Thursday, April 10, 2014

In the studio

I've been sitting in my studio chair a lot this week, far too much really, staring blankly, thinking, more thinking. Procrastination, distraction, reading, virtual activity, more thinking. Then at night waking, scrawling down ideas which seem, at the time, if I may say, brilliant; and then in the morning - well I get the idea, but there's a whole lot of questions and doubt and unresolved areas - in other words not so brilliant. And so it has been for the last two weeks, so many ideas, too many ideas, trying to untangle them, sort out the meaning, isolate, refine. In some ways I'm trying to construct finished works in my head, trying to resolve the material, concept, application, scale, site position, etc. And as I know from experience, ideas in my head can only take a work so far, at some point the physical work has to begin - the process. Through the process of making, ideas can be refined and developed, one aiding the other. So I finally made a tentative start today, applying gesso to some panels which by the afternoon I decided I wouldn't use for the idea I was thinking of working on. But actually it was helpful, one step on the way to where ever this work is going. So now I'll wait to tomorrow and start again.
If you are looking for some distraction yourself, I listened to this video today of a talk by artist, Alexis Rockman. He paints works which are ecology based.

Nicola Moss, studio work in progress.

Monday, April 7, 2014

My new look art update

For a few years now I've been emailing an art update to the lovely people who have joined my website mailing list and added their details to my guest book at exhibitions. The update covers my latest news with what's on show, residencies, my studio and projects, along with exhibition invitations.
Over time the mailing list has grown and become a bit harder to keep track of manually, so I made the decision to start 2014 with a new format using Mail Chimp. It seemed like a good time to refresh my mailing list as well and confirm everyone was happy receiving it. If you were on my mailing list hopefully you received my invitation to join again.

The first edition of layers of life @ nicola moss for 2014 went out today. Thank you for all the lovely replies so far. You can read it online here, with options to subscribe for future updates if you like.

Now, I must get back to making.

Friday, April 4, 2014


 Have I mentioned how much I love books and reading? As a kid it was the yearly MS Read-athon clocking up the book titles. Then lists like '50 books you must read in your life', which did bring me to some classic favourites - here is one such list, though not the one I started working through. More recently I've been drawn to biographies and historical texts along with travel, food and contemporary art. A few years ago I headed along for the first time to the Lifeline Bookfest held in the Brisbane Convention Centre. The event is now a regular and anticipated date in my diary. The Bookfest alternates between Lifeline and Vinnies, roughly every 6 months. My first stop is the out of print book section, where I've picked up gems like 'Hillendiana' by Donald Friend and countless other books. I take my green shopping bags with me and decide it's time to leave when I can't carry any more weight....there's always next time. So a new bookshelf in my studio would be of no surprise, or the fact that is already full!

A few recently read texts are pictured. I'll never look at a Vermeer painting the same way again after reading 'Girl with a pearl earring' and I'm eagerly anticipating our first trip to Japan later this year.

Happy reading.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Jean's Garden - Hill End

I've been looking back over some of the photographs I took of Jean's Garden at Hill End, during my residency in 2012. They are a kaleidoscope of vibrant colour, spring blossom and organic forms.
The painting I titled 'Jean's Garden (Hill End)' has been selected for the 2014 Calleen Art Award, on show at the Cowra Regional Art Gallery in New South Wales. The award exhibition will feature paintings by artists from around Australia and opens for viewing on Saturday 3rd May. I'm not sure that I'll get to see it in the flesh, but if you happen to be in the area, the show is on until the 15th June.

I wrote earlier about Jean Bellette and some of my experiences of the garden at Haefliger's cottage and Hill End here. The painting image is there too.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

New work

'Resource ecology (Heritage - Trade)' detail, ©2014 Nicola Moss. Synthetic polymer paint on hand cut paper, 140cm diameter. 

It's all happening in the studio and well over due for an update here. Several projects have been on the go, with a Public Art concept design developed in January. New hand cut paper work being made in the studio during February - March, and a successful residency application which I'll talk about more once I receive the all important confirmation paperwork.

The image above shows part of a new mandala paper cut work in progress last month, it's titled 'Resource ecology (Heritage - Trade)'. Perhaps you can decipher the current issue it reflects on.

More news soon.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Skywhale by Patricia Piccinini

I was rather excited last night to read that Patricia Piccinini's sky sculpture, 'The Skywhale' was coming to Brisbane. With no time to dally, I took an early morning drive into the Brisbane Powerhouse to see it being inflated in brilliant sunlight.
It really is an awesome sight to see in the flesh, transformed by hot air into a majestic form. I marvel at Patricia's creativity, the attention to detail and mild humour. I can also contemplate the logistics of realising a project like this, the hours of work invested.

If you have an opportunity to check it out the details for viewing today till Friday are on the Brisbane Powerhouse site.

Congratulations Patricia, its a fabulous work!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Resource ecology (Conserve - Develop)

'Resource ecology (Conserve - Develop)' ©2013 Nicola Moss. Synthetic polymer paint on hand cut paper.

It's the last week for the 2013 Gold Coast Art Prize, where you can see my work in the finalists exhibition until this Sunday. I've had some great feedback on the work, which is always encouraging. I also participated in the kids Summer Series at the gallery, presenting a workshop activity for a few days, which was lots of fun - kids are so incredibly imaginative.

Resource ecology (Conserve - Develop) came about after a residency in 2012 at BigCi in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage area. I spent four weeks there exploring many environments and components of the ecology. It represents one region of Australia that brings together in close proximity competing interests of, a biodiversity of natural heritage, along-side mineral resources. For a number of years I have visited natural heritage environments and considered where a balance may lie between competition for conservation and development.
Species featured in the artwork include many that characterise the World Heritage area including eucalypts, banksia, Narrow-leaf Drumsticks, Flannel flower, Isopogon anemonifolius and a macrocosma moth. These species sit within elements symbolic of human impacts in the region - power station vents, power lines and coal mining trucks.

I am conscious of the language I use when describing my work and its content. I wondered if 'impact' was the right word to use. Reading the definition in my dictionary -"press firmly together, to force tightly together", it is an apt description of my observations in the Greater Blue Mountains area, where open cut coal mining and World Heritage conservation butt up against one another in not just the physical landscape.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Jean's garden - Nature waits for no one

'Jean's Garden' ©2013 Nicola Moss. Synthetic polymer paint, pigmented ink and graphite on linen, 140 x 180cm. 

A quote from my visual journal: “Monday 10th September, 2012 – Beautiful warm sunny day. Listening to the hum of bees buzzing, calls of the Eastern Spinebills, followed by the sonic flutter of their wings. On my walk today I could smell the pine trees; many are budding up with new cones. Blossom is blowing off in confetti like drifts in the breeze.”
I recall my first impressions of Hill End and Jean's garden as being rather magical. The quince, plum, apricot, pear and peach trees, along with native wattle were bursting into spring bloom. A stunning cascade carried on gnarled branches, with shades of ruby red, pale pink, pure white and golden yellow.  I spent time each day looking out at this garden or wandering around it. Taking lunch on the front verandah, in the well-worn and comfy chair, where many other artists and visitors have sat. There is a simplicity, a sense of being in the moment there. Hill End has a landscape where the passing and cycles of time are interwoven in daily life.

Haefliger's cottage where I stayed during my residency belonged to Jean Bellette and her husband Paul Haefliger. They lived at Hill End in the 1940's and 50's. An award winning artist and tutor, Jean moved to Majorca with her husband in 1957 and never permanently returned to Australia. The cottage still holds many of her personal possessions. When Jean died in 1991, she bequeathed the cottage to NSW Parks and Wildlife service on the condition it become an artists' retreat. It's such a generous gift for artists today to share some time in this unique place.

Jean's Garden is currently on show at Salt Contemporary Art, Queenscliff as part of my solo show - Nature waits for no one.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Creative friends

I think there is something special about having creative friends. We can share all the usual good friend qualities with the added bonus of having an understanding and appreciation for each others creative practices. I guess I'm referring to peers. And I can't think of a better way to show this than by having some of their hand crafted work in my home. Last Friday I picked up my custom made, super comfy, Jeanbag from KT. Beautifully wrapped I waited to unfold it with Phil and fill with micro beads before the long anticipated lounge. I love it! When I buy, share, gift, swap a piece with friends it comes with a story, that's what makes all the difference. I know something about the development of the piece, it's inspiration and the work that goes into refining its qualities. There's just so much more to it than a trip to a store and home again. If you would like to read all about the development of Jeanbag, it's on KT's blog here; and this is the Jeanbag page.

In winter this hall catches rays like a sun room, it's the warmest place in the house during that season. I'm looking forward to my studio breaks and book reading here. Thank you KT!

Hanging on the wall behind is a painting called 'Illawarra flame' by Susan Buret. We've known each other for years and have swapped works with one another. I love the colours and pattern in this painting, it's from Susan's 'Stolen Geometry from the Gardens of Love' series. Thank you Susan, still loving it!

And all the other pieces from creative friends....and pieces yet to come :-) Thank you.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Nature waits for no one at Salt Contemporary Art

'In the fabric - Hill End' ©2013 Nicola Moss. Synthetic polymer paint, mono-print, rust stain, natural ochre, frottage, hand cut papers. Framed size 78.5 x 176cm.

As many of my friends would know, I have been missing socially for the past couple of months, being in action in the studio. Making works for my upcoming solo exhibition at Salt Contemporary Art, Queenscliff, Victoria. I have continued working with inspiration from my residency at Hill End last year. It was such an interesting month being there; Hill End has a landscape where the passing of time and cultural heritage are completely evident and interwoven in daily life.
Nature waits for no one features a series of paintings on linen and a selection of new hand cut paper works. I'm looking forward to seeing them up together on the gallery walls. On show from Sunday 29th December to Saturday 11th January 2014.