Thank you to Corey Tatz for writing the STILL Catalogue essay.
‘A Voice That Was Still, by Corey Tatz
It is blisteringly hot on the drive out to Napoleon Reef, situated on the outskirts of Bathurst. With the car windows down the air is dry, carrying with it the scent of eucalyptus, and dry grass. The parched landscape has a hazy, sun-bleached appearance. The light lends itself to a palette of dusk rose, pewter blue, and creamy terracotta.
When I arrive, Nic Mason is at home with her kids, and there is a contented flurry of work in progress. Nic shows me a series of sculptures that will feature in her latest exhibition, Still. There are a dozen or so round vessels lined up on the large kitchen table. They are translucent, delicate, and fragile. Yet they resemble something robust and utile - a vehicle for food, a bowl to eat from, a feeling of being nurtured. The bowls are inspired by gumnuts and eucalyptus leaves that are observed in abundance around the property during daily walks with her Kelpie, Nim.
In the studio, an original goldminers cottage, the oil paintings are taking shape. The paintings read like a cautionary fairy-tale for adults. Her narrative speaks not only of Australia’s wealth of unique, varied, shy, and painfully beautiful wildlife, but also gently reveals her concern for environmental decline.
The walls of the studio are interspersed with finished pieces, as well as canvasses simply painted in blocks, or grounds of colour. Nic looks constantly for new techniques to develop she explains, “My use of painting grounds is a result of terrific guidance from my supervisor. This has led me to search for and experience greater richness and layering in my works adding a sense of time, a hint of something before, and where a buried mark can be lost and found”.
It takes time to absorb her work, and to let the narrative speak. The red bag with brass locks and leather handle is full of hope. Is this a journey, a destination, new beginnings, or maybe a farewell? A series of skulls from both introduced and native species - stacked on top of one another like an evolutionary timeline that is about to topple. The dolls borrowed from Nic’s husband’s grandmother are comforting, but also unsettling. A tinge of melancholy prevails. The animals depicted throughout her work reveal eyes that convey intelligence beyond their childlike bodies.
Nic has a profound and deep connection to the land, of our cultural history and a great love of storytelling, fuelled by a rich background in conservation management. Her work struggles with tension between hope and loss. This is communicated through the symbolic use of still life objects to convey meaning, and stimulate discussion. Her works raise a myriad of questions, trigger memories, surprise, and foster the imagination, inviting thought and reflection.’
Time has been stolen and you can still see my STILL works up for one more day - a new last day Monday 13 March 2017 as the change-over in the Gallery is occurring on Tuesday this week. You can also catch these STILL works online on my website here …
And here is a link to some more musing, the boiling kettle by Corey Tatz …