Helen Hopcroft & Karen Smith: upcoming artists-in-residence

Helen Hopcroft grew up in Tasmania, completed a Fine Arts degree in Hobart and then traveled to London to complete a Masters degree in Painting at the Royal College of Art (1992-1994). After living in London for some years, she returned to Australia in 2000 to participate in the Adelaide Festival with a solo exhibition of paintings. Hopcroft provided the image for the 2000 Festival poster, a painting in the collection of Festival Director Robyn Archer. Her publication list includes Ceramic Art & Perception magazine, the Australian newspaper, Sydney Morning Herald, NAVA quarterly, unsweetened (UNSW literary review), Art Monthly, ArtsHub.com and various other online or print media resources. Her first book, ‘100 women’, co-written with Katharine Gillett of the Hunter Writers Centre, and featuring interviews with one hundred notable women associated with the University of Newcastle, including Margaret Olley, Susie Porter and Julie Ainsworth, was published last year.
 "...a single figure, often depicted on the verge of some decision, some difficult choice. Frequently these decisions appear pedestrian, offering the sculpted figure deceptively simple options: to enter a doorway, or remain outside; to sit on a chair or remain standing; to wait or leave; to climb a ladder or stay close to the ground. Yet underlying this apparent simplicity is a continual quiet recognition that all action has consequence, whether perceived by the actor or not, and this consequence will have to be reckoned with eventually: you cannot escape your acts anymore than you can escape your shadow, memories or mortality..."
(Helen Hopcroft, 'Peter Tilley and the Garden of Death',  Art Monthly Australia, 2012)
Helen plans to spend her time at Gunyah working on her writing projects including, 1001 Nights, a novella length re-imagining of the Arabian Nights, told from Scheherazade’s perspective; a related novel with the provisional title of Catharine: a reverse fairy tale; and Beautiful Day, a paranormal crime novel set in Newcastle, NSW. While the first two projects explore similar themes of fairy tale imagery, female power and eroticism, the last is more experimental in terms of content.  www.helenhopcroft.wordpress.com

Karen Robinson Smith, Journey’s End, cast aluminium on stainless steel, 2011.

Karen Robinson Smith is from Bourke NSW and is currently based on the central coast of NSW where she continues her studies at the University of Newcastle as a PhD candidate. Her focus is primarily sculptural, but often incorporates painted works, photo media and textiles. Karen has participated in over fifty group exhibitions since 2000, as well as six solo exhibitions. She has won a number of art awards, including the acquisitive University of Newcastle Student Art Prize. Her work is held in private collections both in Australia and overseas, as well as at the Soldiers Memorial Toowoomba, The University of Newcastle Collection and the collection of Artspace Mackay, Queensland.

This residency will be an ideal opportunity to further my recent work looking at renewal - exploring regeneration, not simply of the body, but also of the spirit. These interests have been prompted by my own long period of illness and the lengthy journey of my recovery. The Gunyah residency will provide a tranquil location to nurture both my art practice and myself. I hope to use this residency to explore photographically human frailty, possibly by portraying shadows passing fleetingly through areas of dead and decaying plant and animal life: timeless images that will evoke past memories of family and friends long gone. A great deal of the time will be spent organising my photographic work ready to be printed on canvas when I return. I will be taking a printer and computer to enable me to print the final possibilities on paper first, and draw up the designs, which will then be embroidered over the top of the canvas. I also hope to use wax to take impressions of interesting textures with the hope of recreating some of these in bronze. I look forward to exploring the possibilities.