27 very different responses to this elusive subject. A great way to end the year!
The new September-October exhibition at Jing Jo Gallery features the Southern Highlands photographer, Chris Sutton. Chris has a lovely feel for the abstract in his surroundings. It demonstrates his point: “The challenge for any photographer is not just to show what a place or subject looks like, it’s to convey how it feels. A sense of place can be purely derived from how it looks, but for most people it comes from experiencing the place, what the weather was like, the light, the sounds.
“In recent years I’ve worked with a widening range of photographic techniques to show how a place feels to me. As I’ve done so, my images have evolved and many now inhabit a space between realist and abstract, but no matter what technique I use for a particular image, the goal is to express what it felt like to be there. As a consequence, I’m less concerned about technical perfection and more focused on the story and emotion of the moment. The tools I use to realise that goal are whatever I have to hand, and both cameras and phone serve equally well.”
Chris’s works in the show are drawn from several photographic inspirations: people, flowers, wild light and architecture.
Paintings and photographs by local artists with Kangaroo Valley as the theme.
The May/June exhibition at Jing Jo Gallery is be a solo show by Shoalhaven artist Jim Birkett. Many of you will know of him from his long association with the Bundanon Trust.
Jim has been making art all his life. He says of his beginnings: “I was born in Cumbria in the North of England and many of my weekend teenage years were spent exploring the mountains, lakes and fells of the English Lake District. Walking the landscape, sometimes in wet cold weather, enabled me to come to terms with the harshness of the terrain but also the beauty. My legs became tired making it to the top most peak of a mountain but the sensation of conquering this mass of rock was most rewarding. These explorations in my youth helped me to understand that the physical experience of the land is more rewarding than just taking photographs. This has led me to rely on experiences and memory as well as imagery in my artwork.
My experience of the Australian landscape especially the Shoalhaven is different to the Cumbrian one. The stunning rock escarpment along the Illawarra, the Jervis Bay coastline.”
This show will contain recent drawings and paintings. Of his work he says “Some works will be based on a broad understanding of landscape but others are motivated by my investigation of personal imagery motivated by travelling through the environment and my reliance on memory.
I can walk on a beach and be inspired by the crabs digging holes and throwing sand out in circular patterns to driving down a road and being influenced by the double lines and broken lines in the middle.”
Jim has taken part in many exhibitions in the past decades, and his most recent solo show “Embedded in Land” was held at the Shoalhaven Regional Gallery in 2017.
Born in Australia and having grown up in South Africa, Eve Smith is inspired by beautiful countryside and animals. She has been painting watercolours seriously for 12 years and has undertaken workshops under several prominent Australian artists. Eve moved recently to the NSW South Coast. Everywhere she looks, she wants to paint.
Exhibitions of drawing are few and far between. This show at Jing Jo is thus unusual. Linda Dening is a regional artist who specialises in drawing (in a variety of media, including collage). Her sculpture “Hairbrush” won the 2016 Meroogal Art Prize. In 2016 she also won the “Illuminate Art Prize” in the See Change Festival in Huskisson and won people’s choice in the 2016 Braidwood Regional Art Prize, Several well-known valley artists have attended Linda’s drawing classes and benefitted from her expertise.
Linda Dening graduated from the City Art Institute now COFA in the 80s. She has worked as an artist in the Shoalhaven area for over 30 years and as an art teacher at Nowra TAFE for twelve years before teaching drawing/art privately from 2013. Linda exhibited in the See Change Festival at Jervis Bay during May and June 2016.
Of her work she says: The direct quality of drawing, the physical act of making a mark and the process xand layering of mediums connect, for me, with what is fundamental in art. I am interested in observing the natural world, particularly the land where I live, and reinterpreting it in a way that draws on elements of the landscape and imagination.”
Linda lives in the Braidwood area and when not drawing she can often be found with her dogs at dog trials.
Jing Jo is delighted to be presenting her work in a solo exhibition.
A series of images painted by Sue Johnstone Prescott will impress you with their luxurious colours and intensity. Sue conjures a sense of mystery with her abstract elements in her landscapes.
Gary Steer is a multi-award winning photographer and film-maker who has deep connections with Kangaroo Valley. In fact he was one of the team of photographers who took shots of the inaugural Arts in the Valley way back in 2007. Jing Jo is proud to present his photographic work and we’re sure his images will delight our customers. Of the exhibition, Gary says:
“When I first used a camera it was like discovering a third eye. It made me more aware of things around me. I looked at the world in a different way. The camera concentrated my attention on the environments I was in.
I would imagine the landscapes within a frame, shift the frame about until it looked pleasing to the eye. Then CLICK and freeze the moment of time.
I began my professional photographic life taking still photographs. I was particulary interested in wildlife and, since animals are living, breathing, moving things, it was not long before I started shooting movie film to capture their behaviour and spirit.
I worked in independent documentary film production for about 25 years, doing cinematography, research, scriptwriting, directing and producing. This involved much travel and I never have recovered from the wander virus. There is no known cure for this ailment but, like homeopathy, little doses help to relieve the symptoms.
Now I am returning to still photography and more travel – all good medicine.
A group show where artists from the region explore the concept of “green”. It’s a very varied show, with oils, watercolours, gouaches, prints, photographs and works in fabric. Come and have a look!
Its been a good year for KV artist Myriam Kin-Yee who having decided to enter a few of the local art awards, met with pleasing success. She was especially delighted in winning 2nd prize in the BDAS (Bowral & District Art Society) John Copes Portrait award this September for her portrait of Martin Wesley-Smith.
Myriam was pleased to also win the BDAS Pirtek Still Life award in July for her painting ‘The Gift Again’, a prize which enabled her to attend a much desired Summer Workshop at the famous London Slade School of Art where she could hone her figurative painting skills in preparation for her planned re-entry into portraiture work. The models held the same pose during the whole day (with breaks of course) for an entire fortnight, a rare occasion for an in-depth study.
Myriam comments on “Through the Looking Glass” (a portrait of Martin Wesley-Smith)
To me, Martin is the friendly, kind, quietly spoken, witty, at times mildly ambivalent and always hospitable Kangaroo Valley neighbour with whom to share a drink or dinner.
To the public, Martin is one of Australia’s leading and much awarded composers. His work has been described as ‘eclectic’ and ‘kaleidoscopic’, spanning from children’s songs, choral music, chamber and orchestral works, operas, electronic compositions and audio-visual pieces to name a few.
A passionate champion of human rights, Martin is well known for his politically inspired works. He has been a teacher and mentor to many of Australia’s acclaimed contemporary musicians. There is also a large body of work influenced by the life, ideas and writings of Lewis Caroll, hence the title of the portrait.
Martin often works with his librettist brother Peter. I would love to have portrayed the twins, but having focused mainly on still life in recent years, I found that challenge a little too daunting… definitely for next time!
“The set up of the flower paintings is a conscious controlled act by me. With Martin, the set up was already there. It was his environment, his work place. The fabric on the sofa reflected his deep interest and travels in cultures steeped in spirituality, the small carvings from New Guinea and East Timor whose political plight plays an enormous part in his music and operas, the quirky Tuba and layers of music papers and folders, the darkened and quiet room magically lit from a truly beautiful outside environment, and countless other associations… they were him, his creation, his spirit… all I had to do was try and transpose all that onto my canvas, the poetry already existed in the environment which was an extension of Martin. The fact that I personally know and admire this talented, kind and quirky man also helps.”
To complete the trifecta, Myriam’s painting ‘Portrait of an Intruder’ was chosen as a finalist for the Meroogal Women’s art prize exhibition, organised by Sydney Living Museums. The entrants were required to respond to the house, the garden and the amazing collection of objects of the historic Meroogal House in Nowra. Myriam’s painting shows her own reflection in one of the curious and beautiful objects stored in the pantry. The first prize was won by the enormously talented Linda Dening, also a wonderful drawing teacher to at least 5 of our Kangaroo Valley artists… in the family, so to speak!
Making art is predominently a solitary pursuit, so it is sometimes a relief to be able to reach out and belong to these various art associations. Meeting up and occasionally working with the ‘like minded’ can be inspiring, guiding and certainly supportive. If you support these associations, they support you right back. The BDAS for one, is an incredibly pro-active centre for the Arts, which not only organises yearly awards but has great facilities where one can take workshops as well as give them, attend interesting and quirky fund raising functions to name a few services.
From time to time one artists find another artist with whom they feel ‘simpatico’. Myriam and Githa Pilbrow like to paint together ‘en plein air’, and on November 9 their first duo exhibition will open at the Jing Jo Gallery.
Githa Pilbrow’s painting ‘The Guardian’ was chosen as a finalist for the Shoalhaven Contemporary Art Prize exhibition in the Nowra Shoalhaven Regional Gallery last year, organised by JBBarts (Jervis Bay and Basin Arts) another very active and worthwhile art body…
Titled ‘On further reflection’ this show will run for the months of November and December. Both artists were part of the group exhibition ‘On Reflection’ in the Palm House, Sydney Botanic Gardens earlier this year, and at the time it seemed like a good idea to bring the show down to the valley for local exposure. Githa however, just about had a total sell out… a problem, but a most enviable one!
A selection of 18 works inspired by Kangaroo Valley, ranging from an aerial photograph of the valley mist to an abstract study of bark. That such a beautiful place inspires artists is no surprise.
We’ve had a lovely set of works submitted for this show. From oils to watercolours to drawings to acrylics and the occasional photograph. Come and have a look and be cooled!!!
Claire Elsworth is self-taught artist and picture framer who will be exhibiting her work at Jing Jo Gallery (in the beautiful Kangaroo Valley) from January 6 to February 28, 2016. The exhibition is called “Transitions in Reality”.
“I love painting so much – it’s my life,” Claire said. “Every painting evolves from a combination of where I’m at inside myself, what I see and how I see it. Every painting becomes a world in itself – each painting is different in style. Feeling is my medium – feeling and imagination creates a unique reality which becomes the painting.
I paint recognisable real subjects and also abstracts. My real love and freedom of expression comes from the abstract.
I’ve had difficult issues to deal with inside myself and am slowly emerging from a social phobia and depression, which has dominated my life from the age of seven years old. This has caused me to eparate myself from people in general.
Now I want to ‘come out’ and make myself part of the world I live in. This exhibition is part of that emergence.”
A group exhibition of paintings, drawings and photographs of flowers or floral themes.
A group exhibition of works featuring the colour Red. The show runs until the end of August.
An exhibition starting during the 2015 Music and Art themed Arts in the Valley. A special collection of the photographs of guitarist Leonard Grigoryan was included.
This exhibition explored the colours associated with Thai royalty, as a tribute to our wonderful chef Chai.
Water has been an appealing subject for artists and photographers since time immemorial. This is a group of works by local artists with this theme.
Australia’s vast salt lakes and wild desert landforms have been captured in a stunning series of aerial photographs by a photographer from the South Coast of NSW.
Damon Smith, based near Berry, two hours south of Sydney, is a film maker, photographer and adventurer who usually has his feet firmly planted on the ground as he explores the wildest places on earth but often he also has his head in the clouds…. literally.
Damon pilots his own small aircraft, one that he lovingly built himself, and this enables him to capture amazing photographs of the earth from above.
He has recently completed a stunning series of aerial photographs of Australia’s vast salt lakes, remote deserts and wild coasts. To do this Damon chose only the days that had the weather and light he was he was seeking, often just after storms had moved through, with clearing fog and golden morning light. Even so this may have meant waiting in one location for days before the right elements of weather, light, landform and beauty to come together to allow the creation of a superb image.
This unique and beautiful image tells the story of receding flood waters across a vast salt lake in the remote Australian outback. Damon has captured a view that few people see for here there are no roads. Ground access is virtually impossible and the only way to see this scene is just after sunrise from the air.
At this magic hour of revealing light and calm air, there is beautiful clarity and superb colour, shape and form to be seen in the landscape from above.
After almost 30 years of traveling the world’s wild places making adventure and wildlife documentaries for National Geographic, the BBC, Australian Geographic and Australian commercial television stations, Damon is happiest photographing in Australia. “There are no border guards with sub machine guns, the people are friendly and I can travel for thousands of kilometres without hindrance. There is incredible diversity in the Australian landscape: from mountains to deserts, from the tropics to snow. There are superb wilderness areas, many only a few hours travel from or capital cities.”
As befits an exhibition in a cafe, here is a show by local artists with food as the theme.
A solo show by Kangaroo Valley artist Archie Zammit-Ross.
At 17 Archie joined the Air Force for 9 years, and then studied art at the National Art School in Darlinghurst, as part of a returned serviceman’s scholarship. He completed an internship in conservation and restoration at the Powerhouse Museum, and worked there for 8 years. He went into private practise as a conservator of the built environment and worked on many heritage buildings in Sydney, including the Grace Brothers buildings and the Capitol Theatre. He was also working with Waterforms International, making public fountains to commission. He worked on Taronga Park Zoo animal enclosures.
Archie has had a long-standing involvement with the East Timor and West Papuan resistance movements, and has staged exhibitions for these causes, including a major show at the Tin Shed Gallery at Sydney University which was sponsored by the Fred Hollows Foundation.
Archie moved to Kangaroo Valley in 2000, where he has built a house and studio. He is deeply involved in the natural world, which inspires his art these days. Archie has also spent many days creating artworks at the Sydney International Piano Competition, as music is one of his greatest inspirations. He was an Education Officer at Bundanon for four years, and teaches Christian meditation in his spare time.
Githa PIlbrow won first prize in the 2009 Arts in the Valley competitive exhibition. Her work has been shown several times in the Shoalhaven City Arts Centre (most recently in the NOW exhibition in June 2015), as well as the Strokes and Hogarth Galleries in Sydney and the Powerhouse Museum. She studied at at the Julian Ashton Art School and the City Art Institute. She creates works in pencil and also paints in acrylic and oil.
As an artist having lived in Kangaroo Valley for some years, the surrounding escarpments, river, hidden valleys, have had an influence on her work. Githa mostly works ‘en plain air’ in the elements painting the landscape, trees and at times insects.
The south coast is a favourite place to find Githa painting and drawing, especially Jervis Bay and surrounds. The strong landforms, light, big sea and sky are all challenging subjects.