Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Moerenuma Park - SIAF 2014

As part of the Sapporo International Art Festival we took a day trip to Moerenuma Park. Wow! What an amazing park. Designed by Isamu Noguchi, the park itself is considered to be one complete sculpture. With various large mounds, play mountains, water features, tree groves and bicycle tracks, it's hard to describe the expansive scale. From the top of Mt. Moere panoramic views of Sapporo city and suburbs are in clear view, that's after you climb the 390 steps to reach the top, well worth the effort. From the high points the park reveals itself as a connected pattern of triangular and geometric shapes surrounded by a water moat.
After walking around for a few hours we took a break for lunch and then hired bicycles to ride around the shaded tree lanes. The glass pyramid 'Hidamari' is visually striking and hosted several contemporary installation works as part of the art fair. The architectural structure contrasted beautifully with overhead organic clouds.

I must mention (and recommend) lunch was a most pleasant surprise when we came across Restaurant L'Enfant qui reve, with French/Japanese fine dining, we indulged in a delicious degustation. Desert and coffee was taken in a separate room where we sat alone and took in views of the gardens. A great day trip if you are visiting Sapporo.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Last weeks for Culture Ecology at BRAG

'Time capsule 1'  ©2014 Nicola Moss, Synthetic polymer paint, rust stain, water colour, hand cut paper.

It's the final two weeks for Culture Ecology on show at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery. If you couldn't make it to the area or missed out on a room sheet while visiting, details are now available on-line.

It will be two years since I completed my residency at Hill End, while I think about the memories of that place, I'm also looking forward to spending time exploring the ecology of Grafton next month, on a residency that coincides with the Jacaranda Festival, celebrating its 80th anniversary.

The Grafton Regional Gallery Artist in Residence program is open to professional artists and curators from all disciplines. The program generously supports artists' new work, research and collaborations.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sapporo International Art Festival - Japan

Views from our walk over Toyohira River into town at Sapporo.
As some of you may know, my travel to Japan last month was related to my husband's Ironman sporting activities. With positions often selling out in the races within days, travel is booked up to a year in advance. Given this I was absolutely delighted to find out a few months after booking that Sapporo would be hosting its International Art Festival while we were there....serendipity!

SIAF 2014 is being held as part of the Creative City Sapporo initiative, from July 19 to September 28, 2014, under the stewardship of Guest Director and globally renowned artist Ryuichi Sakamoto. The theme of the event is City and Nature - great fit with my practice, and an opportunity to see contemporary artists exploring how cities can coexist with nature in the future.

We were away for two weeks in the north island of Hokkaido, with five days in the rural race area of Lake Toya and the remaining time in Sapporo. This gave me plenty of time to check out almost all of the art festival venues and see some great art. I'll say now that for me the highlight of Japan (this being my first time there) was the people. I found them incredibly polite and helpful, sometimes going to extraordinary lengths, and very humble, all admirable qualities. Shuttle buses to two major venues in the outer suburbs were punctual to the minute, making it very easy to tell if we were catching the right bus. And with plenty of signs, brochures and volunteer helpers available, it was a very well organised festival.

I had a bit of an idea of some of the art I would see at the festival, such is the internet, but was also pleasantly surprised, particularly with textiles.

Ainu Textiles were on display in the festival venue Sapporo Eki-mae dori Underground Walkway - and instantly caught my eye with their striking patterns and tonal contrast. Beautifully hand stitched, the stunning patterns are said to ward off evil spirits, and have been handed down from mother to daughter for generations. I saw several more examples of Ainu textiles in Sapporo and contemporary examples of artists working with these traditional craft forms.

Paper and wood were other material highlights, with Japanese artists highlighting the natural surface and aesthetic qualities in often subtle and minimal was definitely a 'less is more approach' in many works.

Takashi Kuribayashi's paper forest (above) titled 'Wald aus Wald (Forest from Forest)' 2010 was one of these works. We had a lot of fun engaging with this installation and at the same time admiring the creative skill and concept. On display at the Sapporo Art Museum, the white forest is made of Japanese washi paper that is itself made from trees. For more images and installation shots, check out this post on designboom.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

More Gold Coast

'Coast Life' (detail), Nicola Moss. Image from the website More Gold Coast.

It's almost a year since the new Gold Coast University Hospital opened at Southport. So it was a pleasant surprise to come across a lovely post last week on the More Gold Coast site. Written by Megan Reading, the article speaks about benefits of having artworks integrated into the hospital environment, with a really lovely mention of my public artwork on the atrium lift shaft (at the end, I missed the scroll down the first time, Thanks Deb :-)).

This was a fantastic project I enjoyed working on a lot and was made possible with the assistance of many people, with special thanks to Renai Grace, art curator; and Stacie Gibson, lead designer.

Must get back and check it out in the flesh again some time.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Art show openings on the Sunshine Coast

'Life on the edge - Girt by sea'  ©2014, Nicola Moss. Courtesy of SGAR.
There has been plenty happening in the last week. While I was away travelling, both the Sunshine Coast Art Prize and the Noosa Art Award opened. It was disappointing to not be able to be there on the nights, but I'm not complaining too much.....the trip to Japan was fabulous (posts coming soon).

My hand paper cut work - 'Resource Ecology ( Conserve-Develop)' received a commended mention at SCAP by judge Chris Saines, Director of QAGOMA. The exhibition is on show at Caloundra Regional Gallery and continues until 26th October if you are in the area. The forty finalists works can also be seen online, and there is a People's Choice vote and prize if you feel inclined to choose a favourite work.

A couple of nights later at the Noosa Art Award my hand cut paper installation 'Life on the edge - Girt by Sea' received a Highly Commended Award. Special thanks to Marguerite who collected the award on my behalf. Congratulations to Simone Eisler for winning the overall prize.

In conjunction with the award, Noosa Regional Gallery is hosting a panel discussion by Noosa Art Award finalists on Friday 5th September, between 10.30 and 11.30 am. I'm looking forward to seeing the show and catching up with anyone who can make it on the morning.

There is a people's choice award and prize with this show too, if you feel like voting for a favourite artwork. The winner is announced on Friday 26th September, and the exhibition continues until Sunday 5th October.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Artist in residence - Grafton Regional Gallery

I've started reading about the history of Grafton's Jacaranda Festival in preparation for my residency in October at Grafton Regional Gallery. Experiencing the Jacaranda Festival first hand will be inspiring, while it celebrates its 80th year, Australia's longest continuing Floral Festival.
As many of you would know I have a passion for trees. There is something special about grand trees, the mature specimens planted long before I was born that will live long after I am gone. My art practice often celebrates the heritage and cultural connections communities have with trees, whether they be street trees or in nature reserves. I'm thinking about connections and the value people feel for particular trees. In a contemporary context, does this translate to caring about environment more generally.
Back to reading for now.
With Thanks to the Clarence River visitor information centre and Grafton Jacaranda Festival Committee for their assistance.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Culture Ecology on show at BRAG

The exhibition openings at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery on the weekend were lovely. A great combination of works on show, artists talks, meeting people and time for travel through the stunning landscapes I worked in during my 2012 residencies.
The opening night began with an artist talk by Jason Benjamin about his practice and the development of landscape works in his solo show 'Everyone is here'. Incorporating pencil drawings, wash works on paper and large scale paintings, it gives an insight into his practice and keen observation of topography and vegetation.

My show 'Culture Ecology' opened along with fellow 2012 residents, Kathryn Orton - 'Hill End Panorama' and Renuka Fernando - 'Disturbing the surface'. These exhibitions worked very well together, each of us manipulating and working with paper in response to our experiences of Hill End, but with diverse results. It was lovely to meet and share memories of the time with Kathryn and Renuka.

On Saturday Gavin Wilson recounted the great story of how the Hill End Artist in Residence Program developed, and magnetic attraction the area has held for artists since the 1940's. His talk accompanied the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery Collection exhibition - The Third Wave: Two decades of the Hill End Artists in Residence Program. With a diverse selection of works by artists including Donald Friend, Jean Bellette, Tom Spence, Richard Goodwin and Julie Ryder.

I must give special thanks to the installation team at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, who had a huge week and took on the challenge of pining my large installation work, Making Home - softening the edges, not an easy task! Thank you - you have done a great job. You can see images of the installation team and Renuka hard at work on each of the shows here on the BRAG Facebook Page.

Thanks again to Bathurst Regional Art Gallery for their ongoing support of the exhibition and residency program, it has been a wonderful experience and contribution to the development of my arts practice.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Highly Commended at The Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize 2014

I received a surprise in the mail this week, along with a copy of the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize catalogue was a Highly Commended Award for my hand cut paper work - Priority species (Moreton Bay). It's so lovely to receive recognition for this work.

Images of all the finalist and winning artworks can be seen on the South Australian Museum website here. And a friend (Thank you Emma) sent me a link to this image of my artwork hanging in the museum.

The winning and highly commended artworks form part of a touring exhibition that is shown at the National Archives of Australia in Canberra. If you are in the area, exhibition dates are from 26th September to 9th November 2014.

Monday, July 28, 2014

After the fires - North Stradbroke Island

Last week I headed over to North Stradbroke Island with Helena to see how the island's flora was recovering after the New Year bushfires. The landscape feels open with sand visible across hillsides amongst the charred black of tree trunks and vibrant green of regrowth. It was good to see the Banksia, Melaleuca and eucalypt re-sprouting with new growth. Even more exciting to see were the seedlings, tiny delicate new lives covering the charred ground, almost as though someone had broadcast them. Whilst witnessing the devastation it was hard to not feel buoyed by the resilience of plants.

This map from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services shows the burn areas day by day.

I'll be developing artworks for a curated exhibition in June next year, more details a bit closer to the time.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Culture Ecology opening at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery

I would like to extend you a warm invitation to the opening of my solo exhibition 'Culture Ecology' at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery on Friday 1st August at 6pm. The exhibition presents a body of hand cut paper artworks that respond to the ecology of Hill End, where I spent a month as artist in residence in 2012. Some previously unseen works including the 'Time Capsule' series form part of the show.
Exhibitions of work by Jason Benjamin, Kathryn Orton, Renuka Fernando and a curated selection from the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery's permanent collection also open on the night.
If you are in the Bathurst region at the end of next week it would be lovely to see you at the opening.
The exhibition continues until 28th September 2014.