My studio has been emptied with the opening of my exhibition STILL. Thanks to all who came on the night to celebrate. It’s on for another couple of weeks in Tablelands Artists Cooperative Gallery (t.arts Gallery, Bathurst), so if you missed it you are more than welcome to come and have a look. Here is the essence of my words spoken on the night ...
‘I would like to say a few thanks and indulge just a little too - to share with you some of my thoughts behind this exhibition.
Firstly, thanks to Heather Dunn who is one of the Members of this Gallery (as am I). Thanks for opening this exhibition. You are such an amazing giver. I feel really privileged to be in this venture with you. Thank you.
And with Heather stands another 10 terrific Members past and present of t.arts Gallery. Without this group there would be no exhibitions here. This group (and their better halves too) put in so much behind the scenes time and expertise and energy. Just a few of the things they do include building walls (thanks Greg and Pete – amazing job) and plinths, setting up systems, organise media, hanging exhibitions, create graphic design and labels and all the food. But the big thing is - all of that together gives this Region this rich cultural venue, from the community which helps builds community and also helps lots of local artists. None of these Members get paid for all the time they put in and they all put in 100% and work so well as a team, which is why we are all here 3 and a half years after our beginnings on Russel Street.
So a big thanks to t.arts Gallery Members – Claire, Greg, Heather, Judy, Katrina, Louise, Merilyn, Nancy and Nicole. And our two past Members - thanks Emanda and Margaret.
For this exhibition we have also been so fortunate to have Christine Porter and Henry Bialowas performing. This is only their second performance as a duo together. We are just hearing the tip of the iceberg tonight with these two – thank you so much for all the years you have put in, for being here and just your pure giving.
And with the production of the Catalogue – a big thanks to Corey Tatz the writer. Your writing is beautiful, seamless, a journey in itself. I feel so humbled to have you write for the catalogue. Thank you so much.
And I also just want to mention that we are so fortunate to have a great art supply store here in Bathurst. They go out of their way to help. Thanks Kerry and Ben.
To my friends and family – thanks so much. A big thanks to Mark, and Caitlin, Ty and Bridget. I certainly wouldn’t be in this position without you guys. To give you a sense of the support Mark gives – I resigned from a 20-year career in conservation management just over six months ago to jump off the cliff into an art idea and head to uni too – all with his backing and then I get him to make plinths as well – you are gold, and I’m just crossing my fingers.
So of the works. The drawings and paintings in this exhibition are all stills life or have still life in them – where I have set up objects and lighting in my studio to base my work off. Apart from my red bag and red shoes, the objects that feature – the skulls and dolls are borrowed. So I do need to say a big thanks to the generosity of my children’s Great Grand Mother Elise Burden and also to our local ecologist Ray Mjadwesch. This body of work builds from my still life project from last year whilst studying painting at the Australian National University. Through this project I also spent some time at the National Australian Wildlife Collection – so thanks to the CSIRO staff too and thanks to National Parks and Wildlife Service staff too.
Now I’m happy for you to see and feel and think whatever comes to you when being with my work. But what was I thinking in creating this body of work? Quite a lot really. I don’t think my brain stops very much. I’m thinking about the land and the animals, I’m thinking about our impact, our management and the future. I’m thinking about loss and hope. I’m thinking about our society’s narratives about our Australian experience and our natural world. Of the books that we read to our kids – from May Gibbs Banksia Men to French fairy tales like Charles Perrault’s Little Red Riding Hood. I’m thinking about how we have used symbols across the ages in art and in life from ancient to contemporary times. Of the rich Aboriginal art of today and yesterday and of the prehistoric art in the caves in France that date to 40,000 years ago, where a sense of the animals of those times still survive through these amazing artist depictions. I’m looking forward to seeing them one day. I am thinking about artist lineages and of shared human experience and expression. I am thinking about the local bush around my studio and of my walks each day with Nim. And it is here that, I have been taken in by a particular gum tree. These sculptural works in this exhibition are greatly inspired by the new growth leaves of the Blakeley’s Red Gum. They make me think of little balloons – of hope. And I had a little help with these - swim carnival style – thanks Sonia and Loloma and thanks Mark too. And when painting I am thinking about composition and colour and mark making always. I am thinking about how I am depicting these objects that appear in my work and how they can be interpreted – and so I am thinking about you. I’m thinking we are just having a conversation.
So to all of you who are in a conversation with me, and to the givers and makers and supporters – thank you.
This exhibition is very early in my art career – it is just solo exhibition no. 2, and so I am still exponentially learning and finding my language. I hope you get something from this exhibition and this great Artist Run Initiative. Thanks for coming.’