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Love’s in the air at The Moree Gallery and BAMM this spring

IT IS not just the sweet smell of spring sending hearts aflutter throughout the streets of Moree – romance is in the air thanks to a unique exhibition featuring two of the region’s most talented creatives. 

The exhibition, titled Unveiled: Love, lace and longing, features acclaimed dressmaker Melinda O’Donoghue and Moree artist Jo White. 

Unveiled: Love, lace and longing, a collaborative between BAMM and The Moree Gallery, opens at 10am Friday, September 18.

Showcased will be a curation of more than 70 couture wedding gowns Melinda has beautifully crafted, worn by brides from across Australia during the past 20 years. 

Perfectly complementing Melinda’s stunning masterpieces, renowned artist Jo White will further explore themes of the heart through her latest body of work, which, while exhibiting at BAMM, will be available for sale through The Moree Gallery.

While a departure from her nostalgic rural and sporting scenes, this latest offering is further testament to Jo’s range and talent, beautifully capturing the essence of romance in a series of heart-warming pieces. 

However, Jo’s penchant for capturing a bygone era and her signature style is instantly recognisable.

And with much of her work inspired by old photographs, she says romance was a theme she’d been keen to explore for some time. 

Jo White’s latest heart-warming collection, based on love and romance.

“I work with a lot of old photos as a starting point for my works, and what I had noticed was a recurring theme of love and lovers,” Jo said.

“It was interesting how many photos were of lovers embracing, just in everyday activities and not necessarily as part of a special event or occasion.

“There was a lovely innocence and sincerity to them which I thought would make for some beautiful works, so I started with a study of the kiss,” she explained.

“Shortly after this BAMM approached me to be involved in the joint exhibition with Melinda O’Donoghue and her dresses, so the timing was perfect.”

Jo said that as a child she spend many hours at BAMM – her mother often dropped her off to the gallery while running errands around town.

“I would sit and draw the paintings and sculptures; I particularly loved the marble sculpture upstairs,” Jo said.

“To be invited to exhibit there, and have my work hang on the walls where I spent so much time admiring so many amazing artists is really thrilling, and to be involved in such a special, feel-good exhibition is a great honour.

“When I’m painting I’m hoping to make that emotional connection to the viewer, so I’m extremely excited to be exhibiting with Melinda, whose dresses hold so much feeling and emotion, not to mention the craftsmanship and hours of work behind them.”

Jo says she hopes her works may take visitors back to a time, or place, in their own lives and relive those early feelings of euphoria when falling in love. 

“There is a line in The Notebook that kept coming back to me during these works: ‘the best love is the kind that awakens the soul; that makes us reach for more, that plants the fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds – that’s what I hope to give you forever’.

“I hope that’s the kind of feelings and memories that come to mind when they visit our exhibition,” she said.

Unveiled: Love, lace and longing opens Friday, September 18 at 10am and runs through to Saturday, November 14 at Bank Art Museum Moree.

Adults $5, and under 18s free. 

for further information, and for the exhibition catalogue see www.moreegallery.com.au or www.bamm.org.au

The Moree Gallery, 30 Heber Street, Moree; [email protected]; phone (02) 6752 3927

Bank Art Museum Moree, 25 Frome Street, Moree; [email protected]; phone (02) 6757 3320

Words: Georgina Poole