Glorious Descent

Glorious Descent
Acrylic on canvas 60 x 40cm

Monday, December 22, 2014

Window Installation

Candy Parlour: Truffles, Gucci, Chanel, macaroon 2014
Mixed media installation. NANA gallery window

My art practice is an exploration of the subconscious through painting and sculpture. Using an abstract language I create hybrid objects and colourful spacious paintings that are fusions of the real and the imaginary.
Candy Parlour is a biographical work that recalls my experience as a shop girl at David Jones in 2010. As my first job out of art school I found myself living a strange paradox : As I was simultaneously seduced by the fantastical department store and repulsed by its superficiality. I was constantly battling the rule of two worlds, one that lured me with exotic fragrance, candy displays and lush fabrics and the other that bored me with routine and sales pitches. In the assemblage of Candy Parlour I found myself returning to my days of decorative window dressing, though perhaps with a little irony this time round. Interestingly enough I now run a gallery in a former David Jones building - so it seems dreams of some kind really do come true.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Monuments of the Everyman 1st - 31st October 2014

Saturday the 4th of October 2014 marked the opening of Monuments of the Everyman - an exhibition curated by myself and Jacqueline Larcombe at NANA contemporary art space Newcastle.
In this group exhibition artists from across Sydney and Newcastle were invited to create monuments that memorialised the everyday experience. In an exhibition designed to question the hierarchical value placed on certain people and events in society, artists were encouraged to create personal works that would stand in contrast to an exclusionary history.
With this concept in mind I created the work Achievement Trophies. Each of the 26 Achievement Trophies in this work is a monument to an everyday personal achievement. Over a two-month period I handcrafted individual trophies according to the daily achievements of various members of the public. Participants in this collaborative project shared their achievements via text message, Facebook and in person. Despite being made out of valueless materials, sourced from the bin, the Achievement Trophies work together to create an enticing visual spectacle that pays homage to the value and luster of everyday experiences. 

Below is the list of achievements that were featured in the Achievement Trophies and were catalogued in the exhibition program:

                        1.Went to my first theatre audition
2. Enjoyed a productive morning before Uni
3. Sold my first plushie / soft sculpture
4. Dyed 7 black hats
5. Planted an indoor garden
6. Got out of bed
7. Went on a date
8. Made my mum laugh
9. Got a hair cut
10. Peeled an orange in one go
11. Walked around the block on my newly replaced knee
12. Went to Tasmania for the first time
13. Found my stolen Vespa
14. Met my accountant for the first time
15. Repaired a broken vase on a grave
16. Grew my butt after 2 gym classes
17. Finished my road trip around Australia
18. Received positive class feedback
19. Didn’t miss my bus stop on the way to work
20. Shovelled stinky compost without vomiting
21. Taught an 8 year old to tell the time
22. Constructed an IKEA bed
23.Got 28/30 for a Uni assignment
24. Was less than perfect
25. Unblocked the sink.

During the opening event on Saturday the 4th of October, recipients of the trophies were awarded their prize in an informal ceremony. Including Chris Brown (pictured) who received a baton for creating an indoor garden.

Achievement Trophies exhibited alongside works by Rosie Deacon , Flynn Doran and Eleanor Hanlon.

Monuments of the Everyman forms part of the 2014 This Is Not Art (TINA) festival program that responds to the Critical Animals theme:  Possible Futures. The combination of sculpture, site specific work and performance showcased in Monuments of the Everyman can be understood as signposts of the present for future generations.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The World's A Stage

Each month Maggie Hensel-Brown, of The Workroom gallery and shop Newcastle, curates a themed group exhibition. This month she invited me to respond to the theme (all the world's a) STAGE and contribute a piece of work.  I had Conveniently been working with recycled materials and paint, building what I viewed a sort of miniature stage set, in my studio. Scavenging materials from the recycling bin and assembling modest combine sculptures I had been struggling to understand what I was doing other than having a lot of fun. Given the context of this exhibition by Maggie has allowed me to consider the theatrical possibilities of my current work and further my practice as creator of imaginary worlds. As lover of all things circus and mysteriously macabre, of ritual and fancy dress I hope to assume the role of illusionist in my next work and tell the stories that ale place within the plastic and cardboard structures of The World's a Stage. 

You can find out more about Maggie and The Workroom at:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Parlour Fashion for Meroogal House

The Meroogal Women’s Art Prize has been held each year from 1998 and invites artists to submit site specific work that responds to the historic Meroogal House and garden. Located in Nowra on NSW’s south coast, Meroogal is a rare and precious gem. Barely changed since it was built in the 1880s, the distinctive ‘Carpenter Gothic’ house has been loved and maintained by four generations of Thorburn and MacGregor women through the pleasures and labours of daily life. The house still overflows with their belongings – favourite books and ornaments, furniture, photographs, diaries and journals, newspaper clippings, receipts and recipes, appliances and clothes – and is surrounded by a beautiful garden. Each year Selected artworks are sited throughout Meroogal, throwing new light on stories, the people that lived there, and the rich collection of objects that are contained within the house.
Meroogal House

Embroidered cushions in the sitting room.

Orange Shag Pile Rug in the lounge room.

The Parlour at Meroogal House

For this year's prize  I have created Parlour Fashion: A pair of collars that are a contemporary interpretation of the Edwardian collars located in the Meroogal House collection. The design is based on the traditional shape of the white embroidered collar, however is embellished with a variety of materials so as to chart the evolution of Meroogal’s history since the Edwardian era. The selected colours, textures and patterns of the Parlour Fashion collars are appropriated from Meroogals’ interior, including its green walls, pink and orange carpets and decorative floral emblems. Traditional embroidery techniques, beading and crocheting have been applied to their construction, paying homage to the lineage of women who have lived at Meroogal. As the name suggests, Parlour Fashion is designed to be worn in the parlour of Meroogal house on special occasions. 

Domestic Tribal Winter collar.
Recycled fabrics, beads, sequins, bones, feathers.

Domestic Tribal Winter collar (detail)

Australian Garden collar with Feather Epaulettes.
Recycled fabrics, beads, sequins, bones, feathers.

Australian Garden collar with Feather Epaulettes (detail)

Australian Garden collar with Feather Epaulettes (reverse)


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Plushie joins the conversation at NANA contemporary art's latest show

Slither Mince POP
textile, acrylic paint & plywood

Thursday, May 29, 2014

New Work: Secret Garden

Acrylic on canvas 120x140cm 2014

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Drawer Jewellery - New 'Club Collection'

It's been a while between drinks but this Autumn  Top Drawer Jewellery has released a new series of stylish neck pieces that form the Club Collection.
In keeping with its signature art of 'Fine Re creation' the Club Collection features re styled tags and medallions from sport & recreation clubs in NSW Australia. No longer a necessary form of identification these emblems attest to a time gone by and range in date from 1978 through to 1989. 

Like former collections from Top Drawer Jewellery The Club Collection is a clever re invention of a common place item which brings attention to its style quality. Sourced from the debris of a forgotten drawer the unique pieces breathe new life into an otherwise forgotten part of Australian history.

The Club Collection is currently on sale at NANA Contemporary Art Space Newcastle.

Friday, April 11, 2014

New work in group exhibition

Smooth Descent 90x110cm Acrylic on canvas 2014

This month Renew Newcastle celebrated it's 5th anniversary and to commemorate this NANA contemporary art space mounted a retrospective exhibition titled: Out of the Woodwork. 
Renew is famous for enlivening the creative heart of Newcastle by supporting artists and facilitating their creative projects in otherwise disused commercial spaces. Represented by over 16 different works were the efforts of artists, designers, collectives and galleries who have all contributed to the Renew program in the past 5 years. I have been involved with Renew since 2013 when I occupied a studio in a disused office block on Watt St in Newcastle's CBD. In this space I developed the textile work that formed my solo exhibition Hiding Places at the Lockup Cultural Centre in July 2013. When this project ended I became the co director of NANA contemporary art space and opened a gallery in the former David Jones building in Hunter St Mall. 

Smooth Descent is my contribution to Out of the Woodwork and is a significant piece as it marks the beginning of a shift in my practice. Completed in early 2014 it represents a time when I became less concerned with the conceptual content of my work but rather the ability of paint. This is a time when I first asked the question: 'What can paint do ?' On careful observation you will notice that this painting has been made using a wet into wet process, meaning, unlike in previous works where I was concerned with creating deliberate layers and allowed surfaces to dry before painting over, I painted a variety of colours into one another. The reason for this was I was primarily concerned with edges and creating more tonal depth within my chosen colours. 

A pivotal piece for me in 2013 was Clouded Desire, where I first worked all over the canvas completely with my chosen palette. I appreciated the immersive environment that this technique created and how the limited palette allowed one's eye to move slowly around the canvas rather than abruptly from bright colour to the next. However I was not satisfied with the transition of brush stroke to brush stroke, which were quite angular and awkward. Like many of my earlier paintings Clouded Desire was still concerned with colour blocking as if I were creating a design of shapes rather than an environment. In Smooth Descent I set about experimenting with smooth edges, bleeding colour, curving the brush and trying to extend the possibilities of the composition beyond the canvas. This is why I painted the yellow, like a frame around much of the composition, not to contain it but hopefully to suggest that the colour spreads beyond the rectangle. Whilst the colours are still very bright and contrasting the edges between them are softer the shapes have been pushed into one another rather than over the top. Generally though there is a peculiarity to the composition that evolved unintentionally. It is suggestive of a figure and ground and  there is a subtle horizon like. But there is also an all over flatness to the shapes that reminds you that it is just a surface. This tension between depth and surface and indeed the conventions of opposite genres (landscape and abstract expressionism perhaps) entertains me. The fact that these were unintentional effects intrigues me. 

Smooth Descent is the first of a new series of paintings where i have continued to ask what can paint do ? Which has led to experimentation and deliberate actions on the canvas that challenge the direction of the painting. Like in other parts of life, humans have a tendency to stick with what they know, even if we don't intend to, we develop habits and tendencies. Artists are mown experimentalists but even so we can develop practices that can restrict us. I have been known to 'solve' paintings according to techniques that i have used before. Sometimes it even feels like I am painting the same composition again - it is as if the subconscious reverts to what it knows. I am at a stage now where I am choosing to challenge my subconscious into making new decisions by deliberately changing how I apply paint. My friend recently asked me if this scared me as I didn't know what was occurring on the canvas couldn't gauge where it was going. Entering the studio daily I am surprised by what I find but more importantly I feel quite free as I relinquish control. Yes, I am the one applying the paint, but I don't know to what end and rather than painting a brush stroke so as to form something I know I am instead painting a question. 

Smooth Descent can be seen as part of Out of the Woodwork at NANA contemporary art space. 185 Hunter St Mall. Until April 12 2014.

Clouded Desire 120x110cm Acrylic on canvas 2013