Thursday, September 30, 2010

Seed Collection - Kidd Street Conservation Reserve

Kidd Street Reserve, Redland Bay

Flowering Xanthorrhoea sp., Grass Tree

Lomandra sp. flower

Petrophile canescens, Conesticks

Comb Fern

Today I joined the Redland Bushcare Seed Collection group on a visit to Kidd Street Conservation Reserve. The spectacular sight of flowering Xanthorrhoea (grass trees) was the first thing I noticed heading to the reserve entrance. Kidd Street Reserve is a fairly recent acquisition for Redland City and a site not previously visited by the seed collection group. Timing was ideal for a wonderful display of many wildflowers and plenty of ripe seed for collection.

Areas varied on our walk from towering blackbutt and dense grass trees, to casuarina groves with little sundews and ferns dotting the understory. Patches of gnarled banksia were in bloom with luminous golden orange flowers and a few conestick plants were spotted. I love the foliage form of these plants, and being of the Proteaceae family, this liking re-enforces my aesthetic inclination towards plants of this family.
It was a very enjoyable morning of bushwalking, learning a little more about native flora, watching a Whistling Kite circling overhead and for the Indigiscapes team, identification of a couple of species not on the current plant list for the area.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Work in progress

Nicola Moss, 'Moonlit wanderings of a jewelled trail'. (Detail) Acrylic on canvas. ©2010.
I have been working on a couple of paintings in response to a recent seed collection outing to Russell Island, Redlands. I would like to capture the sense of overwhelming life exuberance I felt when amongst the glorious profusion of coastal heath at Turtle Swamp Wetlands. This 'trail' felt very much like a treasure trove, vegetation densely layered in a multitude of texture, form , flower and colour, enclosed us once we entered the open heath, like another world. I think I could spend the next six months at this site alone and not run out of fresh inspiration. At the moment one days walk is what I have to work with, memories of sensations experienced, the touch of textures, the feeling of steps into an unknown and the visual overload. Capturing senses in the layers of paint is the challenge of this piece.
This is the canvas featured in my earlier post ...starting.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

IN the Outdoors

I came across the Bundanon Trust blog today and on reading found a couple of recent posts that resonated with me.

'How's it going/How did you get here?' speaks of how we travel through landscape and the influence this has on our relationship to it. The example of contrasting experience one could encounter if driving in a vehicle compared to walking is discussed. This post made me think about another relationship - the one between time (the luxury of today) and money. The choices of activity we make tend to impact in favour of one or the other of these. (This subject could fill a post on it's own, so I will move on.)

My art practice has evolved through direct observation of environments. This began in my own garden, in it's early years, when I spent a lot of time outdoors, planting, digging, mulching; to establish the garden. It was a time for seeing, seasonal changes, relationships, new growth, and over the years an increasing number of species making their home either temporarily, seasonally or permanently.

From this base I have explored local Gold Coast conservation areas; spent an absorbed year in the Australian Plant Communities of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt.Coot-tha, and most recently nine months visiting and researching conservation areas in Redland City. For me it is only by being outdoors, in these environments, that I can gain a full experience of the place. And then it is only with repeated visits that I can begin to feel any depth of experience achieved.
In what would seem a contradiction to this, I found one advantage of visiting areas in Redlands I hadn't been to before, was being able to see these areas with 'fresh eyes'. I didn't have pre-conceived ideas about what I would find, or what to expect.

My research in Redlands will continue, I still have many areas to visit, as yet unseen. ( It was a bit ambitious of me to think I could visit all the green patches before my last exhibition.) I am aware of a feeling of sentiment towards environments in Redlands, where I have spent time, or towards the species that characterise them. How did this sense of relationship form? What does it mean?

This brings me to the second post I read titled 'Heart-spaces: sentiment and emotion', which speaks of bringing reason and emotion, passion and cold logic, intuition and facts together in our response to, and engagement with, ecosystems and place. Towards the end of the post a research project by Ross Gibson is discussed, I quote...'to produce a "national map of the emotional intensities lodged in Australian landscapes, regions and cities"..
What a wonderful thought, the idea of emotional intensities lodged in Australian landscapes. I am inclined to think that Redlands would be a hot spot on any "sentimental mapping network". I found a strong sense of pride, care and knowledge amongst residents and bushcare volunteers in Redlands. Witnessing this engagement with environment is in part what made my experience of Redlands so rewarding.

Is there a landscape or place that evokes emotional intensity for you?

Both Bundanon Trust blog posts discussed above are by Kickknees, you can read them in full here.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Swell Sculpture Festival 2010

Mimi Dennett 'The Picnic is Over'

Chi Phan 'Did you lose your way?'

Pamela Lee Brenner 'Step Lightly'

Shelly Kelly 'RedDer'

I headed down to Pacific Parade, Currumbin Beach today, with my family to check out the 2010 Swell Sculpture Festival. As I have found in previous years, there is a wonderful mix of sculpture works, some funny and light hearted, others with a message. A small selection of images above from the 56 works selected for exhibition.

I was drawn to Mimi Dennett's work, The Picnic is Over. Her statement in the festival program reads - " A giant stuffed picnic blanket fish skeleton swimming in a perspex tank. The remains of our feeding frenzy on the seemingly never ending fish stocks. No longer the intact shark of Damien Hirsts's vision, the fish in the tank has become a skeleton. Proof that the picnic is over. Humanity has been on one long, joyous, apocalyptic picnic." The choice of materials, referencing of contemporary art and ecological theme appealed to me.

Swell Sculpture Festival ends tommorrow, 19th September, if you have a chance to visit, it's well worth checking out.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Drawing workshop at Point Halloran - Redlands

Last week I gave a second drawing workshop at Point Halloran Conservation Area, as part of the community engagement activities associated with my exhibition at Redland Art Gallery. As we headed out from the carpark to walk the loop track, a koala was pointed out to us in a tree near the edge. I don't have a lot of experience with koala spotting, but this one looked a good size. This is only the second koala I have seen in Redlands during many outings. Unfortunately koala numbers have been declining over the past decade.

The weather was ideal for an outdoor workshop, after the 'treasure-hunt' walk we set up in a sheltered clearing to have fun with rubbings, print transfer, texture and surface treatments. It was an enjoyable afternoon, thanks to all the participants who got stuck into the spirit of experimenting.

Monday, September 6, 2010

'Plant-Life' now on show at SALT Contemporary Art Gallery

Nicola Moss, 'Cloaked pollinator'. Acrylic on canvas. 60 x 60cm. ©2010.

I was quite excited when Fiona, director of SALT Contemporary Art Gallery, in Queenscliff, Victoria, asked me if I would like to show the remaining works from my Plant-Life exhibition at the gallery in September. I felt the opportunity of exhibiting part of the series of recent paintings together again was great. Works will be on show for the next couple of weeks, if you are in Victoria and feel like a visit to the lovely bayside town of Queenscliff.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The weather project - artist collaboration

Nicola Moss, Weather Relations - Blow dry. Fujifilm photographs and glassine paper cut. 61 x 60cm. ©2010.

I recently completed works for an upcoming group exhibition - Nice Day! - that will be on show at Logan Art Gallery in early 2011. The exhibition has developed from a project based on weather and our day to day interaction with it. The weather project began in 2008 with a collaborative observation of weather between artists Susan Buret, Uta Heidelauf, Candice Herne and myself; and continues with artists Sandra Landolt and Jen Conde joining the group.

I have found the process of working on a group/collaborative project very interesting. Each artist has responded to the subject of weather in a personal way that captures their unique style of working and interests, while at the same time stretching their practice. The weather project appealed to me because I felt, at its most basic level, observing weather is a way people relate to nature, and or their surrounding environment. I have found during conversation, observation of weather is something often occurring in the subconscious part of our minds. It is there around us always, we have opinions about it even when we may not have consciously considered it.

My works bring together photographic images of skies with seasonal occurrence in flora and everyday activity. Details of plant, clothes line and lawn mower are cut as silhouettes in broad sky and grass palettes. For me these connections signify weather of a particular season, and not just the traditional spring, summer, autumn, winter. There are shorter, less obvious seasons like the few weeks in autumn when air is still warm but the daylight shortening, a time when some migrating birds head north and those from further south arrive.

Nice Day! Opens at Logan Art Gallery on Wednesday 12th January and continues to Saturday 19th February 2011. I look forward to seeing you at this exciting show if you can make it.