Residency report: Sylvia Griffin

Sylvia Griffin, Gunyah AIR August 2018

The residency at Gunyah was the perfect place to unwind from the day-to-day stresses of city commitments and concentrate on my work. The only interruptions were from birdlife in the trees outside my window and the siren call of the sun-drenched deck! I set up my desk in front of the upstairs window to maximise my view of the treetops and have easy access to the deck.

Sylvia Griffin, Gunyah AIR August 2018
Sylvia Griffin, Gunyah AIR August 2018

I was able to do some research reading and to write a conference paper in my time there. I was then free to plan artworks for upcoming shows. My days were fairly disciplined – mainly spent at my desk with occasional walks down to the jetty to commune with pelicans and white-faced herons – or gathering kindling for the nightly fire. Nights were spent reading in front of the fire, eating and playing board games with Robert – when he wasn’t in Sydney working.

Sylvia Griffin, Gunyah AIR August 2018

Gunyah holds a very special place in my heart and I hope to return sometime the near future. Thanks for the wonderful opportunity!

Sylvia Griffin

Sylvia Griffin, Gunyah AIR August 2018

Christopher Mouder: upcoming artist-in-residence

Christopher Mouder

Christopher Mouder is a designer and artist currently based in Sydney. Born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, Christopher spent his childhood roaming the seashore and sand dunes of Fernandina Beach. The constant movement in the water, wind, and clouds, and the violent electrical storms that blow in across the ocean inspire his creations made from glass, metals, paper and textiles. Since 1993, Christopher has been designing, engineering, fabricating, and installing bespoke lighting sculptures and furniture and a limited edition line of lighting fixtures. These sculptural works of art are diverse in nature, material and environment. Light is always present in Christopher's work. His material palette and lighting palette exist in a symbiotic relationship. Using light his sculptures’ come to life; reaching out into a space through color, shadow, and radiance.
Christopher has a BA in English from the University of Florida in Gainesville and an MFA in furniture design at the Savannah College of Art and Design. For 19 years he operated his design business and studio in Atlanta, GA, creating bespoke commissions for Lowes Hotel, One and Only Resorts, J Crew, Macy’s, and Absolut Vodka, as well as other international hotels, casinos, restaurants, retail outlets and private residential clients. In 2012 Moulder installed Mammatus, a kinetic lighting sculpture in the Arrivals Hall in Terminal F at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Recent work includes exploring a technique he developed using fiberglass thread to create ethereal, cloud-like sculptures which are lit kinetically using computer controlled LEDs. He is presently a research PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, where he is exploring dance, light and sound through the creation of invisible sculptures at the Creative Robotics Lab.

Christopher Mouder, Mammatus2012, nickle plated brass bead chain, lighting, aluminum

My present project and PhD thesis at the Creative Robotics Lab at UNSW explores the creation of virtual, “invisible” sculptures which one can move through, occupy, dance with. My work to date involves light as a primary medium and is either kinetic or highly referential to movement and human gesture. However, I have always found the experience of simply viewing a work lacking. I want more than to simply have an audience look at a work for a few fleeting moments; I want them to experience the movement of the work, the essence of space and form, and the elements of light and sound by themselves moving to experience the work. The audience member becomes the performer and the only way to perceive the art is to dance with it.

Christopher Mouder, Seraph2002crystal, silk, aluminum, light

During my residency at Gunyah I plan to explore the forms that my new sculptures will take and to research the human movement involved with creating them. As these sculptures are meant to be moved in, and through, their form is not determined so much by their visual appearance and the formal qualities one normally associates with sculpture (indeed they are invisible). 

Christopher Mouder, Kapow!, 2015fiberglass, epoxy resin, light

To see more of Christopher's work go to his website

Sylvia Griffin: upcoming artist-in-residence

Sylvia Griffin is a Sydney based artist whose work focuses on trauma, displacement, memory and history, advancing the notion that contemporary art can offer a means to express grief and mourning as an alternative to the traditional monument or memorial experience. Sylvia's practice is materially diverse ranging across sculpture, installation, textiles, video and photography. She often employs materials traditionally used in memorial culture – such as metal and stone – unconventionally, to lend a playful yet political aspect in personalising and feminising this inherently masculine domain. Sylvia often works with a range personal objects to maintain a connection to memory and intimate families history, including using her mother’s dowry linen and filming herself unraveling then reknitting a 55 year-old childhood cardigan. 

Sylvia Griffin, Inhabit, 2016, human hair and monogrammed damask linen, 63 cm diameter 

Over the past fifteen years Sylvia has exhibited in many exhibitions, awards and prizes, both nationally and internationally. She was the winner of the $20,000 Willoughby Sculpture Prize in 2013. Last year Sylvia was awarded a PhD from Sydney College of the Arts, the University of Sydney for her practice-led research entitled Inscribing Memory: Art and the Place of Personal Expressions of Grief in Memorial Culture. During the course of her postgraduate candidature she was the recipient of several scholarships and research grants. Later this year she will be presenting a conference paper based on her research and practice titled Presence and Absence: The Role of Contemporary Art in Engaging with Jewish Heritage in Krakow, Poland. 

Sylvia Griffin, Soot, 2016, soot on marble, 10 x 520 cm

While at Gunyah I plan to create new work for several shows scheduled for later this year including an exhibition with photographer Anne Zahalka at the Sydney Jewish Museum and work for a solo show in the inaugural Biennale of Australian Art (BOAA) at Ballarat. I also hope to finalise my conference paper and take advantage of Gunyah’s beautiful natural environment to indulge in a little bushwalking and birdwatching!

Sylvia Griffin, Untitled, 2017, plaster, wax, metal pins, human hair,
cat whisker, cardboard, matchboxes and marble, dimensions variable 

To see more of Sylvia’s work please go to 

Residency report: Nerine Martini and Paula Broom

Three figuresPaula Broom, Gunyah 2018

We arrived in the pouring rain during a cold snap. It rained constantly throughout the first night and day, and it took us a while to warm up. Yet only a couple of days into the residency, the sun shone and we were able to venture out into the bush. The wet leaves sparkled on the paths, and cobwebs in the undergrowth glistened with dew in the sun.

Sunrise, Paula Broom, Gunyah 2018

With the fire warming the house and the light dancing on the water below, we settled into the relaxing space, enjoying the changing colours on the water, soft pinks, cool greys and orange sunsets. One day the scene was even blanketed in soft mist. During our stay we caught glimpses of wildlife - sea eagle, kangaroos and even a pod of dolphins in a nearby bay.

Nerine's work space, Gunyah 2018

Paula continued to explore ideas around ecology and perception. She collected fallen leaves and stitched them into expressive, single eyed masks, which formed the basis of an afternoon’s photoshoot in the bush - the very bush from where the leaves had been foraged. Nerine and her friend Christine, who was visiting for the afternoon, wore the masks and were photographed in amongst the tea trees, ironbarks and angophora and other plants near Gunyah.

Nerine and Craig, Gunyah 2018

Nerine also had a sewing project evolving;  stitching poetic words onto hessian. These will be part of a larger installation of sandbags and text. She also spent a part of each day reading and writing as shecontinuesher practice led PhD.  Nerine’s partner Craig  drove up from Sydney to celebrate his birthday with us. He stayed on for a couple of days over the weekend, when Paula took the ferry from Tea Gardens over to Nelson Bay to spend a night with family there.

Sunset from the jetty, Paula Broom, Gunyah 2018

Evenings were spent by the fireside, after co-created meals, talking about art as well as our shared experiences.  Often time, reading or even stitching happened now, the slow meditative type that really allowed us to unwind and reflect upon our lives happenstance.

Morning mist off the jetty, Paula Broom, Gunyah 2018

In the studio, we both experimented with frottage techniques, rubbing leaves and text to make layered impressions onto thin paper, and Paula even tried out an idea she had involving burnishing and printmaking.

Paula and Nerine at Gunyah

Overall it was a wonderful, relaxing stay in the homely, healing environment of Gunyah.  The house exuded the feel of family times, and friendships continued and forged.  We could imagine many celebratory lunches and dinners around the kitchen table, overlooking that view! It allowed us the time and space to experiment and create and to cook and share wonderful meals throughout the stay.

Nerine Martini and Paula Broom
Residency report July 2018

Residency report: Phillippa Murphy-Haste and Patrik Jarlestam

We had a wonderful time at Gunyah, waking up every morning to look out over the landscape and spy pelicans and dolphins in the water. 
It was the perfect place for a creative retreat and gave us space and time to think carefully about our craft. 
We used our time in North Arm Cove to experiment with musical ideas and devise new processes of working together. 
Patrik started learning new programming skills in order to see how we could interact with clarinet and video projections. He also took many photos of the natural landscape and surrounding area for incorporation into his projections. 
We collaborated on new compositions and invited some friends to play with us who also brought their own music which we played together. 
Gunyah is a unique place for artists to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and focus on creativity within a calm and serene environment. 
We absolutely loved our stay. Thank you so much to Kath and all the owners of Gunyah for having us.

Phillippa Murphy-Haste and Patrik Jarlestam

Patrik Jarlestam and Phillippa Murphy-Haste at Gunyah 
Gunyah jetty, Phillippa Murphy-Haste and Patrik Jarlestam residency 
Trees and water, Phillippa Murphy-Haste and Patrik Jarlestam Gunyah 
Sideways rocks, Phillippa Murphy-Haste and Patrik Jarlestam Gunyah 

Nerine Martini and Paula Broom: upcoming artists-in-residence

Paula Broom and Nerine Martini working together in Sydney 2018

Nerine Martini is a visual artist, based in Sydney, working across the fields of sculpture, installation, socially engaged art, public art and drawing. Her work has been included in major award exhibitions such as Sculpture by the Sea, the Blake Prize and the Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Awards. Nerine's practice shifts continually between her studio and exhibition practice and working on community-based, public art projects. Martini is currently a PhD candidate at Sydney College of the Arts. More info

Nerine Martini, Holding the Key, 2017, photograph by Paula Broom
excerpt of work in progress with community groups at Blacktown Arts Centre

Sydney-based artist and environmentalist, Paula Broom, believes art can reconnect us to our natural world and built environments, as well as to ourselves, our health and each other. Working in expanded photo-media, she explores ecological, social and personal issues relating to loss, death, extinction and our collective future. Paula's work has recently been selected as a finalist in Head On Photo Festival Awards and the Australian Photography Awards. She is an active member of the environmental artist’s collective the Tree Veneration Society, and also manages Instagramers Sydney on Instagram, underpinning her sentiment that art creates a strong sense of place, connects people and creates social cohesion. 
More info

Paula Broom, Endless Pink Ladder, 2017, bricklayers line and painted dowel

Nerine and Paula met as patients at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in 2016 whilst undergoing treatment for breast cancer. They recognised in each other a shared interest in creating artworks that engage both art and nature in the healing process and subsequently began exhibiting together later that year. Even though they have both finished their breast cancer treatments, they continue to live with an increased level of uncertainty and therefore wish to use their time at Gunyah to investigate more personal notions of health, conferred by nature and art.

Nerine Martini, Social Scaffold, 2017, bamboo, porcelain, string, hessian sandbags, (detail view)

During their Gunyah residency Nerine Martini and Paula Broom plan to explore experiences of the human body in the landscape, the human body as landscape; and relationships between health, wellbeing and the natural environment. This will include drawing and frotage techniques, as well as working with Olloclips (macro lenses) with mobile phones in the field, which will then be combined collaboratively back in the studio. The process of walking in and through the landscape will contribute to the conceptual development of the artwork, by physically relating to the environment. The senses of smell, touch, sight and sound, will all be involved in reconnecting with the physicality of being in the body and being in the landscape, an immersion in nature.

Paula Broom, Goodbye to all that, 2017, waterproofed plaster 

Residency report: Heidi Lee Douglas, Megan Riakos and Shideh Faramand

Heidi Lee Douglas, Megan Riakos and Shideh Faramand,
Gunyah artists-in-residence May 2018

"Two weeks of clean air, the ever changing light on the water, a chorus of birds as companions. In some ways I wish I had spent more time exploring the beautiful outside landscape of the whole area, but for me time at Gunyah was a chance to be quiet with myself and explore the inner, creative landscape. Gunyah provided a fresh perspective to think deeply and clearly, and bring down onto the page the stories that have brewing inside me and asking to born or refined.
I was relieved to have these intense writing sessions punctuated by the passionate discussions and meals with my colleagues Megan and Shideh who had been thrashing out their own projects. Or to take an hour for by a head clearing walk in the forest on our doorstep. I made great headway on three projects whilst at The Gunyah and cried tears of gratitude when I left, because it felt like the generous community that created the Artists in Residence had enabled a new chapter of my life into existence.” 
Heidi Lee Douglas

Writing by the water, Gunyah artists-in-residence May 2018

“So many writers I know juggle a number of freelance jobs, projects and general life commitments. It means that without a hard-and-fast external deadline, it’s easy to get distracted by the never-ending ‘to do’ lists of life. But a writer’s retreat helps you to stake a claim on your time, compelling you to meet your page count and by the end of the retreat I was able to finally click save on the first full draft of my feature script Hidden Valley.
But Gunyah is not just a place of exile. For me it was a place to type away while overlooking the stunning North Arm Cove, a place to enjoy the last ounces of warm weather with a kayak on the water and morning runs through the bush and a place to share hearty dinners and inspiring discussions with fellow writers and friends Heidi and Shideh.
It reminds me that even though a writer’s life can sometimes feel like an uphill battle, it is in fact a pleasure and a privilege to be able to create and to do this in the beautiful Gunyah is the cherry on the top.”
Megan Riakos

Tree top view from writing desk, Gunyah artists-in-residence May 2018

"We each came to this sacred spot to focus on the task at hand. Each project different, but passion and determination the same. Such a rare experience but one we were fortunate enough to share. I can’t stress enough the importance of this opportunity … to step outside your daily life and to indulge ones artistic pursuits. It was a magical retreat … souls were nourished, and the presence of past artists felt in the walls.” 
- Shideh Faramand

Sky boat, Gunyah artists-in-residence May 2018