The Manly Sisters

There’s frustration. It’s not overwhelming, just niggling in the background. Events in 2019 have made my usual trips to the mainland not possible. It doesn’t weigh heavily, although there’s people there I’d love to see. Hobart provides ample attraction – but up, up and awaying has been a constant in recent years.

To Melbourne and Sydney, I love those journeys, especially if accompanied by my lovely lady. But this year they just haven’t happened.

In each city I have my favourite galleries. Naturally there are the biggies – the two NGVs and the Art Gallery of NSW. The winter mega-shows at each have been highlights of my forays over time, but I have discovered some lesser venues, in each, that also offer very fine viewings of prominent, if not great, practitioners. It is my habit to wander around these, notebook in hand, to jot down the names of those who catch my eye; that are perhaps worth an excursion to the ether for further investigation.

One of these locations, in Harbour City, is the Manly Art Gallery and Museum. On a sunny day – for a sunny day gives this place extra allure with panoramas from it out across the harbour back to the towers of CBD – it is a joy. The bonus that a trip to there is that it means a crossing on the iconic ferry to the suburb behind North Head – always an adventure, especially if there’s a little roll in the waves. Of course, the whole shebang may well involve a meander up the Corso as well, a beer in a beach side pub and maybe some time watching the passing parade on the golden strand rimming the Pacific. On weekends there are markets too. But I divert. To get to the Gallery involves a turn left as one exits the ferry terminal. Then it’s just simple. Follow the little cove around and the destination will soon be spotted. Usually there are several exhibitions on at any given time to peruse, many featuring members of the art community of the Northern Beaches.

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An example, last year, was the ‘Natural Collection’, featuring the efforts of many print makers from the Warringah Shire. The two names I jotted down from this were Annie Day and Robin Ezra. Their product obviously stood out from the rest for me. To my surprise, when later I went on-line to garner more gen about them, I found out they were sisters. Now I’m not up with printmaking techniques, but maybe some reading this may have a notion as to what waterless lithography entails. The duo are experts in it. It certainly gives stunning results. Both – and they often exhibit together – conduct workshops in the process around the country and further afield.

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Annie has been involved in art since her graduation from the National Art School in Sydney in 1974. She has mostly engaged in portraiture and she’s captured such luminaries as Nancy Wake and Max Dupain in the art form. Bob and Blanche had her on the walls of their former harbour side home. Robin’s lovely stuff tends to focus on the natural world. She delves into painting and graphite drawing as well as her printmaking. Ms Ezra, as opposed to Ms Day, began her career much later and is self taught. Together the two travel to the UK and Italy most years to teach and enhance their skills.

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Take a journey through the ether yourself to the sister’s joint website. There are reminders, I think, in their work of some of our local artists here in Tassie. Perhaps that’s another reason my eye was drawn to them that Manly day.

The sisters’ website – https://www.annieday.com.au/

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