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Lost & Found: Loss (Formerly Emotional Spaces 1)

Oil pastel , 77 x 97 cm

This drawing was judged a Finalist in 3rd Arc Yinnar Drawing Prize 2010 and also

St Michael’s Exhibition & Archangel Prize 2011 (Theme: Space & Place)

Lost & Found: Conversation (Formerly Emotional Spaces 2)

Charcoal, dry pastel & oil pastel , 75 x 81 cm

Lost & Found : Exchange (Formerly Emotional Spaces 3)

Charcoal & pastel, 77 x 97 cm

This drawing was judged as a Finalist in 3rd Arc Yinnar Drawing Prize 2010

Search For Culture: Space Junk

Charcoal, dry pastel & oil pastel, 71 x 103 cm

Three works developed more recent from this group although the last two weren’t included in the exhibition due to space limitations.

 

When I started the music-inspired project I was also doing some works of figures in the landscape. These works were instigated by a sad event – a close friend had passed away and his memorial was held on a beautiful but lonely beach in southern NSW.

At the memorial I observed the way people were grouped, many choosing to walk alone in thought, others to be close to family and friends. This made me think of the way we create personal space around ourselves and how this changes under different circumstances.

In Feb 2015 I have exhibited with a group of 4 other artists in an exhibition called ‘Linked By Landscape’ held at Burrinja Gallery in Upwey, Opening was 1pm on Saturday February 28 2015 and was very successful with an estimated 140 people attending.

My works for this exhibition are mainly based on exploring the figure in the landscape, with an interest in the spaces between figures in different circumstances.

However, I discovered that some landscapes could not hold a figure and each time a figure was incorporated into the composition it just didn’t work, so there will be figureless landscapes too.

I think that the explanation for this is that some landscapes have such a presence that they take on their own persona.

 

The 12 works submitted for this exhibition can be divided into 3 groupings:

· the cliff rock formation from Wonboyn, (near Ben Boyd National Park) in southern NSW.

· the beach at Wonboyn

· Drouin’s orange trees

Linked By Landscape Exhibition

Land of Heart’s Desire (Resilience) Oil & acrylic on canvas 163 x 122 cm

SOLD

‘Land of Heart’s Desire (Resilience)’ was like the ‘mother’ painting that inspired a further 3 works, it took about a year to complete and went through various stages of development. I was captivated by the tree forcing its existence out of the rugged rocky environment, looked down upon by the trees along the skyline in the sunshine above. I was also captivated by the various rock formations and layers in the rocky strata eroded by time that accentuate the age and resilience of the Australian landscape.

 

Two of the paintings that came from Land of Heart’s Desire are ‘Yellow Girl’and ‘Rustle of Wind’.

Because I became so familiar with the subject matter with the larger painting these two were completed in only a few days each. So while the time spent painting these was more spontaneous you could say they took a year also. I was very happy with these two, utilising much looser brushstrokes and more vibrant and harmonious use of colour. I wanted to capture the sense of the wind blowing through the landscape in both of these and I think the horizontal format captures that aspect whereas the larger painting captures a feeling of monumentality. Land of Heart’s Desire the title comes from a W.B Yeats poem and it seemed to fit the context of it being the place where our friend’s ashes where cast.

I also call it Resilience because it required quite a bit of that to complete it!

 

Yellow Girl, Oil on canvas 45 x 90cm

Rustle of Wind, Oil on canvas 45 x 90 cm

Lost & Found - Feel the Wind

Graphite on Fabriano paper 108 x 85 cm

This drawing was done as a study for the grasses in Land of Heart’s Desire.

In this work I used graphite stick and quite a sharp eraser to really work the image and push the medium around, trying to instil the energy of the wind through the grasses. Because the Fabriano paper is such a beautiful surface to work on - strong yet giving -  it was able to take the hard working of the surface inflicted on it.  It fascinates me how these plants, made up of delicate individual strands, become like a whole writhing organism when it is caught in the wind.

I included the inconspicuous figures of two young friends to finish off the scene, they both love being in the outdoors and don’t mind the wind in their hair. Although titled Lost and Found it refers here to how you can lose yourself in the wind and how this can be part of finding yourself.

 

These works were cathartic for me and I didn’t initially make them for public viewing but then the works became more about playing with body language and the spaces between figures within this wide open space of the beach.

I called this series Lost and Found and is about love and loss. There is the melancholy feeling of the emotion felt by the friends who were there due to their loss but the pristine environment of the place offered a place to reflect and find a sense of healing. I don’t see melancholy as a negative state but an essential aspect of human emotion.

Apart from some minor finishing these 3 drawings were mostly done in 2010.

 

I Dedicate these works to RodTaylor RIP

 

Melancholy beach at Wonboyn

This was the place a good friend chose to have his ashes cast into the wind and sea. He was taken by cancer but spent his final couple of years living at Wonboyn and it was a place he felt most happy, inspired and also solace.

So a group of friends and relatives travelled to Wonboyn after his passing to remember his life and celebrate the person he was. As the friends dealt in their own ways with their grief and sadness I was struck by the distances between individuals in this vast open space where we came together. The way a glance could connect a figure with another across the composition and how tensions and energies could be created between figures.

Search For Culture: Muse

Oil on canvas 61 x 61 cm

Red Girl Goauche & Pen 45 x 56 cm

In Search for Culture I could see the potential for varying the object being viewed  but I ran out of time so this may become another project for the future, especially for printmaking potential.

In the first I substituted a piece of space junk (my son’s current band is called Space Junk so it would reference that) but also reflects my environmental concerns for the future.  Humanity is entering an age with numerous environmental challenges.

The second Search for Culture: Muse is exploring my own confusion about culture. I think for me art has been a way for me to explore my identity and has also become my identity and my muse. The reference here is a sculpture that I have always admired by Brancusi called Sleep, 1908. Brancusi used the idea of this form, (the reclining head shape) repeating and refining it during his lifetime, simplifying to discover the purest form (ie the many versions of Sleeping Muse and The Newborn).

I’ve placed the sculpture as if it has been found and upturned like discovering a rare fossil. I think in Australia culture is a thing that is often hidden, possibly so confusing that it is feared but waiting to be discovered. Apart from indigenous Australians who although they have been displaced have a sense of their culture whereas the rest are one big melting pot of cultures and we haven’t reconciled this.

 

The last paintings in the exhibition are of Drouin’s orange trees.

Along the road near Drouin Secondary College there is a plantation of Smooth barked Apple Gums or Angophora costata. In summer these trees shed their grey bark to reveal the fresh luminous orange new bark that fades to a warm mottled grey throughout the year. They also flower at this time with heavy bunches of creamy yellow flowers. Along with the flowering Ficifolia trees in Drouin, for me the Angophora trees symbolise the warmth of summer and the intense light of the season.

 

Look Overhead

Oil on canvas 46 x 46 cm

‘Orange’ Apple

Oil on canvas 46 x 46 cm

The aim was to capture the glow of colour and the haze of summer as you look up into the trees.

These might seem odd to include in the exhibition that is predominantly situated at Wonboyn or coastal regions but these two paintings were painted following the passing of my partner’s mother, again to cancer and so they fit the theme of love and loss.

The title ‘Look Overhead’ comes from a poem by John Keats that I read at Roma’s funeral  that summed up her gentle nature, her passion for life and her affinity with Nature – I admired her and felt very close to her.  

So these paintings are Dedicated to Roma.

 

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