Transformation & Tradition
Galleries 1 & 2
4 - 22 November 2015
Opening Wednesday 4 November, 6.30-8pm
The Black Saturday experience has been an important inspiration for my work but this year I have moved into a new position.
Wondering where to go next, I have explored traditional printing techniques such as Mokahanga (Japanese woodblock) and lithographs as well as returning to oils and acrylic along with my watercolour to release the images burned deep within me.
Using charcoal from the Black Saturday Fire has added a satisfying dimension of connection.
Earlier this year, the Dax Centre at the University of Melbourne included me in their exhibition From The Fire. The process of selection included the examination of my emotional reaction to the fire: how I had reacted with my art was seen as an important part.
This meant I personally revisited my experience and memories. At the opening night of From The Fire, I felt a certain closure and the recognition that I am in a new space.
I am still deeply immersed in the post fire landscape, but feel differently, not so much of the pain of loss and the terrifying experience but an understanding of the acceptance of the cycles of this landscape and seeing the beauty and complexity in the returning plants.
This landscape in which we live is threatened with great changes forced upon it by the demands of a modern world. Fire is part of this landscape and the flora and fauna have adapted to survival but not to the destruction caused by bulldozers and greed. The wild flowers are so tough and often go unnoticed. But the care needed for their preservation could symbolise our way forward on this continent. To see these flowers we must slow down , take time, value these small plants and value the significance of this experience.
My visit to Kyoto Japan in October focused on Mokahanga. I attended a workshop with a master, visited traditional shops selling Mokahanga prints as well as businesses making their paint, brushes etc. Showing at the National Museum was a fabulous exhibition celebrating 400 years of Rinpa. The Rinpa style started in Kyoto and the whole city was celebrating with both traditional and contemporary exhibitions. Japan has a unique culture of respect that permeates all aspects of life. This respect affects their attitude to each other, the love of beauty, design and nature, the seasons, gardens and rocks.
Being in Kyoto has revitalised my love of the watercolour and it's evocative power. In the 1970 I studied at the Museum School in Boston with a Japanese Master, Kaji Aso, and now I find myself exploring the values he taught; to be understated and let the medium speak.