Summer - RenewalAnnabel Butler, Janet Dawson, Viola Dominello, Ashley Frost, Steve Lopes, Corinne Loxton & Tiziana Tringali
4 February - 29 February 2020
At this moment our thoughts are with those impacted by the bushfires scorching our homeland. This has been a summer that has given us all pause for thought. As an Australian gallery who represents Australian artists, we would like to offer up a selection of works that speak to the artists experience of an Australian summer, with the desire to regain natural balance we’ve taken for granted and hope of regrowth and renewal. The practice of plein air painting, and landscape painting brings with it an appreciation of the unique beauty and qualities this country offers. Each artist strives to capture something vivid and precious in their work.
ANNABEL BUTLER’s painterly landscape vignettes evoke the dry heat and strong light of and Australian summer in Sydney’s Centennial Park. Painting en plein air, BUTLER has worked on the small 9x5 format in the tradition of the Heidelberg School.
JANET DAWSON’s ongoing desire to explore and expose the resonance of a place emerges through her pastel drawings and watercolours of, often, rural Australian landscapes and the everyday of her still-life.
VIOLA DOMINELLO finds inspiration near her home in and around the Hawkesbury and the hinterlands. Working en plein air she captures and instant of changing light and tone. Through painterly gestures DOMINELLO’s practice is imbued with a sensitivity that reveals moments of intricate and transient beauty of the landscape. Her current work observes the effects of the current soaring temperature and drought conditions in and around the Hawkesbury. The high key palette captures the harsh light and crackling heat of summer in this region.
Painting at the turning points of the day ASHLEY FROST’s works capture the sublime transition of early morning or evening dusk light. Fluid in form and composition, His paintings engage with the relationship between bodies of water and vast skies and their otherworldly evocations of light through a vivid and viscous palette.
Also painting en plein air, STEVE LOPES offers up a brief summer oasis in his latest coastal studies. His energetic paintings of the vast beach at low tide, seaside cliffs and rocky plains, and the native pandanus tree along the coastline radiate with the heat of the day and the promise of cool relief from the sea. The figures in these landscapes are nameless, featureless and fully immersed in their surrounds.
CORINNE LOXTON’s focus is often on the sky and its transient light, colour and form; uncontrollable and ephemeral. Her paintings recognise the potential for both beauty and harshness through her depictions of land and sky amidst the devastation of the bushfires; a familiar scene during a hot, dry Australian summer. Other works suggest promise and hope for the artist through their cool, soft palette and golden hues of the sky at the break of dawn.
TIZIANA TRINGALI probes the beautiful and the cruel aspects of our natural environment; ultimately seeking to celebrate nature. Her work is romantic and minimalist in style, with nods to Chinese traditions of watercolour landscape painting. These works reflect the artists perception of the landscape, aiming to be sufficiently abstract to provoke observer’s perception of the natural environment. TRINGALI plays on contrast of light and dark, evoking the wind, position, and movement in the landscape through the brushwork. Her works embody the sense of place and the human desire for connection to the environment.
Kintsugi IIAnoma Wijewardene
3 March - 18 April 2020
Over the past twenty years Sri Lankan artist, ANOMA WIJEWARDENE’s oeuvre has consistently grappled with crucial issues of our time. Her art practice has centred around themes of sustainability and inclusivity; with particular focus on the earth’s climate crisis, and ever-present issues of coexistence, diversity and unity. The works in Kintsugi II embody the artist’s passionate concern and provide a metaphorical response to these global, yet deeply personally felt issues.
Kintsugi (“golden joinery”, also known as Kintsukroi, “golden repair”) is based on the Japanese art of pottery restoration by mending the areas of breakage with lacquer mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum. Similar to the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi (an embracing of the flawed or imperfect), Kintsugi treats breakage and repair as a part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. ANOMA embraces Kintsugi as both a methodology and a philosophy in her works as she searches for harmony and renewal in a turbulent, entropic world. Her material practice is layered and eclectic. A collaged mix of smooth, translucent, plant-based vellum paper against rough, recycled more organic papers are torn and layered. These, often amoebic, yet human-shaped voids, provide small windows and glimpses onto her depictions which are at once both figurative and abstracted. Vivid paintings and underdrawings of humanoid figures are shown traversing abstracted fields of colour. They appear isolated and self-reflective in moments of quietude; shrouded and obscured through layers they are yearning to re-connect with their surroundings and each other.
ANOMA celebrates rather than disguises the flawed and the broken through a flurry of layered materials and imagery. She contends that her work is a response to the increasing normalization of unconscionable intolerance, hatred and the crises unleashed by war, poverty and climate crisis, when she writes:
“As the desperate seek security and survival, societies are wounded, people are broken physically, emotionally, psychologically. We all yearn for healing whether it is in Sri Lanka, Christchurch, London, Damascus or Australia… Art inspires us to rise from the shards of our shattered lives, to rebuild and heal; and reflect upon our common humanity in the face of conflict, religious fervour, and human insecurity. It invites us to accept shared stewardship of our fragile planet.”
The poetry accompanying the work is by the acclaimed and finalist in the Man Booker Prize in 1994, Sri Lankan writer, ROMESH GUNESEKERA, who has specifically composed these words for the art, combining fragments of poetry and prose in a single unified poem. A monograph book, printed in Singapore, includes 200 images alongside five essays and contributions from several renowned writers. It documents the process with images from her sketchbooks, collectors’ details, a biography and chronology.
ANOMA WIJEWARDENE is an alumna of Central Saint Martins College, University of Arts, London. She was the first Sri Lankan solo artist invited to show at the European Cultural Council, during the 58th Venice Biennale 2019, and has amassed international recognition for her works spanning five decades. She has had several international exhibitions in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Her works was featured on the cover of British Vogue 1974 and she has exhibited in 2016 at Sotheby’s Hong Kong Gallery.
Another Natural PerspectiveDeirdre Bean
21 April - 31 May 2020
Internationally recognised for her intricate botanical illustrations, DEIRDRE BEAN takes her attention to detail to another level. DEIRDRE’s fine, scientifically accurate drawings taken from life have been painstakingly developed over extended periods of time. As she works, she develops an intimate relationship with her subjects over many hours of close inspection.
Although DEIRDRE BEAN draws directly on her experience as a natural history illustrator, she maintains a subtle, yet rich layering of meaning in the compositions or her watercolours. DEIRDRE carefully and thoughtfully pairs her botanicals with a series of companion pieces; objects imbued with personal, familial and sometimes broader cultural meanings and associations. The pairing of objects within these still life contexts, see family history and natural history combined. Here, the perspective shifts and away from a purely classical botanical and scientific one and evolves and merges into the realm of storytelling imbued with both personal and cultural significance.
The combination of natural world objects with human manufactured objects leads to what DEIRDRE BEAN refers to as uncommon portraits. At a glance they are peculiar combinations; antique spoons sit beside specimens of intricate flowers, a bright red-orange persimmon sits complementary to a fine blue china cup. On closer inspection these quizzical combinations reflect the artist’s nostalgia. The botanical specimens; where they were collected, personal daily associations and childhood memories all hold meaning beyond the purely scientific. Both the botanical specimen and companion still life object play off each other whether seemingly complimentary or contradictory.
The companion pieces in these still life compositions become small windows into the artist’s life and memories.
In one particular watercolour, the beautifully rendered persimmon was actually harvested by her partner from a tree on his property, as has been deftly illustrated on the blue and white porcelain cup within the composition.
In another work a small, fresh branch of eucalyptus leaves is placed beside an old, battered and rusting enamel cup in an iconic mint green with blue rim. A cultural staple and a durable and enduring icon of Australian life in the bush, and experiences of travel and camping with roughed up enamel cups of tea. In these ways DEIRDRE BEAN is able to bring her fine illustrative style, and skilled traditional botanical painting methods into a fresh contemporary practice inspired by the natural world.
Artists in IsolationJanet Dawson, Ashley Frost, Rod Holdaway, Steve Lopes & Ian Marr
9 June - 25 July 2020
Solitude has often been a natural state for artists to flourish. For many, it is a choice and a way to retreat and focus on making art and the generation of ideas. This time of global pandemic, and an age of social distancing and self-isolation has meant a great shift in the way we engage socially and within both our public and private spaces. Despite many artists’ penchant for solitude, these shifts to isolation have greatly impacted the ways artists have been engaging with their art. Artists in Isolation showcases the works of JANET DAWSON, ASHLEY FROST, ROD HOLDAWAY, STEVE LOPES and IAN MARR and reveals how their art practices have continued and even evolved over this time of pandemic induced isolation.
JANET DAWSON’s ongoing desire to explore and expose the resonance of a place emerges in her works of the coastal landscape in Southern Victoria where she now lives. Her small pastel plein air drawings depict her home in the quiet dawn hours. A small painting depicting a bustling street scene of people outside a supermarket highlights the day-to-day public social interactions once taken for granted. ASHLEY FROST’s move to abstraction, and the drive to create this series of abstract paintings comes from a combination of lockdown, cancelled exhibitions and long isolation. Frost feels he is once again painting for himself rather than focusing on creating outcome orientated artwork. He refers to the term Fluffism; coined by like-minded artists to express this return to painting as a flow of creative consciousness. A return to an indulgent dimension of ‘fluffing around’, the Fluffist still maintains the conventions of colour theory, compositional elements and linear spatial relationships within the work. For FROST, this crisis induced shift and temporary movement away from painting for audience and expectation has been missed.
ROD HOLDAWAY's paintings have often reflected the transmutable and elusive nature of social interactions in public spaces. They encourage reflection upon the social constructs and contracts that underpin much of human behaviour in an exposed social context. Isolation has meant these public spaces that are typically the subject of HOLDAWAY’s work have been regularly void of people. This is seen in his recent drawings of public places such as Heazlett Park at Avoca. In these figureless landscapes, groupings of trees take on a haunting human likeness. These particular drawings are made digitally through an iPad; analogous to the ways people have adapted in order to engage with each other and the outside world during this pandemic. An avid traveller and plein air painter, STEVE LOPES finds his practice confined to his home studio during pandemic isolation. His paintings still reflect a yearning for travel and engagement with the landscape. Lopes situates his figures within landscapes at points of solitude and contemplation. The figures appear huddled, downcast and introspective. There is melancholic refrain in this series, as each figure appears disengaged from both their broader surroundings and the audience. IAN MARR’s panoramic paintings capture vast, uninterrupted, and rambling landscapes. Living rurally as a farmer has meant his isolation experience is comparatively less claustrophobic compared to those in urban locations. Depictions of these expansive vistas from the artists perspective looking out from indoor and domestic spaces speaks to this separation from the wider world. Glints of copper peak through MARR’s warm colour palette of these landscapes; appropriately twinkling and glowing with promise and allure as they catch the light.
** There will not be an opening event for this exhibition due to the current and necessary pandemic measures. All are welcome to visit the exhibition during our open hours, as well as view the exhibition online and through our social media channels.
Journey to AdelaideYvonne Boag
4 August - 12 September 2020
YVONNE BOAG is a Scottish-born Australian painter and printmaker whose work reflects the many places where she has lived and worked. Having spent the last 20 years dividing her time between South Korea and Australia, YVONNE BOAG’s art responds to these surroundings through her use of bold colours and forms.
Living in different cultural contexts has informed YVONNE BOAG’s preoccupation with displacement. Beginning with moving from Scotland to Australia and, later, moving between Europe, South Korea, Japan and the Lockhart River Aboriginal Community on Cape York, she feeds off this dislocation and her work embodies the discomfort experienced when you don’t belong. At the same time this experience of place lends a genuine sense of curiosity and hyper-awareness to her art practice.
BOAG’s work becomes a response to new surroundings. Images are reduced to semi-abstract forms that combine areas of colour with line. The results are strong graphic forms that take on the character of signs. The pictures are simultaneously simple and complex. They become conversations between the artist and her context, reflecting the range of responses to being in a foreign place. There is a vivid and immediate quality to her works. Bold acrylics, gouache and oil pastels are used to capture those visceral encounters with new places and foreign vistas. The result is a patchwork of joyous and vibrant pops of colour in each work; radiating hot with energy and a sense of hyper-stimulation, as if attempting to drink in the sites all at once.
YVONNE BOAG was the first Asialink artist-in-residence in South Korea in 1993 and since then has been travelling there regularly creating ties with many South Korean artists and teaching at several of the universities. She has a studio there and the time she spends in South Korea greatly influences her work. A feeling of displacement opens BOAG’s works up to greater cultural influences. They are fresh and immediate; not stagnant in visual language and impressions of subject matter.
The work in Journey to Adelaide resulted from a road trip taken last year. The trip took BOAG through Gundagai, Wagga Wagga, across the Hay Plains, into Victoria and then onto Adelaide through the Adelaide Hills. This trip came about soon after a visit to South Korea, giving rise to quite an intense experience of the stark contrast in seasonal, environmental and cultural encounters. This sense of displacement that resonates with YVONNE BOAG, allows her to approach each environmental context with fresh eyes and genuine sense of fascination that informs the energetic quality of her work. Driving through the Australian landscape in summer, BOAG’s impressions were heightened by the extreme heat and bright contrasting light, which created extreme shadows cutting into the landscape. BOAG became acutely aware of the difference in light from South Korea where it was -17C when she left there one week previously. During this trip to Adelaide, the temperature was 40C. This contrast in experience sharpens BOAG’s approach to capturing the landscape and the heat of the journey.
Mother Moon | MissingEric Löbbecke
15 September - 10 October 2020
ERIC LÖBBECKE seeks to capture and interpret a breadth of personal and broader social experiences and ideas in his works. Delving into the theme of ‘missing’, or ‘what is missing’, the artists proposes an innovative and digitally savvy way for viewers to react and engage to his personal interpretation of this theme and offer up their own ideas and understandings of his work and the concept that drives it. In turn ERIC LÖBBECKE hopes to bring these ideas and engagements to fruition through an ongoing dialogue with the viewers. The works on display are the result of two years in a Masters of Fine Art by Research at UNSW Art and Design.
For LÖBBECKE, the theme of ‘missing’ is twofold; driving both the methodology of his work and the meaning behind it. As such, the works in this exhibition are presented in two parts. First, the idea of what is missing is understood and reckoned with on a deep and personal level for the artist as he interprets the theme through the specificity of his own circumstances. The question is then offered more broadly to the viewers: what is missing? These two components of this body of work are ultimately interconnected and in active dialogue as LÖBBECKE strives to create an active experience and engagement through his work.
In Mother Moon, LÖBBECKE explores the theme of ‘missing’ through his personal experiences and reflections on grief. The work captures a dark time in the artist’s life as he experienced his mother’s ceaseless and seemingly inexplicable grief and constant crying as she hid her terminal illness from him; knowing he would be taking his first trip back to France at the age of 22. The loss of his mother, the absence of knowledge and understanding at this time is all explored in a series of prints from his digital drawings that flow and grow in stages. A poem accompanies these works and is used to narrate the growing digital drawing that is culminated in a 3-minute video work. This video work shows the evolution of LÖBBECKE’s digital drawing that flows with the narration and evocative imagery of his poem as it transitions and is built upon through each stage captured in the prints. The second component of this exhibition is a growing collaborative artwork on the theme of ‘missing’. This work will be actively created throughout the exhibition and will rely on the ideas and stories accumulated from the viewers and gallery patrons. They are asked to contribute in a way that will inspire LÖBBECKE to conjure up a growing composition over the duration of the show. ERIC LÖBBECKE proposes a collaboration of this kind as a new experience for the viewer, being a participator in the outcome. The artist is preoccupied with a civil collective story that emerges from these compositions and the confluence of diverse ideas.
ERIC LÖBBECKE is a Sydney based artist, born in Vienna Austria 1966. His family migrated to Australia in 1973 with his French mother and German father. LÖBBECKE is a cartoonist and illustrator on the opinion page of the Australian newspaper since 1988. He has had three solo exhibitions at NG ART gallery Sydney and has shown twice in a dual artist exhibition in The Holland Park Icehouse, London. LÖBBECKE is currently researching an innovative and engaging working model for artists in the new digital age, as part of his Masters of Fine Art by Research at UNSW Art and Design.
If you would like to engage with the artist in the live creation of an artwork as part of this exhibition, you can visit Eric Löbbecke’s Art Co-Lab and help him grow a drawing with your suggestions for MISSING.
Through ShadowsRoslyn Kean
13 October - 14 November 2020
ROSLYN KEAN has been inspired by the printmaking traditions of Japan since 1985. She has a particular interest in the practice of traditional Japanese woodblock printing from the 18th Century Edo period; with its attention to complex colour schemes and masterful layering techniques. This has led to her contemporary application of a multiblock woodcut printing process for the past 35 years.
This recent series of prints in Through Shadows has been produced in the months of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, in the wake of the disastrous Australian bushfires of 2019 and early 2020. KEAN’s works are contemplative in nature as she grapples with a new sense of space, chaos and states of transition. These works are complex and labour-intensive multi-block prints on Japanese Kozo paper, often involving up to 40 or more blocks layered with exacting technique and form. KEAN’s compositions are at once dynamic and serene; shapes seem to jump out off the page and float in space. The subtle technique of printing gradients gives the impression of shadows being cast by her various shapes and forms within the works.
The meaning behind ROSLYN KEAN’s work is as subtle and layered as the her multiblock print process. Her triangular forms are made in direct reference to Aristotle’s triangles of persuasion using Pathos, Logos and Ethos; the shape becoming the artist’s own personal mode or strategy for communication. The works also reflect elements of nature through the organic wood grain patterns visible within the prints. A minimalist approach to colour and form evoke a sense of serenity and meditation on the landscape. The artist’s ruminations on catastrophic and recent bushfires lends to subtle imagery of charred and burning wood and shattered, shard-like forms; as she considers the lives and homes lost in her community. Yet the works provide a mode of quiet contemplation. Through Shadows ultimately refers to emerging through trying times and reckoning with the aftermath. Through these works, KEAN aims to provide objects and imagery for meditation and finding peace in destructive and discordant times.
Living in the past, presentlyTanya Chaitow
17 November - 19 December 2020
Like many contemporary artists, the consequences of the recent summer bushfires and COVID-19 have been in the forefront of TANYA CHAITOW’s mind. This year of reckoning with such life changing events has emphasised core themes in her work and influenced the evolution and execution of ideas within this latest body of work. For TANYA CHAITOW and her work, the past and present are always in dialogue. This body of work is a continuation of TANYA CHAITOW’s recent Family Matters series. Her themes and depictions of familial relationships continue to be explored through the reinterpretation of portraits and genre paintings by the old masters, including as Goya and Gainsborough. However, Living in the past, presently hones in on and responds to current events within the Australian context of isolation amidst a global pandemic. Striving to combat feelings of despondency regarding our collective circumstances and fear for the future, CHAITOW turns to hope in her engagements with these old master paintings through the vibrancy of renewal, resilience and regrowth of the Australian bush.
This new branch of exploration sees CHAITOW transforming the works of old masters through the use of silhouettes and collage referenced from native flora printed commercial wrapping paper against a charred black background. This suite of 12 works is an amalgam of collage, gouache and acrylic on paper. The old master figures exist void of their original domestic settings and the often-dark interiors. Instead, they stand in stark contrast to a bright, open space; free to flourish and branch out into burst of foliage in their native floral incarnations. TANYA CHAITOW’s process of collage harks back to her studio residency at the Cité internationale universitaire de Paris where she first encountered the works of many of these masters that now inform her practice. She used collage as a means to sample and collate materials and cultural context and reinterpret them into a work. Drawn to works on paper at the beginning of lock down, here again, CHAITOW samples the compositions of the figures using silhouettes highlight and exaggerate the tension and cohesion of figures; whether they are in isolation and distanced or tightly huddled as one amorphous mass, bound tightly together like a lush bunch of native flora.
There is a sense of warmth, tenderness and longing in these silhouettes that reveal very little of the subjects beyond familial closeness; something almost taken for granted when viewed through our present lens after months of prolonged separation and isolation made necessary through this pandemic. Here these genre paintings and portraits of the past stand in for our own past, not so long ago, when such connections were possible. There is a haunting darkness to these figures, but one that is overwhelmed with the vibrancy of colour through the native floral motifs that embellish them. CHAITOW evokes the importance of natural beauty and colour on the human spirit, especially in such difficult times. Her poetic works are charged with a powerful psychological resonance as she explores between the cracks in the hope that through her work, she can share an altered and reassuring perspective on reality.