Friday, December 6, 2013

Gold Coast Art Prize 2013

The Gold Coast Art Prize 2013 opens this weekend at the Gold Coast City Gallery. I was very happy when I heard my hand cut paper work 'Resource ecology (Conserve - Develop)' was selected for the finalists exhibition. The art prize, now in its 45th year, showcases contemporary art from across Australia, with 59 finalist works on show in 2013. This year the current director of the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, Chris Saines will judge the prize.

This week a friend, Thank you Helena, contacted me to say she had seen my artwork in the Antiques and Art in Queensland magazine, advertising the art prize, a lovely surprise, Thank you GCCG.

The exhibition is on show from 7th December 2013 to 9th February 2014.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Food Chain

 'Food Chain' Nicola Moss ©2013. Polystyrene, polyethylene, fabric, interfacing, thread, found object, disposable soy sauce bottles, synthetic polymer paint on hand cut paper. Courtesy of SGAR.
 'Food Chain' detail, Nicola Moss ©2013.
Food Chain is the third work in my series which features a brain motif, symbolising some of my thoughts on sustainability. (I posted earlier about two works in this series here). This piece brings together several ideas relating to plastic waste and the food chain - our food chain - and those of other species. (Reading 'Plastic - A toxic love story' by Susan Freinkel last year, made me even more aware of the omnipresence of plastic in and around our food stuff).
I began by using some of the disposable plastic materials I encounter with the foods I eat, starting with the black polystyrene used in meat trays. I cut a motif of coral form, a life structure I have seen washed up on many beaches around Moreton Bay. Coral takes a very long time to grow and plastic takes an even longer time to break down. I enjoy eating sushi and began collecting the disposable plastic containers used to provide 'take away' soy sauce - the irony of these bottles being pressed in the shape of fish seemed appropriate for the conflicting thoughts. Plaited grocery shopping bags lead to a found object I picked up on Flinders Beach at North Stradbroke Island. It's the remain of a burst balloon, and unfortunately sea life such as turtles and birds mistake these for food when they are floating in the bay. Looks a little squid like perhaps?
Last year I volunteered in an Earthwatch program called 'Turtles in trouble'. The project collects data which assists with research on the impact of ingestion of marine debris on turtles found in Australia. The morning was spent observing a necropsy of a turtle found dead, to establish the cause of death. Lead scientist Dr Kathy Townsend provided lots of information about turtles as we examined how and what they eat. Turtles can't throw up unwanted items they swallow and are mistaking plastic debris for food, research is showing this is not a random selection.
We spent the afternoon collating data on plastic debris washed up on beaches at North Stradbroke Island. This is when it dawned on me that plastic waste never goes away, it just breaks into smaller and smaller pieces, with some gradually entering the food chain at several levels.
Answers are not easy, but I was very impressed with the practical approach taken by scientist. I think convenience is one of the big hurdles for me to make a positive change and accept less disposable plastic.
'Contact (RE:CON Series)' Nicola Moss ©2013. Synthetic polymer paint, pigmented ink, charcoal frottage, hand cut papers. Courtesy of SGAR.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Citizen science

'Life on the edge - Citizen science (Mangrove watch)' Nicola Moss ©2013. Synthetic polymer paint, natural ochre, charcoal frottage, hand cut papers. Courtesy of SGAR.

Over the past few years I have had the opportunity of joining in activities with many volunteers in Redlands. Collecting native seeds for propagation with bush care groups managed by Indigiscapes; sighting and recording bird species with the monthly bird watching group; and learning a little about the Seagrass Watch program in a muddy encounter at Ormiston. Each outing has been a rewarding experience, getting to know a few of the locals, who are happy to share the wealth of knowledge they have about their local environments. It's also rewarding to contribute in a small way to the valuing of environments and the regions rich biodiversity. My first exhibition at Redland Art Gallery, Plant-Life featured several works exploring the activities and sites of mainland bush care groups. In With or without I have turned my attention to the intertidal zones and water ways of the Moreton Bay Marine Park.

Mangrove Watch in Moreton Bay is a partnership between the scientific community and community volunteers who undertake training and collect data. The monitoring and collected data from this citizen science program helps with determining change, which is essential for good management of the mangroves environment.

Many of the programs are easy to get involved with, links are attached.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thoughts on the paradox of sustainability

'Grey matter' and 'What does green mean?' both 2013, Nicola Moss. Courtesy of SGAR.

Thinking, thinking, thinking....
When I start thinking about sustainability, what does it mean? how can I achieve it?..or more accurately, contribute towards it in a small way in my day to day living, etc....I basically find the questions keep coming, one leads to another, none of them get an easier either. But I would like to find ways of resolving some of the contradictions I have in my own lifestyle, and so the questions continue.

Don't worry, I do sleep at night. The thoughts are there percolating away in the back of my mind. At all different times and places, like every time I buy some meat from a butcher and wonder why it is so difficult to buy meat without plastic. Or when I consider my love of sushi and the disposable plastic soy sauce bottle ironically made in the shape of a fish. And most annoyingly when I come home with a plastic bag.

I have made a series of works for my show With or without that represent some of these thoughts that are often conflicting in my mind.
I began with the humble plastic grocery bag in a work titled 'Grey matter'. It features one half of a brain filled with plaited shopping bags; on the other side is a paper cut of mangrove tree top. I have plastic bags in my home still! and I value the environment.

I moved from the plastic bag to the green bag in my next work titled 'What does green mean?' There are a lot of thoughts and questions brought together in this work, beginning with the green bag label .."Made in China. 100% Poly Propylene." I started with questions of what happens to green bags when they wear out? Do they go to landfill? How do they break down? etc. There is a paper cut overlay of barnacles which references coastal environments of North Stradbroke Island where I made frottage rubbings of the rock shelf geology. I read about Charles Darwin's travels and visit to Australia, where he collected samples of barnacles from Moreton Bay; and the drag effect barnacles have on shipping resulting in reduced fuel efficiency. On the other side of the brain I thought about being an artist and trying to be sustainable in the materials I use. I don't often work with upcycled/recycled/found objects in my work, it was an area I wanted to contemplate in this series. I chose fish scales as my medium, cleaning, boiling and piercing them to be sewn over the brain motif. As several people who have seen the work commented, they make a seriously beautiful sequin effect. This area of fish scales encloses a delicate paper cut of a chemical compound motif. 'What does green mean?'

There are two more works in this series on show at the exhibition, I'll discuss them shortly. As with most art it's best appreciated in the to speak.
With or without continues at Redland Art Gallery until the 8th December.

I look forward to hearing any thoughts or questions you may have on the paradox of sustainability.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Opening night and floor talks

Partial view of With or without installed at Redland Art Gallery.

I'm exhausted, but in a good way. It's been a weekend of activity with the exhibition opening of With or without on Friday night and artist floor talks today at Redland Art Gallery. Having an opportunity to speak with viewers of the exhibition and hear their thoughts and comments seems to me to be such an integral part of exhibiting and making artwork. What would the artwork be without a viewer? So I have enjoyed many conversations and savoured the feedback from friends and new acquaintances alike.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow exhibiting artists at Cleveland - Russell Craig and Jo D'Hage - for their kind words and support over the weekend.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

You are welcome

With or without opens this week and I'd like to extend you a warm invitation to come along and see the exhibition if you have an opportunity. The show will be opened by Dr Anne Kirker, Arts Consultant and Adjunct Associate Professor, Queensland College of Art,  on Friday 1st November 6pm, at Redland Art Gallery, Cleveland.
There are also floor talks with the artists on Sunday 3rd November from 12 noon, with morning tea from 11am. I'm looking forward to speaking about the project and hearing your thoughts and questions, maybe see you there some time.

(Refreshments are provided at the opening if you would like to rsvp.)

Friday, October 25, 2013

With or without

'Conundrum (RE:CON Series)' Nicola Moss ©2013. Synthetic polymer paint, frottage, hand cut papers. Courtesy of SGAR.

It's a week till my exhibition With or without opens at Redland Art Gallery, Cleveland. All the works are wrapped and ready for delivery early next week, I'm looking forward to seeing them up together on the walls.
In the last week I've had some potent reminders of what inspired me to work on this project in the first place. The idea of sustainability, what does it really mean and how do we achieve it? It's a very complex area and yet some simple truths hold - everything living on this planet is connected, we are all part of an ecology that relies on relationships and dependencies between species and the environment around us. Sometimes the environment we draw on for our needs is global, the flip side of this is what happens elsewhere can and will influence us here at a local level.

These thoughts were brought into focus when I read an article from the Newcastle Herald by Greg Ray. 'The ocean is broken' describes in a personal account the experiences of Newcastle sailor Ivan Macfadyen. Ten years apart Ian has sailed the same course from Australia to Osaka and then on to San Francisco but with very different experiences on the two trips. The article expresses it best and is well worth a read.
I am left pondering if we are choosing to live with pollution and without life.

With or without takes a look at the conundrum of sustainability with a focus on biodiversity conservation and waste management - on a more positive note there are good stories to be shared as well!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

One year on...

One year ago I was in Hill End on an artist residency, how time flies by. Memories of the place are still strong in my mind as is the inspiration I gathered.

I've made a start to my next body of work, a series of paintings inspired by the ecology and cultural heritage of Hill End. This month has been a transitional time in the studio, packing away papers and reference material from my recently completed work -' With or without'. Re-organising the studio, pulling out the easel, revisiting journal notes, photos pinned back on the wall and ideas sparked again. I'm feeling excited and slightly nervous at this point...the anticipation of realising ideas and visuals in my mind, and at the same time thinking - "oh boy! It's been a year since I put paint to canvas" will I remember how? :-) Of course I will! but you know it's like an unknown starting point and anticipation of possibilities. I'm looking forward to seeing how the past year of paper cutting may influence the next series of paintings...I'll post some updates as the works develop.

In the meantime here is something I've been working on with the 'left over' pieces of cut paper, I mentioned here that I'd have to work out what to do with them. This colour palette of Hill End papers is something I'll be referencing while painting.

Now it's back to the easel.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Art and Science

'Priority species (Moreton Bay)' Nicola Moss ©2013. Synthetic polymer paint on hand cut paper, 137cm diameter.

Collaboration in Art and Science can create an interesting 'place' to engage with ideas, and some of the issues we are facing today. For some time the science of ecology has been the focus of my arts practice. It is a field which most closely reflects my world view - a universe where everything is connected to everything else. A complex network of relationships and dependencies, where nothing exists in isolation. Ecology and art are constant in my everyday life and it's in this scale of day to day activity that I have focused my latest body of work.

At a national level, Australia's Biodiversity Conservation Strategy (2010 - 2030) identifies its number one priority for action to achieve healthy and resilient biodiversity and provide a basis for living sustainably as 'Engaging all Australians'. My project - With or without - aims to reflect and interpret information about environmental issues of concern today. Presenting art as a form of visual language that viewers can engage with and contemplate in relation to their own experiences. In part my project is about asking many questions, perhaps the ones we are all asking ourselves about the paradox of sustainability.

Monday, August 19, 2013


Details from - 'Priority species (Moreton Bay)', 'Life on the edge - citizen science', 'What does green mean?' - all 2013, Nicola Moss. Courtesy of SGAR.

In the last couple of weeks I've been finishing the artworks for my upcoming exhibition - With or without. It's a good feeling - to see completion of a project and the resulting body of work. The exhibition is still a couple of months away, opening on Friday 1st November at Redland Art Gallery, Cleveland. I'll be looking forward to seeing all the works installed and hearing some viewers thoughts. The RAG exhibition program, July to December, is now available on-line, you can check it out here (2MB).

 With or without presents a series of hand cut paper and installation works that look at two components of the sustainability conundrum - waste management and biodiversity conservation. I've focused on our everyday activities, questioning the choices we can make - what can we live with or without?

Invitations and more details coming soon.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

la biennale Venice 2013 - surface

From the broad range of artworks, medium and process on show at the biennale; it was at times simply beautiful surface qualities that caught my eye.
Above is one specimen of stone from the collection of Roger Caillois, born in France in 1913. The stone slices are displayed in lightbox style cabinets at the biennale, illuminating the beautiful colours and forms within. The collection consisting of well over 100 rare specimens is now held in the Museum National d' Histoire Naturelle in Paris.

Simon Ma's sculptural work 'Dancing Waterdrops' 2013, is a highly polished steel mirror-like surface reflecting the earthy, rustic surrounds of the Conservatorio di Musica. This lovely melding of surface and light sat peacefully within one of the buildings internal courtyards with the intermittent sounds of various classical instruments adding another dimension.

Wade Guyton's large untitled canvases present a subtle surface of monochromatic bands. This detail shows some of the marks and 'errors' resulting from his technique of feeding pre-primed canvas through a printer. Ink pools of irregular shapes and marks throughout the registration create a visually engaging surface. On show in the Arsenale.

Rudolf Stingel on show at Palazzo Grassi, has taken the idea of surface to a whole other level by covering all floor and wall areas within the gallery with his work. Consisting of over 5000 square metres of carpeting printed with the design of an oriental rug. The installation is visually dramatic, with recognition of 'rug' first coming to mind, but when viewed up close the carpet reveals a much more pixelated and abstract pattern. Within the gallery rooms the artist has sparsely hung monochrome oil on canvas paintings over the top of the carpeted walls - some are large abstracts; while another series features smaller more classical figurative works. I really enjoyed this installation, which completely re-interprets the space and relationship between artwork and gallery. On show until 31st December, 2013.

Finally a little piece of Venice itself - wabi sabi inspired. Wall within the Giardini.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Coast Life at the new Gold Coast University Hospital

'Coast Life' Nicola Moss ©2013. Digital print on vinyl, glass application.

The opening of the new Gold Coast University Hospital is drawing near, it's where you can see my artwork 'Coast Life' - one of six major three dimensional sculptural public artworks at the GCUH site. The completed glass application artwork spans six levels in the main entrance and atrium.  

'Coast Life' began as a series of black and white pencil drawings in 2009. I referenced various sites and habitats from coast to hinterland, drawing on the textures, silhouettes and details to create a distinct sense of place. In every environment a complex web of life exists through relationships of support and dependence. Interaction between plant and animal species is depicted in my artwork with images of habitat as home, shelter and food provider. I am drawing a metaphorical reference to the Gold Coast University Hospital operating as an ecology, with staff, patient and visitor connecting in relationships of care, support and service.

Projects like this can only be achieved with the support of many team members, all of whom I would like to thank. With special mention and thanks to Stacie Gibson, Lead Designer at UAP during the project and Renai Grace, Public Art Curator for the GCUH site.

If you are a Gold Coaster, you may be interested in the upcoming 'sneak peek' community day on Saturday 7th September. It's an opportunity to take a guided tour of areas of the hospital and hear the latest information about facilities and health services. Regular updates can also be read here.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

la biennale Venice 2013 - multiples

I've long held a soft spot for artworks that consist of multiples, I'm not sure if it's the geometric layout that they often form, or that together the works can at times become far more than the individual parts. These are a few that caught my eye.

This is a small selection (detail) of the work by Colombian artist Jose Antonio Suarez Londono titled "Franz Kafka, Diaries II (1914 - 1923), 2000 mixed media. Jose began drawing a daily response to Brian Eno's diary, "A year with swollen Appendices" and has since moved on to the diaries of Paul Klee, Franz Kafka and Eugene Delacroix. Jose reads until he feels inspired to draw, paint or write. To date the artist has created 65 'Yearbooks' - his term for the notebooks containing his daily drawings.

Many artists would be familiar with the practice and commitment of a drawing a day and I enjoyed seeing this work in response to someone else's diary entry. The work on each little index card is numbered and varies from sketch, abstract geometry and figurative to almost scientific diagram in style. Again I spent quite some time looking through these wonderful pages, some simple, others elaborate; en mass - quite special. This youtube has a section featuring Jose's work.

This work 'Senza titolo' 2013, (Mixed media on paper, bronze, wood, plaster, mirror, glass, plasticine, clay, brass and burnt wood) by Marco Tirelli is one of my overall favourites from the biennale. My aesthetic favours tonal contrast, so a whole room of black and white with some shades of grey was amazing! This is perhaps a work that could be looked at quickly and passed by, the individual elements have a minimal touch to them. But spending time in this room, within the work in a way, revealed so much more. There is a lovely play across surfaces of varied texture in 2D line drawing, printed and tonal work, overlayed with 3D objects cast and carved, and then the mirror and shelves add another element again. The overall composition and layout of the work is spot on, I could easily live with this work(s). Part of the Italian Pavillion.

A difficult to photograph work by Petra Feriancova from Oskar Ferianc's archive - 'Creator' 2008, New breeds 1948 - 1962. It was interesting to see a large wall covered with photographs of so many different breeds of pigeon. I looked at this work wondering how many of the breeds were still in existence today, are there still enough passionate breeders around to keep all the varieties pure and ongoing?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

la biennale Venice 2013 - installation

Where to start...there was a lot of great installation art on show at the biennale, with the grand architecture of Venice and industrial spaces within the Arsenale almost encouraging - perhaps even daring artists to interact with it in their work.

Above is a small detailed section of Sarah Sze's installation work 'Triple Point' in the U.S. pavilion at the Giardini. I had only previously seen Sarah's work in magazines and online, neither of which do any justice to seeing these works in the flesh. I can only describe them as ordered chaos. There are so many bits, pieces, things, stuff attached, hanging, falling, connected, stuck, clamped and taped in these works, I really struggle to imagine how she puts them altogether. And yet amongst this excess of material and all it's forms of alteration....there is an underlying sense of order, it's not just thrown together. I visited on two different days and spent quite a bit of time viewing the works, there was something very compelling about these works for me.
This work by Elisabetta Benassi, titled 'The Dry Salvages', had an unexpected connection for me, which I'll get to in a moment. The work consists of an uneven floor composed of 10,000 'bricks' made of clay taken from areas of the 1951 Polesine flood. Each is imprinted with the names and alphanumeric cataloguing codes of the largest pieces of space debris still in orbit around the earth. I'm not sure I fully understand the connection between clay from a small town in Italy and space debris; but the week before arriving in Venice, Phil and I had stayed at a farm in Polesine and been told stories of the flooding that occurs there some years, to the extent where some years they have needed to empty out their cellars where the cured hams hang for drying. I was reminded of delicious food in a beautiful area of the Parma region while looking for names of space junk that I recognised. I wonder what the artist envisaged viewers contemplating. (On show in the Arsenale)

'Campo de Colour' by Sonia Falcone was stunning to look at installed on the floor of the Latin American pavilion at the Arsenale. I could smell its aroma long before I saw it, consisting of pigments and spices it engaged my senses from a distance and up close.

This installation work at Galleria di Palazzo Cini was a bit of a surprise as there was no literature or information on site about the work. After heading up a couple of flights of stairs in a residential style building I entered a room and was immediately drawn to the 'masters' on the wall. Paintings from the early to mid renaissance period filled the walls of several rooms, including the stunning Botticelli piece pictured above (Left side on the wall). It took a few minutes for the 'contemporary' aspect of this biennale collateral event to sink in. I became aware of other visitors picking up poster prints from palettes that were situated on the floor within the rooms. Some people spent a great deal of time deciding which free prints they wanted to take, others took one of each, around 23 in total, without taking a second glance at the artworks on the wall.
The experience reminded me of a youtube clip that circulated on facebook not too long ago, with a renowned violinist busking with the worlds most expensive violin and almost no one stopping to listen.
I went back twice to see the 'treasures' and experience this installation by Edson Chagas, I liked it a lot! What do we value, the viewing of a work we can't take with us or a cheap print that's free to take? I left with a wry grin.
You can read more about this work at Art Agenda.
I'll finish up with the yarn-bombing light installation of Joana Vasconcelos, who transformed the floating interior of a Lisbon ferry brought to Venice for the biennale. It was a lot of I need to say anymore?
The work is titled 'Trafaria Praia' 2013.

There were so many more installation works, but these are a few that caught my attention. More images can be seen on the highlights wrap up at the abc arts post.

Friday, July 12, 2013

la biennale Venice 2013 - video art

I've been away for a while with part of the time spent overseas visiting the Venice biennale. I had a week to absorb as much art as I could fit into eight hour days of observing. Even with a whole week of solid viewing I didn't see everything there was on offer in Venice....can't complain though it was amazing....for an art lover at least.

I thought where else to begin a little wrap up of what I saw than with video art, in a sense the epitome of contemporary art now. Video art requires a commitment from the viewer, it generally cannot be surmised in a minute or two, rather it requires to be watched through. Without this commitment you could miss the whole point/ story/ connection of the work, as I did with my first passing view of the Greek pavilion (where "History Zero" by Stefanos Tsivopoulos is on show). Thankfully I returned and watched the three part series in full, realising the connecting human relationships within the three apparently random scenes. There were videos where I left thinking - well I'm never going to get that time back in my life again, fortunately these times were few, with the positives far outweighing the let downs.

My favourite video work was "Grosse Fatigue" 2013 by French artist Camille Henrot, at the arsenale. The multi layered, almost collaged imagery of multiple simultaneous computer screen visuals represented for me the multiple worlds we occupy today, with virtual and reality spheres interweaving. Here's a link to the artist talking about her work (in French) and clips of her video on youtube.

This image above shows about one third of the arc of video projection that makes up the piece "Movie Mural" by Stan Van Der Beek, an artist who lived in New York (1927 - 1984). He envisioned a project - the 'Movie - Drome' in 1965, which was not realised in his life time. This work is very much a collage of movie image and quite entrancing to watch as it filled my whole peripheral vision.

Kan Xuan created the work "Millet Mounds" 2012, a 171 channel video installation. Viewing this work felt like complete visual overload initially. The 171 videos flash through images simultaneously, documenting every known imperial tomb in China. Using a stop motion technique that involves stitching together hundreds of individual still photographs. I found it an exercise in focus and being still as each screen revealed a semi-travelogue effect of each site visited. The work was interesting and revealing in it's imagery, I could have easily spent hours working through the screens....but there's a lot to see!

This video work by ORLAN, titled "The freedom and two skinned-bodies" 2103 involved less of the flash through imagery of some works, rather is had a subtle metamorphose of imagery, x-ray like in some effect, where the visuals of head and face transformed through several partly layered phases. I liked the strong contrast and visual effects. This was part of a collateral event - 'The metamorphoses of the virtual - 100 years of art and freedom' curated by Roberta Semeraro.
Other video works that stand out in my mind/memory are those of Richard Mosse, representing the Pavilion of Ireland with his multi screen piece 'The Enclave'. It was difficult to watch at times, I had that question in my head - am I watching it because it's like a car crash? The work features civil war in Eastern Congo with in depth scenes of refugee camps, conflict and death; all recorded in the psychedelic colour of infrared film.
And a piece titled 'Da Vinci' 2012 by Yuri Ancarani, which is not related to the famous artist, rather it features shots inside a hospital room equipped with cutting-edge technology, with the brand name of the surgical robot being the title of the video. You need a strength of stomach to watch this - fascinating, for me at least - video which incorporates the footage from internal body cameras working with the robot surgery equipment during surgery. Don't read any more if you are squeamish. In other words you can see a void of internal organs inside the body and then watch as a scalpel blade punctures through the tissue/organ wall to enter the cavity....and so it continues...curiosity got the better of me and I was engrossed.
These two video works left me pondering when does film/documentary become art?

One of the things I now reflect on really enjoying at the biennale is that it combines work from earlier artists with that of contemporaries, creating wonderful relations and connections across time. This occurred in various media throughout the exhibitions.

I'll post a couple more selections from the biennale shortly.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Upon a fold

'Family Traits - Proteaceae' (detail) 2009, Nicola Moss.

I have been reading the blog - Upon a fold - for some time now (you'll find it in my blog list on the side bar). Justine brings together a wonderful selection of artisan works, processes and craft made from and using paper. As she describes it - "you will find a curated collection of paper artistry from around the world". So I feel quite honoured to find my hand cut paper work featured in a post this week.
Thanks again Justine.

Monday, May 27, 2013

In the studio

Where did May go? It's been a month of solid work in the studio, with new pieces coming together for my upcoming exhibition at Redland Art Gallery. I started work on this project - 'With or without' towards the end of 2011. An art camp week at North Stradbroke Island in March last year provided a lot of source material in the form of frottage papers capturing the geology of coastal landscape forms; along with ideas around issues of biodiversity and sustainability in Moreton Bay.

At the time I had thought 2012 might be a quieter year, a time for studio work, but quite a few other projects, residencies and exhibitions filled the year....who am I kidding, it was flat out and provided a whole lot more inspiration and source material which will keep me creating for the next couple of years. (No complaints here.) So amidst this it has been interesting to have time now to return to a project begun a couple of years ago, to approach the papers and reference material with memories of the experiences and ideas. Without me realising it ideas for this project have continued percolating away in the back of my mind. It's been exciting to read back over my visual diaries and reignite the questions and thoughts that sparked my enthusiasm for this series in the first place. 'What is sustainability?'

Friday, May 3, 2013

Drawing a line at Caboolture RAG

'Life on the edge - Caught in the flow' ©2012. Nicola Moss. Acrylic, natural ochre, charcoal frottage, hand cut papers. Collection of Moreton Bay Regional Council.

Last weekend I attended the opening of 'Drawing a line' at Caboolture Regional Art Gallery. The exhibition presents works from the Moreton Bay Regional Council Art Collection featuring drawing as a medium, along with a selection of contemporary drawing works from artists around Australia. I really enjoyed this interesting show as line and various mediums have been interpreted in a broad sense of 'drawing'. From paper embossing, to sculpted ply and all manner of medium in between - biro, pastel, texta, charcoal, frottage, and ink. Artists on show include Lincoln Austin, Arlene Texta Queen, Godwin Bradbeer and Deb Mostert, along with works from the council collection by Carly Scoufos, Sharon Jewell and myself to name a few.

There are a number of artist talks being held in conjunction with the exhibition, Carly Scoufos will speak on the 8th May and I will be speaking about my processes and inspiration on the 29th May, both 10-11am. If you are in the area and feel like coming along it will be lovely to see you.
'Drawing a line' continues till 15th June.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Making home

'Making home - softening the edges (Hill End)' detail ©2013. Nicola Moss. Acrylic, natural ochre, charcoal frottage, rust stain, monoprint, canvas, interfacing, thread, hand cut papers. 300cm x 600cm variable. Courtesy of SGAR.

During my artist in residence at Hill End last year I stayed at Haefliger's cottage. The cottage belonged to Jean Bellette and her husband Paul Haefliger, who lived there 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 passed away in 1991, she bequeathed the cottage to NSW Parks and Wildlife service on the condition it become an artists' retreat. This generous bequest has contributed to an ongoing cultural heritage of artists visiting and working at Hill End.

Prior to the journey to Hill End my work focused on the ecology of landscapes, looking at contemporary issues of how communities shape environment through development and conservation. I went to Hill End thinking about the degradation of landscape I might see, over a century after the gold mining boom. It is there, still; but I found myself drawn to the cultural heritage that has adapted the ecology of Hill End over time.

When I arrived at the start of Spring, wattle was in full bloom and many fruit trees and remnant orchards throughout the town were bursting with spring blossom; making for a striking juxtaposition of native and exotic flower. Peach, pear, apricot, apple and quince are just a few of the fruiting varieties, many of them planted over 140 years ago. Some stand amongst the rubble of building that they once were planted next to.

My first exhibition of works from the residency focuses on this influence of culture and the idea of 'making home'. I am interested in the way this basic necessity of dwelling in a place, of making home and seeking comfort, the necessity of food and heritage of migration has shaped the ecology of Hill End.

'Making home - softening the edges' is a large paper cut installation I made to fit the gallery wall space at SGAR. This work features several exotic species which now contribute to the fabric of Hill End. Elements of 'making home' are interwoven with plant species reflecting on the adaption and shaping of landscape, and our relationship to it.

There are many unique qualities to Hill End. One is the opportunity to see stages of settlement in a place over several generations and the resulting impact of this on environment. The cultural heritage of adaption and introduction. Looking at the past has enabled me to reflect on the present. The choices we make today in shaping and adapting environments around us determines the heritage we leave for future generations. In ecology everything is connected....including time.

'Making home - softening the edges(Hill End)' ©2013. Nicola Moss. Acrylic, natural ochre, charcoal frottage, rust stain, monoprint, canvas, interfacing, thread, hand cut papers. 300 x 600cm variable. Installed at SGAR.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Making home - ecology (Hill End)

'Making home - ecology (Hill End)' ©2013. Nicola Moss. Acrylic on hand cut paper. Courtesy of SGAR.

I spent a day last week installing my show at SGAR, it was great to see it all up on the walls, and now it's just a short wait for the opening on Friday.

During my residency at Hill End I was aware that not only are all species connected in an ecology - time is also connected. The town of Hill End presents an intriguing place where the heritage of land use, migration and settlement can be seen clearly. From the gold rush boom of the 1870's and subsequent decline in population, to the interest of artists in the 1940's and 50's to today. My exhibition features works that reflect the influence of cultural heritage on environment. I have focused on the activity of making home, of dwelling in a place, and how this alters and adapts the surrounding ecology.

Situated like a small enclave within a rugged Australian landscape, Hill End is characterised by paling fences, remnant orchards and grand avenue trees. There is a blurring at the edges of this enclave, where coppiced forests cut for firewood and eroded mining gullies blend the adaption of native species and altered geology. Exploring the adaption of environment at Hill End has incorporated ideas of comfort, cycles of life and death, and the heritage of introduced exotic species. In a way simple needs - making home, necessity of food and softening the edges of living have shaped the cultural ecology of Hill End.

'Making home - ecology (Hill End)' 2013, features exotic species which contribute to the fabric of Hill End. The mandala like form was inspired by several needlework doily pieces I viewed while at Haefligers cottage.

My special thanks go to Bathurst Regional Art Gallery and staff for their support of the Hill End Artist in Residence Program and for funding the 2012 residency. Thank you.

I would like to extend you a warm invitation to the opening of Culture Ecology at SGAR: Spiro Grace Art Rooms, 255 Gregory Terrace, Spring Hill, Brisbane; on Friday 15th March, 6-8pm.

It will be lovely to see you if you can make it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I've been putting finishing touches on the artworks for my upcoming exhibition - Culture Ecology. With a week left to go till installation, it's a good feeling to be getting to the final details. I am excitedly looking forward to seeing the works on show unframed in the new project space at SGAR: Spiro Grace Art Rooms.

Culture Ecology presents new works developed from my artist in residence experiences at Hill End. Historical and contemporary influences of making home and the shaping of Hill End's ecology are explored in a silhouette series and large wall installation.

Invitations and more details coming the mean time I'm contemplating what to make with all the off-cuts.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

In the studio

It's been all action in the studio for the past couple of months with completion of works for my upcoming solo show - Culture Ecology at SGAR: Spiro Grace Art Rooms.
The exhibition will feature new work and ideas developed from my residency at Haefliger's Cottage, Hill End last year. I'm excited to see how the installation of works will look in the stunning new project space at SGAR..... In the meantime it's back to the cutting board!

Collection and Place at Redland Art Gallery

'A new leaf, Restore - Reuse (Hill End, Spring 2012)' ©2012. Nicola Moss. Acrylic, natural ochre, charcoal frottage and rust stain on hand cut papers. Courtesy of SGAR.

Tomorrow night I am heading along to the official opening of Collection and Place - A Decade On at Redland Art Gallery. The commemorative exhibition marks the tenth anniversary of Redland Art Gallery. The exhibition is presented simultaneously in both the Cleveland and Capalaba galleries and features the work of ten artists held in the Redland Art Gallery Collection. Selected by guest curator Ross Searle, the exhibition reveals how artists respond to the environment and sense of place locally or further afield. Artists include Leigh Camilleri, Belinda Close, Lawrence Daws, Fiona Foley, Noel McKenna, Luke Roberts, Julie Shepherd, Carl Warner, Judy Watson and myself.

I am looking forward to seeing the show and each artists work. Collection and Place continues to the 26th March 2013.

There is a floor talk at 12 noon by guest curator Ross Searle on Tuesday 19th February if you can get along to the Cleveland area.