Summer Projects is an annual group exhibition showcasing recent artwork created over the Summer break, from some new and exciting artists to Boom. This time we have an all girl group show which features work from four recent RMIT and VCA arts graduates that we discovered at their end of year exhibitions and two established artists who have been practicing for many years. The exhibition is a great opportunity for emerging artists to exhibit in a professional environment and showcases some contemporary approaches painting, drawing, pastel, photography, collage and sculpture.
The artists featured in Summer Projects IV are:
Ariana is an emerging artist who recently completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at RMIT University. She works primarily in watercolour, gouache and pencil on paper, using collage and paper cutting techniques to create abstract compositions.
“My work explores distortion, fragmentation and the dispersal of forms through the act of drawing and collage. My art practice investigates the act of drawing and the varying senses of time involved in constructing a balanced composition. Using watercolour, gouache and pencil on paper, I aim to create layered systems of abstract forms that are both interconnected and fragmented, weaving in and out of each other.”
“The drawn elements of these works evolve over time through a process of creating multiple iterations of images through scanning, redrawing, fragmenting and recomposing forms. Details are drawn from images of objects such as tree branches and woven fabrics that have been distorted using a flatbed scanner. This process aims to create images that shift between abstraction and representation. I am interested in juxtaposing this process with colourful gestural marks created through a sense of intuitive and spontaneous mark-making. The process of repetition is also important in these drawings. As certain gestures and marks are repeated they begin to change, creating new variations of a form with each iteration. I aim to explore this sense of self-reflexivity in the work, as the work grows from itself and evolves.”
“My work also aims to reflect the varying senses of time involved when creating different levels of abstraction as well as the energy, movement and intuitive actions of an artist. While the watercolour gestures form quickly, they are then cut out in a laborious and sometimes time-consuming process. The pieces are slowly accumulated before they are arranged into a composition or discarded. During the time these pieces are created, fragments are continuously moved and reassembled until a sense of balance and visual rhythm is felt. Artistic inspirations of this work include the drawings of Julie Mehretu and Roni Horn as well as the installations of Sarah Sze.”
Tarli is a visual artist based in Ballarat. With a professional art career spanning 3 decades, she has exhibited widely throughout Australia in numerous group and solo shows.
“For the past few years I have been concentrating on using paper as my base medium to convey the ‘abstract’ in the natural world and have produced several interrelated series with landscape based themes including: Paper Scape and Samples – constructed from recycled drawings, prints and paintings on paper, Hard Land and Land – acrylic and charcoal paintings on paper, and the Farm-Land series – large and small format drawings in pastel and graphite.”
“The pastel drawings included for Summer Projects IV have been taken from my latest series of landscape works. The regional areas of the Central and the Western Districts of Victoria continually influence and shape the way I see and approach my art practice, and my current body of work Farm-Land endeavors to express the strong connection I feel toward the environments I live, work, visit and travel in.”
“With this large and ongoing series, I explore aspects of the ‘worked’ environment I find particularly interesting and engaging. I focus on physical structure, patterning and colour and investigate surface and textural qualities in a broader context of the ‘landscape’ theme. Completed solely in the studio, my compositions represent fictional terrains based loosely on existing landscapes. They aim to evoke a real and strong sense of place with the marks, patterns and color fields used. The landscape themes are continually evolving and will hopefully elicit thought and discussion about the various characteristics and make up of the environments that surround us.”
Tessa Lancashire completed her Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) in 2016 and is continuing study this year in the Honours program at RMIT. The focus of her current practice is an investigation of investment in practice. It draws heavily on psychoanalytic theory, yogic philosophy and western philosophical literature, to inform the development of a personal methodology and praxis of making.
“The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is an ancient Vedic text compiled prior to 400 CE, upon which all modern lineages of yogic philosophy and practice are based. The drawing, composed of approximately 10,000 squares (3ml x 3ml), was produced in the translation of Sanskrit to colour. The colour palette consists of 21 colours – each associated with a single letter of the Sanskrit alphabet. As reading and concurrent translation took place the colour associated with each letter was placed in the grid, sequentially, as in the text – from left to right -spaces and verse numbers are placed respectively, in accordance with the text.”
“The Refuge, an essay written by Hermann Hesse in 1917, is a mediation on the need for rigorous introspection and the cultivation of a ‘refuge’ within oneself. The piece is of much relevance still, today, as it reflects upon the human condition and the temptation of escapism– our need for connection and the alienation of perpetually misplaced desire. The drawing, portraying 9628 characters, is a residue of movement between language, colour and form. The palette consists of 26 colours – each associated with a single letter of the English alphabet.”
“Siddhartha, the book written by Hermann Hesse in 1922, comes from the Sanskrit सिद्ध (siddha) ‘accomplished’ and अर (artha) ‘meaning, sense, goal, purpose, essence’ or ‘means of life’. Siddhartha Gautama was the birth name of the Buddha. The book describes a journey of man – toward himself. This drawing was made through abstraction of the English translation by Hilda Rosner. The palette consists of 26 colours – each associated with a single letter of the English alphabet. This work occurred over a period of 7 months, 6 days a week, for 6 hours per day, culminating in a single layer of pencil, made up of almost 200,000 individual marks. I spent a few hundred hours with this drawing, as it came into being it brought with it parts of me. I spent days, weeks, months working with it, pushing against it, fighting it, yielding to it, pleading with it, leaning on it, resting on it, hating it, loving it and all the while it held me.”
“In making these drawings through meditative action, the language of the text becomes overlaid with my projected thoughts and feelings, and then very slowly in abstracted translation, I shed the content mark by mark. Colour and form support negation of the intellect, giving primacy to resonance, offering space for feeling. Perhaps this is my own understanding through making, of the definition of Art, given by Agnes Martin, as some concrete representation of our most subtle feelings.”
Skye is an Australian visual artist based in Singapore.
“The beginning of a painting, or a body of work, starts on the floor. I am often crouching or on my hands and knees while I pour, splash, spray, dab, splosh paint on the canvas. I like to build layers, mix colours directly on the surface, leave bumps and crevices of paint to dry as it landed. Its often a frenetic space to be – energetic and fast paced. It is a felt experience. As the paintings evolve, I move around them, rotate them, place them upright off the floor and the process slows down. The painting itself takes over, the materiality of the surface, the colours and the forms create a dialogue and that informs where the painting ultimately goes.”
“For these three new works I have been pushing my painting practice in a slightly different direction. Instead of filling the entire picture plane with paint and building layer upon layer, I have attempted to leave some white space for the colours and forms to breathe, resulting in a less-controlled, more free body of work.”
“Once complete, the compositions find their balance, yet remain unending. I want the painting to be imbued with potential twists and turns, possibilities that might breathe beyond the works’boundaries. This is important to me because I feel that in life, we all experience strong emotions – both positive and negative – which are difficult to understand and that’s what I attempt to represent aesthetically. We can try to frame them – like a painting, put them in box with edges and contain them – but ultimately, its those things that make us who we are. And they are always shifting, changing shape, never-ending. Always evolving.”
A recent graduate of the VCA, Marlee’s work primarily uses painting to explore the subjects of obsession and order in the everyday. Her paintings reference the Australian vernacular, reflecting on what it might mean to live in a plastic, concrete, ‘Seven Eleven’ city.
Marlee employs a diverse range of source material, including consumer brands, advertising, architecture and bad graphic design. Some of these images reoccur in a multitude of ways, other details become elaborate and complex patterns and borders. Through layering and flattening the visual content of these subjects new narratives and conversations around comfort in the familiar are formed.
These three paintings reference ideas of a constructed Australian dream. The imagery references simple unattractive graphic designs (similar to common advertising), referring to ideas of commercial desire.
A recent, award winning graduate of the VCA, Lauren’s practice is deeply rooted in engaging in the contemporary questions surrounding photographic practice through a material outcome. Her work particularly investigates society’s consumptive relationship to the image (found and made) as an indicator to broader behavioural trends and habits. This research has led to the expansion of the idea of the photographic thinking through other materials particularly neon which bolding reflects her interest in ideas on commercial exchange and desire.
The State of Things is an ongoing series of photographic and neon artworks that play on familiar objects and actions of interest to the artist that speak of a condition or mode of being in reference to consumer habits and desires in contemporary Australian popular culture.
Lauren uses large format analogue and digital photography to capture images in studio, the images are then processed by hand in the colour darkroom or using a printer that exposes light onto photographic paper rather than ink (very similar to the colour darkroom), both of these processes can be termed as C type (chromogenic colour printing). For this body of work Lauren has used a digital camera to capture the images and C type printing.
The wood used in framing each work is carefully selected by Lauren based on the colour palate of the photographic print and scale. The thin frame profile and butt end finish is also a unique and consistent feature of Lauren’s artworks. This attention to detail, high quality of materials and large scale is a play on desire, it heightens the viewer’s experience of the work which in turn aims to trigger critical thinking around the subject matter.
exhibition runs 2-25 February. To see a full listing click here.