you that for me, tonight is the absolute highlight of my day, of my week, and of my month.

Artist Geoff Hannah shows Mitch Fifield what he has in his drawers. Photo Tree Faerie.
Artist Geoff Hannah shows Mitch Fifield what he has in his drawers. Photo Tree Faerie.

‘To see the magnificent exhibition in there, to see the craftsmanship, to see the effort, to see the love, to see the passion that has been to put into wood, to render those magnificent objects.’

The highlight of the event was the unveiling of Hannah’s new masterpiece the Chinoiserie (in the Chinese style), an extraordinary piece of furniture which took the artist almost three years to make.

During an emotional evening of speeches, outgoing mayor Jenny Dowell spoke of the highs and lows and heartache that she and gallery director Brett Adlington have been through to get a much needed new gallery for Lismore, an issue which was clearly demonstrated when gridlock inside the space kept visitors from viewing the pieces to their best advantage and only about one third of those who came to see the Chinoiserie were able fit in the largest space to see it unveiled.

The youngest student, this beautiful hall table by artist Daniel Prentice was just a drawing on a board six months ago. Photo Tree Faerie.
The youngest student – this beautiful hall table by artist Daniel Prentice was just a drawing on a board six months ago. Photo Tree Faerie.

Geoff’s students have been preparing for several months for this exhibition.

Accomplished artists in their own right, the work that sits alongside Hannah’s mastery is both a testament to Geoff’s teaching, and to the dedication his pupils put into every aspect of their own work.

Some students have been with Geoff for over 20 years. The gallery will have pieces from  Colin Fardon, Barbara Riordan, Jan Page, Sue Egan, Ted Slattery, Jade Hughes, Lucille Stace, Rick Stewart, Sally Bates, Brian Emery, Darren Shaw, Rob Hurford, Brian Henry, John Whittaker, Greg Foster, Paul Armour, Francesco Stassi, Daniel Prentice, Gary Shallala-Hudson, Paul Laird, Wendy Laird, Paul Frangos and David Gilmore.

The Lismore Gallery commissioned local filmmakers Cloudcatcher Media to docuement the making of the artists wood work.
The Lismore Gallery commissioned local filmmakers Cloudcatcher Media to document the making of the artists’ wood work.

As part of the exhibition, the gallery commissioned local filmmakers Cloudcatcher Media to document the activities in the Hannah workshop over the six months leading up to the exhibition, the piece entitled Secrets & Sawdust – a master and his students prepare, is screening daily at the gallery.

Special Father’s Day event

As a very special treat for fathers (and mothers and others), the gallery will open Sunday September 4 for a visit from Geoff.

During the morning, Geoff will open the cabinet, which he affectionately calls ‘the cupboard’ and talk about his life and work.

Geoff will also be available to sign copies his new book which will be for sale at the gallery.

In Conversation : Geoffrey Hannah will run from 11am until 12.30pm.

For more information, visit the Lismore Regional Gallery website.

Photos Tree Faerie


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