Residency report October: Jane Polkinghorne & Sarah Newall

Jane Polkinghorne and Sarah Newall are partners in life but not in art. From 2013-2016 they co-directed artist-space Marrickville Garage. 

Sarah Newall has worked over the past few years to make her practice and life sustainable and works towards zero-waste principles. She considers herself a maker and through fine-tuning her craft skills is working towards wearing clothes, shoes and accessories she has made herself using donated or second-hand materials wherever possible. 

Sarah Newall at Gunyah

Jane Polkinghorne’s practice often uses humour to reflect on gender representation and contemporary Australian culture. She primarily uses herself in video and photographic to avoid humiliating other people and also because she thinks she’s a superstar. Jane is currently attempting to shift the focus of her practice to reflect her ‘natural’ interests – walking, swimming in the bush and the ocean. 

Jane Polkinghorne at Gunyah

After two ½ years fostering a teenage boy we were very excited to get an extended break from the trails and tribulations (and occasional reward!) of caring through a stay at Gunyah artists-in-residence program.

We arrived at Gunyah on wet and wild Monday afternoon. This suited us perfectly and we bunkered down in the window seat overlooking the trees and for the first week, barely moving from the house. 

Sarah Newall at Gunyah

Sarah pulled her crafty materials out and distributed them all over the living room, focussing particularly on creating a nest-like structure on the couch. Sitting in her nest Sarah spent much of the time crocheting, pulling it apart and re-crocheting. The occasions she moved were spent gathering new stock at the local op shops in Tea Gardens and the Nelson Bay area, which proved to be hold quite a bonanza when it comes to yarn.

Sarah Newall at Gunyah

Through the first wet week Jane wandered the bush land around North Cove Arm, experiencing the gorgeous forest, bird life and mosquitoes. Once the wind stopped rushing in from either the north-east or the south Jane spent considerable time in the ocean and bush around Hawkes Nest. 

Jane Polkinghorne's whirlpool in the trees

In that first week the window seat became Jane’s studio and day bed. With the wind whipping through the trees and squalls of rain-washing through North Arm Cove Jane found herself lifting her eyes from her book to watch the trees lashing around. Over the 10 days she shot 38 short videos through the window on an ‘action’ camera. The fisheye lens of the tiny camera created video suggesting a vortex or aerial whirlpool in the trees outside the house. These videos are being composited together for a potential immersive ‘tree’ show. 

Jane Polkinghorne & Sarah Newall

Jane Richens: upcoming artist-in-residence

Jane Richens and with Cassie Doyle, standing in front of Jane's billboard work at the 

'Ephemeral Traces' exhibition 2016, UQ Art Museum, Brisbane.

Jane Richens is a visual artist who creates sculptural works of ‘Botanical Fictions’ – visual responses to forest ecosystems – plant forms made from felt, wire and timber. Working from her rainforested studio and home in Tabbil Forest, at the foothills of the Barrington Tops Wilderness Area, Jane is also involved in conserving the forest's biodiversity and is the chair of the Paterson Allyn Williams Science Hub, which organises science based community engagement programs.

Jane Richens speaking to a local gardening group visiting her Tabbil Forest rainforest home.

Originally from Queensland, Jane was very active in the 1980s Brisbane artist-run scene and arts advocacy movements. This was recognised by her representation in a major 2016 historical exhibition at the University of Queensland Art Museum ‘Ephemeral traces: Brisbane's artist-run scene in the 1980s’. Jane's early work was print based, portraits in domestic and urban environments using photography and photocopy technologies that were reworked with drawings and painting then recopied with some ending up at billboard size. Jane has studied at Queensland College of Arts and the Power Institute of Fine Arts University of Sydney. She has exhibited in That Contemporary Art Space Brisbane; First Draft Sydney; Dungog by Design; Back to Back Gallery Newcastle; Milburn + Arte Brisbane; Ivan Dougherty Gallery Sydney; Artspace at Pier4/5 Wharf Sydney; Institute of Modern Art Brisbane, and UQ Art Museum Brisbane.

Jane Richens, Botanical fictions: dead mans fingers green, 2017, handmade felt and timber

During her residency at Gunyah, Jane plans to research and observe the natural environment of the area and to create visual responses for an installation of sculptural works. This will become a development of her current ‘Botanical Fictions’ which are abstracted sculptural responses to life forms in the forest ecosystem using mostly hand made felt, wire and timber. She will also collect field recordings - such as photographs, sound recordings, drawings - particularly of the vegetation in the environment as a preliminary studies to develop future sculptural and installation works.

Jane Richens, Botanical fictions: bracket fungi, 2017, handmade felt and timber

For more information about Jane see and read the ARI Remix interview interview-jane-richens

Jane Richens, Botanical fictions: three stems with seed heads, 2017, handmade felt and timber

Call out for artists

Applications for the 2019 Gunyah artists-in-residence program are now open! 

Please apply via this online application form and read the ABOUT page before applying.

Visual artists, writers, composers, performance artists, curators, new media, designers, arts administrators and other creators are invited to apply for solo,
collaborative, family and group residencies.

The 2019 Gunyah AIR program will run from April to November, with seven residencies, each for eleven days:
1 - 12 April
6 - 17 May
7 - 28 June
5 - 16 August
2 - 13 September
14 - 25 October
4 - 15 November

Please note each residency at Gunyah costs $360 for eleven days or part thereof (this residency fee covers the use of the whole property, it does not apply per person). There is also a refundable $50 key deposit required.

See the ABOUT page for more information.

If you have further questions please email Kath at

Applications close 11pm Friday 30 November 2018

Gunyah waterfront, photo by Kath Fries

Residency report: Christopher Mouder

I don't have anything to show you, because I was recording sounds for my invisible sculptures. But I did capture some great sounds in the bush.

I talked to a Kookaburra, but he didn't talk back. 

And Dolphin came right up to the dock just as my friend Tom was about to jump off it.

I climbed Mt. Jaccaba and got to the top in time for sunset, then I was down on the beach in time to watch the full moon rise over the island right off the coast. I met two bush turkeys who just ignored me. 

I went up the beach to where the sand dunes are huge at Dark Point, an Aboriginal site. There was a family there at the largest dune with their boys boogie boarding down it. I went out to the Dark Point peninsula and hiked around the edge, recording the huge swells crashing into the rocks. 

One morning on my way into Tea Gardens I stopped to throw a bright green diamond back python off the road before he got run over.

The shell museum in Port Stephens has a great collection of cone shells and some really nice paper nautilus shells. The old guy there talked to me for a spell and showed me a blue ringed Octopus (which I still have yet to find in Cronulla) and confirmed that if you are bitten by one, someone just has to give you artificial respiration for 2-12 hours until the poison wears off and you can survive the bite.

I met John the Oyster farmer via Bob next door and he showed me all about oysters, how they grow and harvest them. I took 2 dozen and he lent me a shucking knife.

I cooked  ... a lot ... which is very relaxing for me. The dish rack didn't hold the dishes upright very well, so I found the one that is by the sink now. I hope it works well for you. The other one is in the cabinet above the brooms.

I thought someone broke into the house one night, but the next morning I discovered it was just a very loud mouse nibbling on the bananas!

I got some awesome recordings of the birds early one morning ... probably 5 or 6 different species yelling and screaming at each other. I will try and separate them out and then those sounds will be altered in timbre, pitch and speed as a person moves through the sculpture. Another sculpture will be made of water, from the quiet peeling of the tiny waves at Jimmy's Beach to the thunderous ones crashing in the rocks at Dark Point.

I was also allowed the peace of mind to really get into researching Lygia Clark, an artist I am using in my literature review who is one of my favorites.

Everyone on the outside world thinks doing a PhD is like a vacation ... but it's not. For doing a project based on an embodied experience of sculpture involving movement and dance, I've never sat so much in my entire life. And rarely do I have time for my own thoughts. Gunyah let me get back outside, where I feel at home. In another life, I was raised by wolves ... or maybe dolphins. And I was able to daydream and just look at the moon rise from the veranda or down at the benches near the water.

Thanks again for much needed respite from my PhD and time to actually do some artwork.

Jane Polkinghorne and Sarah Newall: upcoming artists-in-residence

Sarah Newall and Jane Polkinghorne 

Jane Polkinghorne and Sarah Newall are artists and partners who live in Sydney. Since 2013 they have been working together on Marrickville Garage, an alternative project space that sits between the studio and the gallery, engaging with new experimental work at the interesting point between process and resolution, They also both have their own individual art practices. Jane works across video, performance, photography and installation, focusing on a critical and humorous examination of the pathos and horror of the gendered body. Recent projects merge performance, video with low budget post-production techniques in response to the embodied condition filtered through nostalgia and popular culture. She situates her practice within contemporary and historical feminist discourse, using a fascination with how disgust manifests and is both contained and provoked through humour as extra stimulus. She has long-standing participation in creative collaborations and commitment to involvement in artist-run spaces as part of her practice. In 2016 Jane completed her doctorate Foam Rainbow - Where Humour, Disgust And Failure Mingle In Contemporary Art. Over the past five years Jane has exhibited at The LockUp Gallery Newcastle, Marrickville Garage, ArtSpace Sydney, 55 Sydenham Road Project Space, Australian Centre for Photography and AirSpace Projects. 

Jane Polkinghorne, A Woman's Man, 2017, video performance / animation

During this residency at Gunyah, Jane plans to explore tidal sensations through various endurance performance and video experiments in, out and on the body of water at North Arm Cove and surrounds in varieties of weather and wind. 
See more of Jane's work -

Jane Polkinghorne & Ingrid Stiertzel, Sadisco, 2017, Two channel Video installation

Sarah's practice focuses on sustainability, aiming to live by the zero waste principles of refuse, reduce, recycle, reuse, and rot. In line with this she is rethinking her wardrobe to bring it in line with sustainable principles, and to bypass the possibility of buying unethically produced clothing that is poor quality ‘fast fashion’. Sarah creates seasonal wardrobes called ‘Fashist’ out of used stockpiled fabric from an old 2007 fashion project, as well as acquired materials from Reverse Garbage, fabric remnant shops, donated materials and wool from family and friends. Fashist will now be forever ongoing and evolving. In 2010 Sarah completed her PhD thesis, ‘New still life,’ which investigated the placement and role of still life in contemporary art. Since then Sarah has exhibited at Red Art Gallery QLD, Verge Gallery Sydney, Marrickville Garage, Articulate Project Space, 55 Sydenham Road Project Space, AirSpace Projects and James Dorahy Gallery Sydney. 

Sarah Newall, Fashist winter wardrobe, 2016

During this residency at Gunyah, Sarah plans to pursue her interest in weaving, which she will later incorporate into other garment projects when back in Sydney.
See more of Sarah's work -

Sarah Newall, Recycled Paintings, 2016

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