I am finally gearing up for my brief exhibition this year, and am feeling slightly overwhelmed. There just isn’t the time to put into writing this blog that I imagined I would have, which is such a shame. I feel uncomfortable scribbling something roughly and putting it up for the world to see. I want to take time and care, and nurture my words and my images before I share them.
And yet, we have to make do with the time we have available…
The exhibition will be at the Balmain Watch House on June 21 and 22. It will be titled: Touching Nature. And it is a joint exhibition with my mother, Bianca. When I decided to collaborate with my mother who works in acrylics, we had to figure out what theme would join our art. For me, especially, I didn’t want to create a disjointed narrative. I have never coped well with two entirely separate works in the same space at the same time. By the same token though, I didn’t want people to walk away with the sense that mum and I were indistinguishable.
Because we aren’t.
As the younger generation, I guess it is even more important for me than it is for mum to be “independent”, “singular” and “individual”. I want people to look at the works and understand the incredibly strong bond between mum and I. But I also don’t want them to see us as the same artist.
In practical terms, we differ in the realization of our artwork: I am a digital photographic artist, and a camera and Photoshop are my tools. Mum works with paint, brushes, and rags (among other things). Our art has similarity in that we both work in the abstract and the expressionist, yet what we achieve is frequently very different.
Then I hit on melding mum’s work with a series that I had been playing with for some time, mostly as a way to return to my “digital” roots. I love the creation of digital artwork. I loved it even before I seriously started working in photography. Could there be anything more wonderful than taking an image, and transforming it before your eyes as you work?
My half of Touching Nature uses digital techniques to alter a simple in camera landscape and change viewers’ interpretations of it; pulling out it’s abstraction and it’s mystery and laying it bare for the viewer.
The unpredictability of natural events and how we react to them had an incredibly strong influence on me. Many of the original images used to create these artworks have been taken over a period of years, but how I viewed them and what they meant to me has changed unbelievably over the last few months. The fires that swept through Winmalee and surrounding areas where I live this year had a profound (if in many ways fleeting) impact on my treasured local landscape, and those of us who live in and around it.
This is the amazing nature of the Australian bush – fire tears it apart, and then rebuilds it. This is its enduring cycle, and we humans are the interlopers.
Many of the landscapes in this series are shot from the air as I flew to the Northern Territory. Here the changes are on a geological scale, and yet thanks to the recent rains I witnessed the rapid, stunning alterations of Lake Eyre when the water comes. There was so much inspiration to take from these almost alien scenes, extremely abstract in themselves and so expressive.
I felt that this unusual conglomeration of images with landscapes, wildlife and macros was the right fit to team up with my mother’s work, for she has such a personal appreciation of the world around her. Starting with her compelling sense of clouds so masterfully demonstrated in many, many of her works. Her ability to focus her own experience of the air and of the land onto canvas is joyous. She too works in atmosphere and mystery. She too seeks to express the emotions that the world makes her feel.
I hope that you can come and join us for the weekend in June. For those who can’t (and to entice those who can) here is a sneak peak of the images that will be displayed:
The Salt Lake 1
The Salt Lake 2
The Salt Lake 4
The Salt Lake 3
Fog Over the Moorlands
Lazy Hazy Hour of the Day
A Change is Coming