For Ballarat-based artists Madeleine Cruise and Ruby Pilven, the process of creating artworks is as important as the artworks themselves – it is a daily necessity much like preparing and eating a meal.

In developing this collaborative exhibition, the two came together at the dining table to tell the stories of their lives – the table, set with a glittering array of vessels and painted objects, becomes a stage where domestic theatre plays out.

The golden pantomime is a showcase of artworks produced by Cruise and Pilven individually and in response to each other’s work. Pilven’s porcelain and stoneware ceramic pieces are based on both historical and imagined forms that act as storytellers and props from domestic and natural spaces. Likewise, Cruise’s interior paintings feature tableware and decorative objects that celebrate the ritual in everyday life.

The artists have also made a series of collaborative works with the common theme of still life as spectacle. These include lyrically painted ceramic pieces and small theatrical sets that reference the architecture of Ballarat, their shared home.


14 November 2020–7 February 2021

Under the Victorian Government’s rules regarding the safe opening of museums and galleries, the Gallery will be open to visitors from 14 November, in two ticketed sessions, from 10 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 5 pm daily.

Once visitors have reserved their free tickets, they will be able to enter the Gallery at any time during that session.

Tickets should be reserved in advance to avoid disappointment and visitors who arrive without a ticket risk missing out. Sessions not fully booked will be made available for walk-up visitors.

Book your ticket here.


Due to safety concerns, the Art Gallery of Ballarat will not be presenting any public programs relating to this exhibition.


Works in the exhibition are available for purchase in the Gallery Shop here

Selected works

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