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Mandorla Art Award – Finalist!

By New work

I’m so pleased to have been selected as a finalist in the biannual Mandorla Art Award 2024 with my painting “Flood Waters”.

The Mandorla Art Award is a contemporary art award that aims to foster “a relationship between contemporary fine artists and the writings of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures”. Each award has a different theme and is led by a bible passage. This year the theme was “Refocus” – Let all that you do be done with Love (1 Corinthians 16:14).

To engage with this theme I reached out to an old friend of mine who has a deep and committed relationship with his Christian faith. He sent me some reading around this teaching and supported me in unpacking it. I imagined Paul speaking into a community of people who were divided amongst themselves and felt his calling to love and care for each other in unity.

I then reflected on how this value presents itself in my life and I was drawn to the story of the big flood event in my community and surrounds.

Thus, Flood Waters recounts the night of February 28th 2022 when Lismore and the surrounding areas were inundated with up to 13 metres of flood water. In the dark and the rain of this event and over the days and weeks to follow countless people reached out in support of each other in a profound display of love in action. This painting focuses on the dramatic rescues of families stranded on rooftops by the “tinny brigades” – community members in private water craft. This care and support continued as the community assisted each other with cleaning, cooking and accommodation. When St Paul beseeched the people to “let all that you do be done in love” I feel that he was referring to this genuine and active desire for the welfare of others and that our community embodied it in such a glorious way.

I am humbled that this painting will hang in the Holmes a Court gallery in Perth from 25 May – 15 June, 2024.

The story of this flood event is a massive story to tell and I do hope that I have done it justice and that it contributes to the ongoing discussion of how we can be good and loving to each other.

 

Northern Rivers Ceramics Awards 2024

By New work

My ceramic sculpture “Herald” was selected as a finalist in the inaugural Northern Rivers Ceramics Award 2024.

The theme was “ceramics in a fragile world” and I submitted a set of two “angels”.

Angels are a common theme in my work. For me the angel motif developed as a way of coping with the struggles of our modern world with ecological disasters, human displacement and wars. Both the world and my “self” feel fragile in this context.

Angels, for me, represent hope and trust and take me to a place of myth and story-telling which seems to be able to contain both lightness and darkness.

Whilst I was not a prize winner in this award, it was a great honour for me to be exhibited alongside some of the ceramic artists that I admire. For me it represents my development from absolute beginner in ceramics 6 years ago to an accomplished ceramicist!

 

Art Residency – Nobbys/ Whibayganba lighthouse

By New work

Artist Residency February 2023 Nobbys/ Whibayganba

In February 2023 I had the privilege of spending a week working from a studio at Nobby’s lighthouse built on Whibayganba on Awabakal country, Newcastle.

It was a profoundly creative week for me experiencing the windswept location and marvelling at the coal ships coming in and out of the heads being pulled by tugs.

I was intrigued by the multitude of signs within the site – both modern and historic that referred to the safety/ danger of the site and the way that they related to its inherent service as a beacon of guidance and safety. I took rubbings from these signs and integrated them into mixed media artworks.

Later in the year, the Hunter Writer’s Centre who facilitate the residencies put together an exhibition of selected works created during the 2023 residencies and not only were 2 of my works selected for exhibition but one was chosen to be the image used in the invitation and the promotional material.

I call this work “The mighty tugs”and hope that it celebrates the wonderful little ships that guide the great coal ships in and out of the river mouth.

Human Remains exhibition NRCG 2023

By New work

Human Remains – an exhibition/ installation of ceramics 11th January – 5th March, 2023

Northern Rivers Community Gallery

“Human Remains” is a contemplation of the history of human civilizations and the preoccupation of societies to create monuments to and of themselves. Ceramics, with its inherent durability, has endured over time becoming relics and as such is reflective of both the persistence and the fragility of human society itself. Relics can reveal the stories that are important to a culture.

This collection of “contemporary relics”‘ is thus an invitation to the viewer to reflect upon ourselves as a shared experience of humanity, who and how we have been in the past and in turn who we are in the present and wish to be in the future.

Monument to the Wet Season

By New work

     

In 2021 my design “Monument to the Wet Season” was selected by Creative Mullum to be the next installation in the Mullumbimby Scultpure Walk.

This begun a series of months of research, development and production and is now installed.

I imagined the concept whilst sitting at one of our beautiful waterfalls in the Byron hinterland. The tumbling sound of water feels like home to me. The home, here in the Northern Rivers where fresh water is in abundance and at times over-abundance.

I made over a thousand ceramic beads by hand, mostly during pandemic lock-downs. I spent hours glazing them by hand, broken sleep-nights checking that my kiln firings weren’t burning our wooden house down.

I learnt to ask for advice and assistance and with much support succeeded to creating my largest and most ambitious artwork to date.

Visitors to the park have told me that they find the piece meditative as it rotates gently in the breeze and is reminiscent of hanging seed pods as well as tumbling water.

FOREST ART 2019

By New work

Last Friday night hundreds of people climbed a magic stairway into a fantastic Blue world of art, music and wonder.

It was the third “Forest Art” event, born from Brendan Kelly and Claire Yerbury’s creative visioning and sheer physical stamina. This event was designed as a Bower Bird nest, with all works to be blue and proceeds from sales and a raffle to be donated to Beyond Blue which advocates for and supports people suffering with depression.

This was the second Forest Art event that i was invited to exhibit in. I created a series of cyanotype collages which were small and intriguing and not surprisingly featured a range of mythical themes.

The Kingdom of Blue
cyanotype collage
20x14cm

The exhibition is set on Brendan and Claire’s property, and begins with a walk up 98 stairs through the forest lined with artworks.

And some helpful and entertaining performance artists:

The Bower featured more than dozen artist’s work that included painting, photography, ceramics, sculpture, collage and installation.

Brendan Kelly – Captain of the Forest Art ship

The night was enjoyed by one and all who must surely be now anticipating the next one that is already planned for September 2019.

I Thought My Muse Was Dead

By New work

mixed media collage
40 x 40cm

The creative journey makes me think of a long a gruelling overland trek. At times you travel uphill and the view is clouded by strain and one begins to doubt not only ones capacity to continue but even the value of having begun it at all. And then there are moments when one sits alone beneath a starry sky and all of these thoughts vanish into a sense of oneness with creation itself.

I know the value of my work and my creative journey when i look at an image in wonder of how it was made; where did this come from.

This image is dedicated to my muse, the inner spirit that leads me into an artwork and whispers to me the directions of where and how to go. In this image I can see the years of work, the hundreds of drawings, the paintings that i have made and the ones that i have looked at. I can see every moment of doubt and struggle that i have travelled through and I can see how that all build me and inform my practice.

In gratitude and respect for the creative spirit.

Inspiration

By New work

And so I return from a month away with my beloveds, exploring California and the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.

So many amazing moments; inspiring scenery and time for self reflection.

Its time for me now to draw these threads together and lay them out before me in the studio. There is a magic in the unknowing of what will emerge. I can feel the effervescence and now it’s time to trust that that which I have experienced will be present now in what i do and how I am.

Inspiration.

Breathing it all in.

This photo was taken in a small village. It is a traditional Mayan structure. The walls are made from sticks and rendered with mud. I love the hand-made icon and the layered marks.

Women Who Run With Horses

By New work

I’ve had the opportunity to hang some of my artworks in a busy Bakery/ Cafe in Lismore called ‘Henry’s’.

It’s the third time over the years that I have hung here and find it refreshing to place my work in a relatively ‘everyday’ situation. In places like this, artwork can take people by surprise. They are not here to look at art, but may find that they do so anyway, especially of the artwork speaks to them somehow.

This was definitely the case with this piece “Women Who Run With Horses”. This drawing/collage has been with me for a few years now, exhibited but not sold. As I hung it on the wall at Henry’s, a woman at a nearby table began to speak with me. She asked me how it felt for me to sell my work. She listened as I spoke about the gratitude I felt when I found that I had made something that had meaning for someone else.

This woman clearly saw something in this picture. It may have been her daughters, but more likely it was herself. For me, it speaks of the wild spirit of a strong, empowered woman. She bought this piece and I hope that now it goes on to speak to and inspire whoever else sees it in whichever places it finds itself.

A sculptor??

By New work

I’ve had an itch for years that I’ve wanted to scratch.

It was a secret and insistent desire to make sculptures!

Finally, this year, having closed my studio in town to begin working from home, I took another step sideways and made the decision to finally indulge myself.

Hence I joined our local pottery club and not only do I have a studio to use in town, I have access to a kiln and a group of fun and inspired potters.

Its been a few months now of experimentation (I’ve given myself a year to be a beginner) and slowly I am becoming clearer about the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of this new media.

 

 

Hand built ceramics are the first step in my intended process. Once pieces such as this one above are fired and glazed, I will be building them into mixed media pieces and installations.

Stayed tuned as finished pieces are unfolding!