Pokolbin (Cessnock)

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Postal Address:

ADFAS Pokolbin
PO Box 386

ABN: 50 525 651 526

We offer eight high quality and diverse lectures per year, given by overseas and Australian experts in the fields of visual arts, architecture, music, theatre, dance, design, film and literature.  The topics presented reflect the wide range of interest of people in our delightful Hunter wine region.

Throughout the year, we organise special events such as film evenings and excursions of interest to members and friends.

Visit the ADFAS Pokolbin Website

Committee 2019

Robert Lusby
0411 214 478

Tracey Seath
0417 489 635

Liz Ewen
0412 216 776

Membership Secretary:
Judy Wearne
0409 986 565

Membership Enquiries: Secretary@adfaspokolbin.org.au

Programme for 2019

Monday March 4th
Understanding Cubism

Dr. Jacqueline Cockburn PhD

One of the most cryptic movements in art will be explained through a variety of means. This lecture will consider the language we need to understand Cubist works and to be able to find meaning. It will explore the working relationship of Picasso and Braque after the painting of Les Demoiselles D’Avignon and also show other so-called Salon Cubists such as Léger and Juan Gris who made Cubism more palatable for its audience.

Monday March 25th
Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear 1715-2015 – Story of an Exhibition

Prof: Peter McNeil FAHA

This lecture will walk you through the largest exhibition of mens’ fashion ever assembled, curated by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2015. In 2018, “Reigning Men” was successfully exhibited for six months at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.

Monday May 6th
From Paris to New York: The Story of American Impressionism

Mr. Bernard Allan MA BA (Hons)

Only one American, Mary Cassatt, exhibited with the Impressionist group in Paris but, by the mid 1880s American Impressionism had become an important art form in the U.S., inspired by, but not imitating the French prototype.
Artists such as Childe Hassam successfully blended their academic training with the vitality of Impressionism, which they had encountered on their European travels, to produce paintings that conveyed the dynamism of the new country and its rapidly expanding cities; especially New York.
Simultaneously, painters like Theodore Robinson, who had been inspired by Monet at Giverny, based themselves in artists’ colonies on the east coast of America. Here they found subject matter for paintings with a sense of nostalgia for a way of life that was fast disappearing as the traditional industries of fishing and agriculture were supplanted by the influx of tourists. Meanwhile John Henry Twachtman drew on diverse influences to produce wonderfully evocative winter scenes.
Impressionism remained popular with American artists until the 1920s, although by the early 20th century the style had been supplanted in status by the new urban realists.

Monday July 8th
Ruling from Behind the Yellow Silk Screen:
The Dowager Empress Cixi
Effective Ruler of China (1862-1908)
Mr. David Rosier

This lecture utilises recently available Imperial Records, plus contemporary interpretations, to present the life and achievements of one of the most important women in China’s Imperial history in a more balanced and positive manner than previous accounts from China, and Western Powers, produced in the early 20th Century.

Cixi’s rise from relative obscurity as a low-ranking Imperial Consort to Dowager Empress will be explored as will her strategy to preserve and strengthen Imperial rule whilst modernising China. These objectives were pursued during a period of extreme ethnic unrest plus continuing pressure from Western Colonial Powers which led to a succession of humiliating defeats in the later part of the 19th Century.

In contrast, there is an exploration of Cixi’s private life in her beloved Summer Palace and her passion for art, fashion, and the natural world.

Finally, there is consideration of Cixi’s fascination with Western Culture, and the role and influence of Western women, as she tried to gradually move China towards a form of parliamentary democracy.

Monday August 12th
From Downton to Gatsby
Jewellery and Fashion 1890-1929

Mr. Andrew Prince

For the series Downton Abbey, Andrew was commissioned to produce many jewels for the main characters, and this inspired him to create a talk based on Downton and the changing styles of the time portrayed.
Jewellery and Fashion are often seen as two entirely separate and distinct fields of design, but this is very far from the case.
In his talk Andrew guides you through the extraordinary periods and events between 1890 and 1929, where the great fashion houses collaborated with the finest of jewellers to produce works of art of outstanding quality and glittering opulence. Along with this he discusses the clients and patrons who commissioned the jewels and how they were worn with the sumptuous gowns.

Monday September 9th
Zaha Hadid Architectural Superstar

Mr. Colin Davies

Dame Zaha Hadid died on March 31st 2016 at age of 65. Architectural historians of the future will surely recognise her as one of the most important architects of the early 21st century. She was born in Iraq and her reputation was global, but she made Britain her home. This lecture tells the story of her career from the visionary projects of the 1980s, through the years of frustration when her designs were considered unbuildable, to the prolific crop of successful projects built all over the world in the last decade of her life.

Monday October 7th
Venice, Canaletto and His Rivals

Mr. Anthony Russell

Following the National Gallery of London’s exhibition of the same title, this lecture gives a heady mixture of ‘superstar’ painter, immensely rich patrons on the move and a city whose modern face hides behind a romantic mask. Though some were little better than modern hooligans, many a grand tourist was highly sophisticated and had a lasting impact on Venice and how it is perceived today. These are magical paintings by an Italian artist greatly influenced by British taste and Britain boasts the greatest collection of his works, both in public and private hands. While these views depict a serene dreamland and have always been highly prized, Venice is now in serious trouble and needs a truly global cooperation to save it
from sinking forever.

Monday November 4th
American Regionalism
Beyond American Gothic

Dr. Matthew Laing BA (Hons) B Dest PhD

Grant Wood’s American Gothic is one of the most iconic and memorable paintings in American history. Yet for all its popularity, it is usually misinterpreted as a simple satire, and the pioneering and radical work of its extraordinary artist is virtually unknown to the wider public. This lecture tells the story of the American regionalist movement through its three prophets – Grant Wood, John Steuart Curry and Thomas Hart Benton.

Venue and Time of Lectures

Our lectures are held on a Monday evening in the state-of-the-art Cessnock Performing Arts Centre, followed by a delicious supper and Hunter wines.

Cessnock Performing Arts Centre,
Cnr. Vincent Street and Aberdare Road,

Lectures commence promptly at 7.00 p.m.


Annual Membership is $180.00


Visitors – $30.00

Visiting ADFAS Members – FREE

Students – FREE


Judy Wearne 0409 986565



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