Best in show: showcasing four regional Victorian galleries

Fabrics Pioni, Taivaankukat and Ibir, designed by Maija Isola,1970. Photography: Arto Hallakorpi / Design Museum. Courtesy of the Design Museum, Helsinki.

Hit the road and get your art fix out of town in Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo or Horsham this winter.

No matter whether you lean towards 19th century landscape oils, Indigenous art, jewellery, textiles or modern expressionism, Victoria’s regional galleries cover it all. Take a look at what’s on offer throughout the cooler months and start planning a visit.

Art Gallery of Ballarat

The oldest and largest gallery in regional Australia explores the history of Australian art in its permanent collection and new art in its temporary exhibitions.

Animalia Australis

Drawing of a cassowary with rocks and shrubs nearbyUntil 6 May
Australians had at least 50,000 years to adapt to and familiarise themselves with the flora and fauna of this continent, but for Europeans, the process took place over little more than 250 years. Australian plants and animals were often shockingly different to anything they had seen before — swans were
not meant to be black, and mammals were not supposed to lay eggs.

Eugene von Guérard: Artist-Traveller

A painting showing a small group of Aboriginal Australians meet in a country or bush setting with a creek nearbyUntil 27 May
exhibition looks at the art of Austrian-born Eugene von Guérard, the pre-eminent landscape painter of colonial Australia. Von Guérard trekked into some of ‘the wildest and least-known portions of Australian territory’ in south-east Australia, his pencil and pocket-sized sketchbooks always close at hand.

Further details: Art Gallery of Ballarat

*Notes 1a & 1b: See footer for artwork details.

Horsham Regional Art Gallery

A colour photograph showing a woman standing in a desert setting wearing a camera around her neck and sunglasses whilst looking into the distanceBased in a renovated 1938 Art Deco town hall, this gallery is touted as one of the most progressive in regional Victoria. If photography is your thing, do not miss the internationally-acclaimed 1000-plus collection including works by Tracey Moffat, Max Dupain and Bill Henson. The gallery also collects works by artists inspired by the landscapes of the Wimmera, including Sidney Nolan.

Street Gallery

6 May – 19 June
An exhibition of local art installations in shop windows and laneways. Part of the Art is a Footprint Festival series.

Further details: Horsham Regional Art Gallery

*Note 2: See footer for artwork details.

Bendigo Art Gallery

Founded in 1887, this gallery underwent an $8.5 million revamp in 2014. It’s one of Australia’s largest regional art galleries, housing acclaimed works by the likes of Patricia Piccinini, Bill Henson, Dale Frank, Jan Nelson, Fiona Hall, Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Kit Webster and Ben Armstrong. Along with a permanent collection of 19th, 20th and 21st century art, it has impressive contemporary Australian art on view.

Marimekko: Design Icon 1951 to 2018

A photo of a panel of fabric resting on rocks on a beach near a small group of people, showing stylised flowers in bright coloursUntil 11 June
This exhibition traces Marimekko’s meteoric rise from the 1950s to the current day. The Finnish textile and fashion company first tasted international fame in the 1960s with its bold screen prints and pop-art style graphics. Coinciding with the emerging liberation of women, the founding of Marimekko – or ‘Mary dress’ as the name literally translates – represented a concept free from rules and constraints.

Further details: Bendigo Art Gallery

*Note 3: See footer for artwork details.

Geelong Gallery

Established in 1896, the Geelong Gallery is known for its 19th and 20th century Australian and European works, and has a particular focus on early images depicting the Geelong region. Decorative arts also take pride of place, including 18th and 19th century English porcelain, British art pottery and colonial Australian silver.A drawing of a building floorplan with circles and shapes drawn over the top in yellows, brown and blacks

Beginnings – Indigenous art from the collection

12 May – 22 July
A showcase of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, including works by Judy Watson, Samantha Hobson, Gloria Petyarre, Brian Robinson and Pedro Wonaeamirri.

An exchange of treasures

Until 27 May
A painting of a woman dressed in a white Victorian dress and hat walking through a bush or country sceneTwo works by Tom Roberts and Frederick McCubbin are on loan from the Art Gallery of Ballarat, offered in recognition of Geelong Gallery’s temporary loan to Ballarat of three paintings by Eugene von Guérard.

Reimagine – the world according to children’s books

Until 27 May
A selective survey of Australian children’s literature and book illustration over the past two decades.

The 2018 Geelong contemporary art prize exhibition

9 June –19 August
A signature event on Geelong’s annual cultural calendar, celebrating Australian artists and contemporary painting.

Further details: Geelong Gallery

*Notes 4a & 4b: See footer for artwork details

Artwork captions

Top feature image caption – Fabrics Pioni, Taivaankukat and Ibir, designed by Maija Isola,1970. Photography: Arto Hallakorpi / Design Museum. Courtesy of the Design Museum, Helsinki.

*Note/s: Image credit

1a. Image credit: Édouard Traviès, Casoar a casque (Casuarius galeatus, Veillot), 1849. Engraving on paper. Purchased with funds from the Hilton White Bequest

1b. Image credit: Eugene von Guérard, Aborigines met on the road to the diggings, 1854. Oil on canvas. Geelong Gallery

2a. Tracey Moffat, Ac. 2013-19 Self Portrait 1999, hand coloured photograph, 34cm x 22.7cm, Horsham Regional Art Gallery Collection.

3. Fabrics Pioni, Taivaankukat and Ibir, designed by Maija Isola,1970. Photography: Arto Hallakorpi / Design Museum. Courtesy of the Design Museum, Helsinki.

4a. Judy Watson (printed by Cicada Press) The holes in the land I 2015 colour etching; edition 15 of 30 Geelong Gallery Geelong acquisitive print awards (acquired), 2015

4b. Tom Roberts A summer morning tiff 1886 oil on canvas Art Gallery of Ballarat The Pinkerton Bequest Fund, 1943