Thanks to Sally Groom who curated this exhibition.
The exhibition opening was successful with sales and inquiring comments, a poetry reading by Patricia Sykes who composed a poem titled Desert Poet in response to one of my paintings and much discussion about ideas informing our work and the way that Curator Sally Groom created a visual dialogue between the images.
In The last few posts I described how my collages about Lake Mungo, The Pink Lakes, Anbangbang Billabong and Ubirr Rock were constructed. Now they are part of an exhibition at The Art Space, Anglesea, Victoria titled ‘Space and Place : Elaine d’Esterre & Nicky Perkin’. Sally Groom as curator has arranged the oil paintings and prints in a way that emphasises the topic. Insightful analysis of our artwork is a helpful to the viewer.
The last touch to Evaporation at Lake Mungo 3, before Opening night on 11th April between 5 – 7 with live music – guitarist Gavin Cross.
However we are open this weekend and Monday so come and preview the artwork and have a chat with the artists at all times . An additional Meeting the artists session is programmed for 15th April 4-6.
When I compare collage and mixed media compositions with oil painted compositions sharing the same topic, I become aware of how different media often suit particular topics.
In this case contemporary art about the environment and the forces of nature somehow is suited to the dryness of rice paper as well as handmade paper as they become simulations of the earth’s surface and landforms. The dusty terrain, desiccated rock surfaces, cracked salt-laden and powdery surfaces and dry sand depictions, although semi abstracted, seem so much easier to portray with various collages than with the lush textures and viscosity of oil paint. Impasto especially can look too lush when alluding to Australia’s ancient land.
One solution to attain the powdery delicate but ancient bleached look was when I mixed grated pastel into gesso and then applied liberally on top of gesso ground whether on canvas, paper or wood surface. I usually begin with this technique but am often not quite satisfied with the end result so I will keep on experimenting.
I feel as though this small series has ended for now and oil painting is calling once again back to psychological portraits where oil paint is a sympathetic medium in which to portray subtleties and nuanced tonal values.
The final rendition of Anbangbang Billabong with two more collaged digital images. In Journey, 2017, I returned to figuration referencing characteristics of Neolithic Goddess figurines where the creators combined abstracted anatomical elements with naturalism. I let random shapes suggest the presence of anatomical structure onto which I placed abstracted shapes to suggest particular anatomical features.
In Rock to Palette, 2017, I connected a palette image in the lower section of the composition with rock strata simulated and formed from different overlapped paper textures. Over time the formation of oxides complete a journey ending as pigment on a palette.
Once again I overlaid two digital images with various types of paper where my aim was to play with transparencies.
In the first panel the image beneath was reversed with the pen – line outlined image of a palette becoming the site of departure for a metaphorical journey to the artists’ mental underworld of creative inspiration.
The first digital layer looked very different when a sheet of black pastel paper covered figurative elements of the composition beneath. A sheet of rice paper over black made a mottled grey texture of varying thickness within the paper’s texture. I left the bottom half remained much the same except for a piece of rust stained paper harmonious with orange sections of the composition.
An organic appearance of the first image transformed into a combination of abstraction plus elements of the organic.
The collage treatment of my original artwork digitalised into an edition onto printmaking paper continues, allowing strong colour beneath to show through the finely textured rice paper. This effect is similar to an oil painting technique where a thin semi transparent veil of paint can be painted over often flat strong colour as a way to give atmospheric depth to a composition. I love the play of opaque surfaces with tonal atmospheric and nuanced texture and much overlapping adding to the sense of ‘painting with paper’.
Nuanced texture and atmospheric tonal values made from overlapping transparent, semi transparent and semi opaque layers of either paper or paint produce and effect that seem so characteristic of outback Australian landscapes – no glaringly obvious focal points, in-defined shapes, blinding sunlight and obscuring dust haze and quivering mirage obscuring clear any horizon line.
We arrived at this location in the dry season when burning off was in progress making the haze, glare, heat contribute to how I imagined these images as I sat next to the dried billabong with its remnant and dried vegetation transported by wet season floods left caught on sticks and branches scattered across the dusty surface that resembled triangular stooks of hay.