My solo exhibition Paintings within Paintings has left the studio (or the family room – as the case was - I wanted to work in the house where my people and life are and where the concrete floor accepts my paint splatter and warms the pooches).
These works and more shown here are being hung at Project Gallery 90. Paintings within Paintings is on from tomorrow 27 May 2021, so I must thank Katie Hopkinson-Pointer for allowing me this opportunity. It is my first solo exhibition in Sydney.
My Home residency program is proudly funded by the NSW Government through Arts Restart via Orana Arts Inc.
I’m in the pointy end of my Home residency. All my works for my Paintings within Paintings solo exhibition at Project Gallery 90 are finished and the catalogue for this show is now up on the Project Gallery 90 website.
Rebecca Wilson writes “In this body of work, armchairs and suitcases often take on the qualities of what would otherwise be the ‘sitter’ in Mason’s constructed scenes. Pieces of furniture hold their place, almost exerting a personality as they create conversations and tensions between the other objects within the works and the viewer is invited to interpret this discourse”.
It has been terrific to be able to work with a writer for this catalogue. She made me think and re-think and work hard with her pointed questions. – thank you Rebecca. A painter and author, check out The Kate Kelly Collection on the Rebecca Wilson website.
My Home residency program is proudly funded by the NSW Government through Arts Restart via Orana Arts Inc.
This weekend just gone I popped out to Art in the Park, Bathurst stepping in for Rachel to do the meet and greet and supporting Heather Dunn pictured here giving a plein air tapestry demonstration – yes you heard it right – plein air tapestry is a thing! I know it looks nice here but it was C O L D. Gold stars to all! You can check out more of Heather’s doings on her website https://www.heatherdunnartist.com.au
Art in the Park, Bathurst is an artist initiative, a free community event open to the public that runs on the third Sunday of the month from 2-4, currently meeting on the banks of the Wambool, Macquarie River. Monthly details are posted on their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Art-In-The-Park-Machattie-Park-Bathurst-650769108393752
I’m grateful that I was able to present at last month’s Art in the Park. It was there whilst giving an art demonstration/presentation about my Home residency - painting my paintings back into my paintings that one of the attendees there reminded me of the concept of the image repeated in itself. Being also reminded of the French term mise en abyme by Project Gallery 90 (where many of my Home residency works will be soon as part of my solo exhibition there opening on 27 May), I also remember being awakened to this term on my French residency in 2017. There, I began to paint still life like framed set ups in my work, before returning home to paint my paintings in my paintings. But thinking about this concept, it’s been niggling with me for a while. I remember playing with this concept in photography when my first born was just a baby and she’s an adult now. It’s good to get out and chat and exchange.
My Home residency program is proudly funded by the NSW Government through Arts Restart via Orana Arts Inc.
.There are many benefits of putting in a grant application including doing some concerted planning at the beginning of a project and putting together a calendar. It’s great to be forced into it because then it gets done!
And with this calendar it seems I am on-track timewise at this point, which is a relief because I have actually struggled to be and keep on track in this residency with of course the rest of life happening. I am very grateful for my family, friends and work – all those around me for making some allowances – thank you!
I have also continued on a track conceptually, revisiting works from previous residencies and program and re-working them into my new works, where new dialogues have emerged. Painting paintings in paintings has led to some experimentation and play both: connecting the original painting within a new composition; and with meanings within the works. An example is: what happens when you mix a regenerating eroded landscape with mining scars with an interior such as in ‘Mulling expedition’ (on the way on the easel in this image above)? Can placing a chair in-front of a landscape painting suggest that the artist is or for the viewer to: think about the concept of landscape. Can such a painting connect concepts of nature and culture?
So fortunate to have this current opportunity through Orana Arts offering their Restart Grant to regional artists across NSW. It is really helpful not just for the financial assistance but for the structure it presents keeping me on my own meandering track.
This program is proudly funded by the NSW Government through Arts Restart.
I continue painting paintings from previous residencies in paintings during this Home residency and this week a few of my works from previous residencies arrived at destinations new.
My Bundanon residency work ‘A Rhythm of wombats’ has travelled to Montsalvat for the Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Art 2021. Truly delighted to have this work selected for this prize and chuffed that it is with the mix of amazing artworks there. Thanks to all there and I must say thanks to Anna Glynn who will represent me at the opening. We’ve been in a shared residency before with Art of Threatened Species. She’s pretty good at pinking it up and you can check out some of her amazing work on the Mt Kaputar Giant Pink Slug here https://annaglynn.com/ArtOfThreatenedSpecies.html The Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Art opens 6 May and runs to 1 July.
With this work on paper out and about, I return to search for the strips of water colour squares that I pre-prepared in 2019. Finding three left, I start to think about what next will appear on these during this Home residency of mine.
And an older work of mine from another residency – my Centre d’art Marnay Art Centre residency in France 2017 – came out of the studio to hang out closer to home at the new Platform Arts Hub Blayney. It seemed apt to pick ‘Pigeon Down’ (image here) as one of my works for the ‘At the Station’ exhibition on until 30 May at this railway platform gallery. I came across this dead pigeon on the first day of that residency. At the end, it was given a good farewell back by the river by the artists from this shared time .
Revisiting my blog archives from this time in November 2017 brings back memories … “ My studio at this residency in Camac, Marnay-sur-Seine has been packed up and I have gone (nearly) … I am sure to carry with me many experiences like the rush of the launch of the pigeons from the tower above, the bells chiming on the hour and half, the slow whoop of the swans as they fly by my window, the amazing food and good wine too, the earie closeness of the nuclear power plant, the what must be 400 year old oaks up the hill, the spiral stairs up three floor climbed daily, the shooters presence, the marks left from centuries gone, the immenseness of my studio and amazing side tower, the journeying with the wonderful group of artists from all corners of the globe and the locals too, who so warmly welcomed us to the fold, but most of all I think thanks to this time, this place and these people, I will take with me the sense that I really have been in the present.“
This Home residency program is proudly funded by the NSW Government through Arts Restart via Orana Arts Inc.
You never know what will happen when you put your doings or ideas and creations out into the world.
My first Instagram post about this Home project did something so wonderful and unexpected. It prompted Jen, one of my treasured buddies from our honours year at UNSW in 2019 to send me a connector thread through the aether. So now we are in this Home residency thing together apart, me here at home and she in her home exchanging ideas and images and helping to motivate and keep each other laughing. I love so much of the ambiguity and creative juices she releases into her work. Some of her work can be checked out here https://www.instagram.com/jenfriendland/
I’m also sharing always back and forth with my cousin Kiata Mason, whose work is a treasure trove, currently at A K Bellinger Gallery and is featured in Still Life a book by Amber Creswell Bell just a couple of days ago. You can check out her work with these current doings and more here https://www.instagram.com/kiatamasonart/
There’s a back and forth with Wart too who’s on fire with her flamingos from our time together during our Bundanon Artist in Residence programs. They are planning an outing with her solo show coming up in June 2021 so watch out for notice of their flight https://www.bundanon.com.au/residents/wart/
To be part of supportive structures and communities and connect with amazing artist people has been such a valuable thing in the residencies and programs I have been part of. And I’m feeling it here in this Home Residency, buoyed by amazing regional artists from this neck of the woods. So yummy to be included in an egg tempura making session just up the road last weekend, my first dabble – cheers all.
To be with a posse of people connecting, sharing, making me think and re-think and warming me up always is too good. And so fortunate to have this current opportunity through Orana Arts supporting regional artists across NSW. This program is proudly funded by the NSW Government through Arts Restart.
To paint my paintings in my paintings I have set up still life and interior ideas in front of me here in my home. But with the much yearned for duck away for a couple of nights of family camping with friends and pooches came the opportunity to play elsewhere. We travelled from Wiradjuri country through Dharug country to Gundungurra country and I brought with me a little painting I had painted in a residency in France back in 2017. With assistants all round, my little painting was installed with tents in view, in the hall, by the canoes, on the outdoor seating, hooked on the gate and positioned in the trees.
With this idea I will be taking a painting with me to the up-coming Art in the Park, Bathurst event this Sunday 18 April at 2pm till 4pm on the banks of the Wambool, Macquarie River near the corner of River Road and Stephen’s Lane Kelso. Art in the Park is a monthly artist initiated activity on the third Sunday of the Month, free to the public, where any and all can come and create.
Here I will be sharing about this series of work I am creating in this self-directed Home residency program. More on this event can be found here:
This program is proudly funded by the NSW Government through Arts Restart via Orana Arts Inc.
In looking at some of the work I had created over the last five years, I decided to paint some of my older paintings in my current paintings. Here, I’m painting a scene I set up in the house with a chair and a stool and the idea of a work from before.
In looking at past work, I found when I re-drew or re-painted, the act helped me remember ideas or feelings or learnings or understandings gained from the time before. With this work, I remember painting the original painting featured in this painting and being enlivened by making loose line marks that created the bag and shoes of the Bilby. And so I continue this play echoing loose lines into the marking and the making of the chair. And I like the disruption left where the wall interrupts the legs of chair. Sometimes painting is a joy.
This program is proudly funded by the NSW Government through Arts Restart via Orana Arts Inc.
I’ve started a new project / series of works here at home where I live and work in the Central West in Wiradjuri country.
Over the last five years, each year I have undertaken a residency or ‘residency-like’ program. I was incredibly fortunate to be able to be at my residency/internship in Indonesia last year arriving home in February before all the Covid-19 border closures. For this year with the world in pandemic mode I have wanted to be here, so I haven’t looked at residencies elsewhere.
So for Home my current three month self-structed residency like program I am here at home creating a new body of work. No doubt I will continue to be informed by my background in ecological sciences and my current domestic life. To begin, I have been taking stock of the work I have created through my past residencies in Indonesia, France and Australia. The image here is a recent ground I’ve painted on a canvas ready for some more layering to come.
I’ve also been hanging out with what’s happening in this neck of the woods. A few happenings just gone have included the Blue Too exhibition of MAPBM artists at WAYOUT in Kandos https://cementa.com.au/wayout (where hanging out with some yummy artists at Rylstone’s 29 NINE 99 yum cha mmmmm was way good too) and the viewing at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery of Rebecca Wilson’s Myth Making Heroes and Villains along with JUST NOT AUSTRALIAN. https://www.bathurstart.com.au/exhibitions/past It’s soooo rich in regional areas, with regional art and regional artist’s and their initiatives.
My residency will climax with my first solo exhibition in Sydney, at Project Gallery 90. Woohoo!
I’m also chuffed to announce support from Orana Arts and Create NSW. This program is proudly funded by the NSW Government through Arts Restart. Thank you
After the batik making workshop this week here at Babaran Segaragunung Culture House (BSG), talk is on the table to meet up later with newly made workshop friends Kay and Suranto. The thought is to meet up at the opening of the Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing in Sydney, where a series of my drawings of wombats from my last residency (at Bundanon) are rising from their burrows deep in my studio back home so they can hang out in the mix of all the others works from elsewhere. I look forward to both.
But for my last weekend in Indonesia, I have taken a solo trip from Jogja through Solo to Candi Sukuh at the foothills of Gunung Lawu. It is a 15 Century temple I have heard much about during this time at BSG.
As the mist rapids in, I think of the ‘unseen’ and intangible world and the rich stories of Bima from the Mahabharata Sanskrit epic, depicted in the stone relief in front of me (that is the logo for BSG and in this image above). I focus here on my exegesis for this ACICIS program, Breathing Furniturewhere I write:
“… My drawings also began to morph from their initial plein air searchings to integrating creature shadows suggestive of the kancil, the endemic Java mouse deer (Tragulus javanicus). With its cleverness painted in Indonesian fables, I sought the kancil out at Gembira Loka Zoo, Jogjakarta. In learning that this creature is also categorised as “Data Deficient” due to lack of information of its status on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, I think it fitting that the kancil became just a shadow in my work. Creature shadows occupied my mind through the wayang kulit shadow puppet shows with their morphing of characters such as the Giant Kala Marica who assumes the form of the beautiful golden deer through the Sanskrit epic of Ramayana as experienced at Sonobudoyo Museum, Jogjakarta. With many morphing of the chairs’ shadows, I am also reflecting upon the connectedness of nature and culture in Javanese philosophy …”
There is some reflection happening and no doubt much more of this will come in the months ahead. This ACICIS Creative Arts and Design Professional Practicum has been a great opportunity for me to be mentored by extraordinary established international artists and work collaboratively in this cross-cultural setting at BSG. My engagement skills have been refined and my outlook massaged by my learnings attained through the sharing of Javanese philosophies at BSG. I am grateful for this growth experience and I hope to integrate these learnings within my life and practice as an artist. I have been left with a deep respect for all those at BSG and hope there has been mutuality in this exchange. I look forward to ongoing creative connections born of this time.
With this practicum coming to an end, I have a sense of joy that my Honours year at University of New South Wales will be complete. The plan for the next chapter is to just to stay put for quite a bit with my loves at home and creatively outpour my learnings and reflections from my Honours year and ACICIS program. I look forward to being back home with my people and creatures and I’m thankful for them joining me on the beginning of this tale. So with this chapter closing in, big thanks go to all at BSG especially Nia, Ismoyo, Ika, Fina and Ibi. Thanks to ACICIS and Universitas Sanata Dharma especially Elly, Oci and Dhea and all in the Sanata Dharma Language Centre and the cohort too - it has been awesome to be on this journey will you all. And thanks to the New Colombo Plan Mobility Grant.
It was not until this week, my fourth week here that the air cleared and I realised the view from my balcony at Babaran Segaragunung Culture House sees directly to Mount Merapi. Excited, I walked back up the road. It’s a trek worn before, by the morning walk, saying hello and enthusiastically answering questions in my Bahasa Indonesian (born from the terrific intensive language learning stint at Universitas Santa Dharma as part of the ACICIS program) to locals out and curious of my being here. I make it to the rice field views of Merapi and once more, I pose for the obligatory group shots and selfies that I am randomly included in again. Only a few days after this image above was snapped, I woke to the news that Merapi had erupted again. It was hardly noted by those from these parts. And I write in my last ACICIS program Reflective Journal, Week 4 submission other impressions too:
“Through this internship / residency I have become more attuned to nature and culture and their oneness. Some of my impressions of this place have included the aesthetics of the dragonfly posed on the wall behind Ismoyo as creative process ideas are shared; the chorus of the frogs competing with the layered sermons of the three mosques encompassing; the chirps of the feasting flock of white-bellied munia or pipit padi interrupted by the bells and bellowing of the rice paddy worker; the belly of Mount Merapi under me as the unidentified four explosion like sounds suspend my late night writing; the plop of fish back in the lotus pond below meeting the hooves on the pavement ahead; the wind encountering the windchimes as the nangka, jackfruit crashes to the motorbike ensemble; Pigeon collecting the weave from the basket for the dubious nest balanced on the turtledoves cage roof; the lightning lit sky illuminating the dance of the microbats over the batik clearing; and as the gecko barks loud from the eaves, my sleep takes over readying me for the nongkrong of tomorrow.”
Each weekend I head out to experience more in Jogja and beyond. The street art is incredible. Do check out the work of the local, international artist Anagard: https://www.picuki.com/profile/anagard_stcl
Above is an image taken in the historic Taman Sari area of central Jogja, where I spied this 2018 ripper by fellow Australian Westhepants, Sesuatu yang bisa mengontrol which translates to ‘some things you can control’.
And I’ve been hanging out in nongkrong style with students from here and home – such good times – thanks all. It’s my new favourite word and doing. Like the Angkringan I wrote about earlier, it’s part of the make-up of this place, and is all about socially being, taking time and connecting.
A must read is Sonja Dahl’s Nongkrong and Non-Productive Time in Yogyakarta’s Contemporary Arts http://parsejournal.com/article/nongkrong-and-non-productive-time-in-yogyakartas-contemporary-arts/
The artists and thinkers coming here to Babaran Segaragunung Culture House (BSG) are diverse. It’s a hive of activity with the weekly cultural study groups, the English language group, the interns, the artist who just turns up and the artists coming daily to make batik. Such a privilege to get to know a little of so many of the artists here as part of my internship project and see some of their incredible work. With Desmond W. S. Anabrang, it’s a treat to work together on some studio photography of textiles; and how to get a good shot in daylight too. I’m also on the computer colour matching images to their textiles. You can see some of the textiles created for Baragung, the support system for BSG here: https://baragung.com/collections
I continue with my daily drawings. And I am beginning to see how I am being influenced by this place, its people and stories. My charcoal sketches metamorphose from their plein air stance to incorporating shadow play. Through experiencing the wayang kulit, shadow puppet show at the Sonobudoyo Museum; in thinking about the Javanese philosophies of connectedness of nature and culture; and from my zoo journey checking out the kancil, the Javanese mouse deer, kancil like shadows are appearing in the shadow plays of my sketches of the charismatic furniture of this place. My first little shadow performance from a stool drawn here is captured in the image above.
Rambutan is being consumed in excess too. It’s my favourite fruit of the moment, but more than that, their dried skins will be used to make a natural dye for the batik textiles here. I can’t wait to use the dye too, as a fluid ground for my sketches to come.
Unusually for this time of the year the rainy season is holding off – seemingly strange and noted by all. And unusually for an ACICIS program, my internship has become a residency as well.
Not just a work placement, I have been warmly welcomed and fully immersed in culture and life residing at Babaran Segaragunung Culture House (BSG) here in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. At BSG, I am falling for the resident baby. Ibi, just a few months old sets the scene and the rhythm with her presence. And, I start a daily drawing practice; writing daily notes; documenting this time, place and people in photographs; and a reflective journal that will be submitted each week as part of this ACICIS program. I begin my day hanging out continuing to learn some Bahasa Indonesian and swapping some English with the local student interns here.
Artists Nia Fliam and Agus Ismoyo of BSG dedicate sessions with me focusing on the creative process through batiks, their stories and histories, and of their motifs with their embedded meanings and related philosophies. Told through looking at the ancient semen batik motif, I hear about the concept of Tribawana, of the three worlds and begin to sense some of Nia’s and Isomoyo’s ways of seeing, thinking, feeling and being. I feel incredibly privileged to be in this place of cross cultural dialogue with Nia’s and Ismoyo’s open generosity. You can see and read a little their extraordinary cross cultural collaborations here: https://www.brahmatirtasari.org/exhibitions.html
In Yogyakarta, Indonesia I have been walking the streets and sitting on the mat with fellow Australian Consortium for ‘In-Country’ Indonesian Studies (ACICIS) student Meg checking out Angkringan. We will present upon these for a project of ours in this Creative Arts and Design Professional Practicum (CADPP) program https://www.acicis.edu.au/programs/practicum/ through Sanata Dharma University that we are undertaking. Angkringan, part of the cultural fabric of Jogja, cater moveable feasts of local specialties and oft help connect any and all with their egalitarian seating set ups. But like the mix in so much of life, there’s a diversity of scenes and stories too from the isolated vendor in the quiet street to the bustling lights where the third generation angkringan vendor tells a little of her story of an inherited angkringan life from her mother and her grandmother, before her.
It’s been an intensive couple of weeks. The days are split learning Bahasa Indonesian through the terrific Sanata Dharma’s Language Centre at Universitas Sanata Dharma mostly in the mornings followed by experiencing some of Jogja’s art scene through seminars and fieldtrips, aptly organised by ACICIS staff Dr Elly Kent and Oci, Mutiara Cininta (thank you / terima kasih!). To give you a little taste here’s a link to just one treasure visited – the Indonesian Visual Arts Archive http://ivaa-online.org which is such an amazing online and physical resource, documenting arts activity and sharing knowledge through art in Indonesia’s post-Reformation era.
From the start, ACICIS paired each participant student with another (so much laughing with you Kelly) and an Indonesian Student Liaison Officer (where gold has been hit with Dhea by our sides - makasih). This has all helped the ache of saying goodbye to my family as they voyage home after our stint together here.
I'm looking forward to seeing all my people and the creatures back home but I wish too that I had longer in this Sherman Studio at Bundanon.
I’ve packed up my work on the three projects commenced here: whilst settling in - painting interiors of Bundanon with all their creature things; the daily rhythm of my charcoal impressions of the wombats of Bundanon and; my still life paintings, each with a mix of objects from here and from home. I’ve been pairing the likes of squared wombat poo with measuring ducks; a wombat skull from the paddock with one of my kids toys and an old kitchen scale; and a red kitchen mincer with an old man banksia cone left round the side of the studio from an artist before me - its discovery felt somewhat like a bargain find from an op-shop. Its previsous life a mystery to imagine.
My background in conservation and land management is with me as I create these works, I’m thinking about some of the science: of measuring and weighing, figuring out what’s happening and how to live with this land. I’m enjoying the play of objects and their linkages to science, the domestic and our natural world. And leaving the wombat skull here, where the wombat lived and died, I imagine that Doug too might snippet these remains into one of his works from this place.
Each day Writer Karen Viggers generously checks in to see my progress - another strip of wombat rhythms from the afternoon to the walls. She shares some of her process too, and her immersion in science as well. Being a vet is in her bright mix of tricks. This Bundanon residency is her second, this time she’s working on her fifth novel. And it’s not only fiction and animals for her, she’s up for an essay too. Check out her Mountain Ashed in the Griffith Review …
Along with the mum and bub wombat from the burrow under the Sherman and the plethora of wombats of the paddocks (with over 30 spied in one standing), I will treasure the people from this journey. Thanks to the volunteers and staff, in particular Julie and Jen. and all behind the scenes at Bundanon Trust. Thanks to Authur Boyd and his family and the First Nations peoples on this Wodi Wodi land. And cheers to the other Artists in Residence of my time here. To Karen, Doug, LinRan, Tim, Maggie, Ashley and Wart, it has been so rich hanging out. I look forward to seeing and listening and reading what comes next from you all.
We found ourselves out with the rising of the full moon over the Bundanon landscape, Doug Helsop was plein air thinking … and drawing too, I was in my rhythm of appreciating a wombat, this time following the moon. Doug’s fully responding to and questioning this place on Wodi Wodi land, with its layered histories and linkages to the work of Arthur Boyd and Sidney Nolan too. He's sharing some honest and critical thought. You can check out some of Doug’s work through this link …
With some of the artists here, I have also headed to Arthur Boyd’s studio and into the Homestead, an incredible gift. Brushes still out you get a sense of its use just yesterday. Although I suspect it would have been a tad messier. To respond to Arthur Boyd’s vision and grow its legacy, Bundanon Trust have plans to build a new gallery and collection store, along with expanding the education facilities at Riversdale, the adjoining property. We were treated to the Architects event, a conversation between the Architect, Kerstin Thompson and Carolyn Baum. I was won over by the plans and their connection to landscape, flood and fire and the existing Murutt Art Centre on site – a complimentary difference.
We too were treated to an immersion into the Bundanon Trust Collection by Collections Manager Jennifer Thompson. Gold, were her wealth of stories of and tangents from the artists and their works ... from Joy Hester to Arthur Boyd’s collaboration with Indra Deigan on the West Java legend of Sangkuriang. Sangkuiang clutched my interested, not only because of Jennifer’s retelling of Indra Deigan take and the Arthur Boyd’s depictions of its gripping narrative but also for my imaginations of there. I have just accepted a Professional Practicum in Indonesia for 2020 – more on that later. And generously Jennifer brought out some other Artists in Residence works who have responded to wombats in this place. The poem by Chris Wallace-Crabbe of the Aesthetic Wombat, on the typed paper from when he was here in residence in 2002 was a decent find, just one of the archival treasures of this store.
Pictured here, we are in the Collection spying: Sidney Nolan, Head, 1983, spray paint on canvas. Bundanon Trust Collection.
On impulse I grabbed a few treasures from home on my way out to here in Bundanon. Included were my broken red boots that travelled back with me from my French residency. The idea of painting my red boots back into a new work was cemented when the wind stood still and musician and producer Tim Oxley poignantly sung one night for us his lyrics to his song Boots for my Baby. He had us in stitches too with his goldilocks antics in the musician’s cottage. Launch into some creations from this gem of an Oxley here …
There’s been lots of ducking in to each others studios to check out the progress here at Bundaon. This pic was taken in the Gonski Studio where we were checking out Wart's wall of eyes to be and her Ibis and Flamingos well on the way, an endearing flock, they are.
And I've loved that LinRan has joined my consortium with the wombat’s and painted some of her own on some of the watercolour squares I shared. She has been working here on some exquisite Chinese paper and fans with some surreal imaginations and a kangaroo mention too. Instillation, performance, photography, painting, poetry - she does it all. Check out her website here …
The first night of my wombat followings, my fellow Artist in Residence, Wart came through with the goods, she was on the lookout as I was too for the rising of the wombats out of the burrows all around.
I’ve started some quick gestural drawings in charcoal on series of watercolour squares of these characters. My first muse, spied from my window, was drawn in the cosy comfort of the studio. And then moving too far away, I braved the roaring winds and sat a distance away in the open paddock with my charcoal and paper. I’m sure, I’m not the first of my kind that this being has had to put up with - what are all these people’s intentions?
Every evening since, I have headed out with the wombats and followed one or another, or a mum and bub, or simply sat on the veranda as I sketch their nibbling and scratching. Sometimes they are still enough that they almost become a ‘still life’. Especially when they sense something - they embody statue mode, nose raised and body poised. But mostly they’re constantly moving a little as they munch and scratch. I hear they have a treatment program here for the mange … they share with foxes, whose wafts haze the walk here to Haunted Point.
I’ve also spent time just hanging out with the wombats during the day, sometimes in the paddocks as they munch away with a superb view to pulpit rock, the landmark repeated through so many of Arthur Boyd’s paintings. But even if you were not communing with the wombats here, you would not be able to miss their presence, or absence even, for they leave their mark - their squared poos … strategically placed on the fallen branches over the path, on the low plinth of the bronze sculpture, Genesis by Lenore Boyd in the homestead garden, on the time ravaged wombat skull in the paddock and on the welcome doormat to the writer’s studio. Where there’s an audience, there’s a way.
Inside that writer’s studio, is Maggie Haertsch. She cooked a most delicious roast and shared some of her everyday at the moment. Aptly, with her work, she’s writing on her phone in her bed and her morsel shared has left me on the edge of my seat. A Bundanon regular, her last time here, she produced work with Centenarian Eileen Kramer, the writer, dancer, painter, costume designer and choreographer. Through Maggies eyes, here is day 5 of Eileen at Bundanon …
To settle in I started a few small paintings situated in the interior of the studio, getting familiar with this place and its things, moving them around, watching the soft and startling light, thinking of the others who have shared this place and bringing some of me in too.
I found some old man banksia cones collected no doubt from somewhere near here for someone others project of this place. They were left around the side of the studio, laid with the time ravaged droppings by the resident wombats. I’m surprised a wombat hadn’t already left one of their squared treasures on top. Any way too good to pass by I bought them back into the studio – they may just weave their way into my work too.
And it’s the people too that settle one right in. With a message out for a get together on Wart and my balcony, what followed was studio visits. The first to Ashley Frosts. Such a treasure to see how others work and respond to a place. I loved how he was capturing some of the light of this place and we aligned a time for a combined portrait session later. You can see a little of his project here ...
But our portrait session was not to be for my ducking off to my open studios at UNSW Honours became an extended affair. The fuel pump decided to go in an underground car park – not a recommended thing to do. Extraction, I have learnt is what roadside assistance call this complicated scenario. But luckily for me a saviour was nearby. And so, as car time panned out, I lapped up the treat to draw Louisa Chircop whist she worked in her studio on her next exhibition. She too has had a residency here at Bundanon. Head here see some of her masterful works of painterly surreal imaginations with their layered collisions of representation and disruptors ...
I have arrived for my Bundanon Artist in Residence stint. Serendipity weaved its way on the waves on 702 as I drove across the land, with a segment about just one of the creatives in the artistic dynasty of the Boyds - Arthur Boyd’s cousin, Architect Robin Boyd. He brought architecture to the fore mid last century with his innovative small house designs and the book The Australian Ugliness, criticised at time for being unpatriotic. Now, its legacy is much regarded.
And also, in the folded time of that drive was an interview of an artist and scientist collaborating. It offered me a moment of reflection upon the art science project that I am currently involved in, Art of Threatened Species (AoTS) and my connections with my science specialists Deborah Ashworth and Michaela Jones. I went out monitoring brush-tailed rock-wallabies only last week with them again. Incredible, they have both worked with this population with a few others for the last twenty years. The population of these creatures at Jenolan has grown from less than 10 to around 100 during this care of theirs. On that trip, I spied a quoll too and named one of the new brush-tailed rock-wallaby’s, a T name, as is the convention, so Tegan with Tiko and Trish now bound out there. And just this morning on the drive here, I pulled over the side of the road to hook in for the latest AoTS meeting with some of the other players. It is a collaboration between (the then) Office of Environment and Heritage and Orana Arts. In November there will be an exhibition stemming from project opening at Western Plains Cultural Centre. You can check out some of the project here ....
It links to my project here at Bundanon, along with my project at Honours at UNSW. Really all my work links in some way or another to each other. My specific plan here is to be open to influence – to be influenced by my time in Bundanon where I’ll continue to paint and draw, and start a new body of work, a snap shot from this place and time drawing upon my work to date and feeding into my work of tomorrow.
Of here, I arrived about the same time as Wart. We are under the same roof and I feel a descent level of comfort and warmth through the laughs and shared stories already. You can check out a little of what she’s up to with the Ibis here …
Of first impressions, there is a book on the coffee table Wombats of Bundanon Twenty Australian Poets (eds. C Kelen, S Zijiang) and a mother and baby wombat have just wandered out from the burrow under our building, checking us out nonchalantly as the newbies in this place. In my first happy snap here of this place you can see a mum and bub - the wombats in residence. Nim, my four legged friend left behind at home would be beside herself. And of home I’ve also left lots of meals cooked with love back in the fridge and freezer for my loves left there. I miss them all already.
This Bundanon Trust Artist in Residence program is at Bundanon in the Shoalhaven, on Wodi Wodi land, a generous gift from artist Arthur Boyd and his family. I am with him when he said “you can’t own a landscape”. There are four visual artist studios, a writers cottage, a musician cottage and a dance studio. If you ever want to check out this place it’s open to the public every Sunday …
Thanks for having me Bundanon.
I’m in the home run straight, in the lead up to my solo exhibition, BALANCE at the CSIRO Discovery Centre Gallery in Canberra, opening next Wednesday 18 July at 5:30 pm. Works that have been contemplated for a while have been revisited and new works are hot off easel. I have been working in the house where the fire cranks and Nim’s comfy on the chair, for my studio is a tad breezy in its rustic ways.
This exhibition, only my third solo affair, is a little different to my last two. This one has a mix of works from a few series over the last couple of years. There’ll be works from my days studying at the Australian National University where I spent time at the CSIRO Australian National Wildlife Collection, some from my time in France at the artist residency at Centre d’Art Marnay Art Centre CAMAC and others from my continuance of works here at home and in my studio. But they all link together through my contemplation of environmental loss and hope. There’s a clear focus on still life experiments in these works where I play with objects, their reflections and shadows.
If it’s up your alley, do come.
In a dalliance with Movers and Shapers at the #yellowboxartistresidency in the Sofala region, I found some of my kind (not always an easy thing in this often remote-inducing vocation) and spent a couple of days painting out in the open with a bunch of other suspects appreciating, questioning and investing in the landscape of the Central West.
Understandably, I was not the only one to inspect the dumped black car in the tussock and bush (on the way in my painting above). What was its story and what will come of it? Maybe it will be painted in years to come as well, when it’s just a mere skeleton, when I am long gone, just like the rusted and bullet ridden skeleton of a dump I’ve been eyeing off for another painting just a hop and a skip away from my studio in Napoleon Reef. I imagine that some of the series of kids that once played in this other dumped beauty would be grandmothers now. And speaking of painting in Napoleon Reef, the last two days have seen me sitting outside of my studio, painting some more of the white gums that fill me to the brim. And I’ve been painting plein air with a table now, after ditching the easel. A welcome tip garnered from avidly listening to Maria Stoljar’s Talking with Painters. A genius and gem of an interviewer, through her authentic enthusiasm and genuine interest for what each of her interviewee artists are up to, she somehow has me right there too, as each artist shares generously, a total participant. But back to my plein air affairs, in between the jaunt to Sofala and the stepping outside in Napoleon Reef, I gave an Artist Talk on my French residency experience, to the brave who came out in the gusty chill to the monthly plien air event, Art in the Park, Bathurst.
So, it has been five days of plein airing it up, but of course, other stuff has peppered these days like they do every week. There’s been the sharing with my cousin Kiata Mason, to talk shop and create side by side in the open air and in my studio too. I’ve packaged up and sent off my Calleen Art Award finalist work. I’ve viewed the pics of my portrait of my man in the line-up along the wall right now of the SBS Portrait Prize in Melbourne (it’s not easy to get everywhere) and I received the good news that other work of mine will be a finalist in the Fleurieu Biennale of South Australia. Thrilled I am by the lot of it. I re-read the latest contract to be signed about the residency project I am jumping into with a bunch of scientists and artists – the Launch being next week, which all means the details of my trip to the Capital next week are being refined. And with this trip I’ve set up a meeting to view an exhibition space there too and also a Gallery Director’s visit to my studio later here as well, with the planning of two shows in the pipeline. And relief is in my pipeline too, for I’ve finalised that I’m delivering my longest commission, a figurative work in just a couple of days now. It’s good to chalk another line through the list on the studio blackboard.
I applied for a residency whilst on my last residency in Camac, Marnay-sur-Seine, France. It was one of only a couple of major planning things that drew me away at the time focusing on what was in front of me in my studio. And I’m glad I did as I have been notified of my acceptance – no doubt I’ll let you know more on that one later. I hope that amongst some meaningful art that comes from this new residency project, some connection grows with the group selected too. One thing that I took from the residency in France was not only the learning that comes by being surrounded by a group of artists but the bonding too. The six portraits shown here, were created during some intense days at the end of the residency, of those who were left and who hung out together in the studios at the top of the 16th century monastery. These paintings were created ala prima in quick sittings. I didn’t know but I had been priming myself to do them, as they came on the back of over 40 pencil drawings I had also created, on the old French literary cards from this place, of the artists and locals in this place. Looking at them now remind me that constantly drawing as well as placing limits on your work can be a good thing – these portraits were painted in just hours in one sitting each, because that was all there was. And in fact a half of them didn’t exactly sit. For I painted them as they worked too.
And of bonding, one of the artists in residence with me at this place was Katherine Grace Bond. Her studio was next to my living quarters and her warm heart made me calm from the beginning in this new place. She is a writer, and was the only one amongst the plethora of visual artists at the residency. One of her gifts to us was her generous writing and reading of this piece to all of us at our open studios event …
Thankyou Katherine and thank you too to Carlos, Sandra, Daehyun, Daniela, Ana, Christian, Jakub, Charlet, Augstine, Mathilde, Laétitia, Karine and Melanie.
I have landed back in my old stomping ground and I feel centred. The feeling of how much I love my home and this land has been cemented by my journey away. After a pause and a big breath in, followed by being blinded by the light and basking in it too, the landscape around me has taken hold. Here, I am again taken by looking at the 100 year re-growth of the woodlands. In Napoleon Reef, quartz reef gold mining took place after the Frenchman Pierre Pourot discovered gold in the early 1860’s. https://nrwgra.com/history/sydney-road-passing-walang-public-school/
The eucalypts that are growing out of the gold mining depressions now, clearly show great resilience to this disturbance, but who knows of the specifics of the patchwork of biodiversity that once called this place home before the gold rush. The image of my painting here is one of my most recent works, from a spot just a walk from my studio. There is an ease and comfort to be back painting what is around me here.
There are many great things that I carry with me from my time in France and I hope the little morsels that I left behind keep giving to those who have them. Although some bits just feel like a time warp, there’s newness here as there’s newness from where I have just been. One thing is for sure - change is constant. For the family we stayed with in the south of France have moved already (happy house warming to you!) and the residency I participated in, I hear has ceased to be. Running for almost 20 years it was both a gem for the locals of Marnay-sur-Seine and from my experience and those who shared this time with me, terrific for the artists. From what I have heard, December 2017 saw the last artists welcomed before the sale of the 16th Century monastery and property. I know this will affect the locals, the staff and so many of the artists who have created in this space. I feel for all those who were heading there in 2018. I have no doubt my European friend Daniella Melzig would have shared there again. She was one of the artists in residence during the time I was there. She was working on a program with children from the region enriching this place and its people. She also shared with us some of her works on film and glass, where she prints with ease and with nostalgia and poignancy – no mean feat. Do see some of her doings here …