ROBERTSON PARK STUDIO 2020 NEWSLETTER
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2020 Studio News
Out of the Park
As result of an invitation from Gallery Director Sherri Staltari, the studio held an exhibition: Out of the Park at Stala Contemporary in Cleaver Street, West Perth, 11-23 November.
In front of a large crowd City of Vincent Mayor, Emma Cole again kindly opened the exhibition. Music was by the talented emerging musician William Atyeo. While over twenty works were sold, some artworks are still available for preview and sale at www.stalacontemporary.com.au.
On Saturday November 14th the Gallery Director Sherri Staltari joined the studio artists in a panel discussion about their art, the studio dynamics and answered questions from the audience.
Thank you to Jan and Carl Altmann for the catalogue essay, John Bell for The Perth Voice story, and Editor Lyn DiCiero for profile story in the Artists Chronicle.
Vera Desai organised a visit to the studio by the Friends of the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery on Sunday 8 March. Led by Carl Altmann it was a relaxed afternoon of artist talks and discussion over a glass of wine.
Artists are in order their news received.
2020 started with a flourish of painting and enjoying being in the studio again after the annual holidays, when only after a few weeks we were in lockdown and our lives changed from a relaxed way of living to being mindful of sanitising, wearing face masks and staying safe.
I worked from home researching various techniques using texture with water colours, quite challenging but enjoyable.
With the W.A. borders closed we were fortunate to be able to return to the studio to prepare for our very successful November exhibition which was held at Stala Contemporary Gallery in West Perth and had the privilege of Emma Cole the Mayor or Vincent to open the exhibition and Dr.Jan Altmann for her wonderful essay written for our catalogue.
I look forward to a more fruitful and healthier year.
I continued to visualise, and explore my subjective experience within, artists' networks and their disruption due to the pandemic.
An artwork toured two more US art museums as part of “a groundbreaking exhibition featuring 45 artists from across the globe who are redefining the potential of the ceramic arts…” In October I exhibited in the Quarter Gallery at Curtin University.
Due to COVID I suspended my studio classes and relocated my own studio at home for three months. I thank the Art Gallery of WA and AGWA Foundation for their Stimulus package, in return I updated documentation on my practice since they acquired my work.
A mentee is undertaking honours at RMIT and another was offered honours next year at UWA. If interested, contact Alumni at UWA, Curtin and Edith Cowan Universities.
I provided studio workshops and was an invited online lecturer for undergraduates at the Indian Institute of Crafts & Design (IICD), in Jaipur, India. Also, in November I summarised my research at the 5th Australian Social Network Analysis Conference, and new work in “”out of the Park” at Stala Contemporary Art Gallery.
For 2021 the studio classes will continue, and metro and regional WA projects are currently being negotiated.
Sarah Jane Marchant
The infamous year of 2020 started positively as I was selected as a feature artist for Bluethumb Art in February and I continued work on the third book for local children’s author, Diana Smith. As things changed rapidly with COVID in March I adapted my classes as best I could until lockdown finally occurred.
Living up near Moore River meant that the intrastate borders made it hard for me to come into Perth for supplies as well as homeschooling a 12 and 9 year old, so I set up a space in the old caravan on our property and did my best to do a little bit of work in between schooling the kids. I also kept my painting class connected via zoom on a weekly basis. During lockdown I was given the time and space to try a few new ideas and created some new abstract pieces which will continue in 2021 I hope.
Out of lockdown, life quickly went into overdrive and with the upcoming exhibition at Stala in November, the remainder of the year was spent completing new pieces for Out of the Park. The exhibition went extremely well and I sold a record number of pieces, selling over 90% of work created in 2020. Also at the end of the year I started private art therapy classes with a previous student under NDIS and will continue in 2021.
The first part of next year will focus on the finishing of the children’s book and a commission for a buyer in the UK and hope to exhibit again throughout the year.
The Year of the unexpected
The year began in Paris, where Cate and I enjoyed many wonderful historical and contemporary exhibitions. While there, we heard about a virus causing problems in China. Little did we know. Arriving back late January, I was happy to be a finalist in the SBS Portrait Award in Melbourne. The painting was shipped off with high hopes, but before the exhibition opened, Covid19 hit and it went online. Knowing that it could be a long time before galleries would open again, I accepted that it would be a year to experiment with techniques and ideas.
The art buying public had different ideas. They started to get used to the online world. My works began to sell at virtual exhibitions and it started to look like one of my better years.
Galleries gradually reopened and the year culminated with our studio exhibition at Stala Contemporary. Wonderfully supported by Sherri, the very enthusiastic and experienced gallery owner, all the Robertson Park artists did well. I unexpectedly sold some very large works and received several commissions. Overall, it was a very positive year. The studio continues to thrive and I look forward to the year ahead with Graham, Carol, Fran and Sarah.
I remember reading somewhere that Monet said that in order to see, you have to forget the name of the object. I took that to heart and those landscapes were first seen in our “Out of the Park” exhibition in 2020 at Stala Contemporary.
I’d visited the Fitzgerald National Park in April and it was there and with Monet’s declaration in mind that I decided to use the very dry, tangled and scrappy visual appearance of our intact environment as a central theme in painting - to use mixed media, concentrating on dry mediums with oil paint. The dry medium was important as it was the dryness of the forms in the landscape I wanted to emulate in the physical makeup of the work.
So even though life was somewhat contrary to normal, I very much enjoyed my work, as usual. It ended wonderfully well with all my new work selling at Out of the Park and three commissions for new paintings in the same vein to boot.
I’m planning on keeping on painting in 2021 and making work with paperclay as well. For if I didn’t make art, what on earth would I do?