Kim Percy and Morgan Williams: artists-in-residence June 2013

Kim Percy, Flight, 2013, acrylic paint on paper

Kim Percy - reflections on Gunyah

The Gunyah Residency was an opportunity for me to reconnect with painting.  Over the last 20 years since finishing my undergrad, I have moved further and further into a digital realm.  Through photography I discovered photoshop and digital imaging. My Masters concentrated on Digital Abstraction and I have been pushing the digital horizon for many years.

With me on the residency was my partner, Morgan, our two boys, Joss 9 and Tarquin 4, and a close friend and adopted ‘aunt’ Selena. Morgan had his own art project that involved a bag full of bottle caps and the environment. The kids were also keen to draw, make model robots and play violin. I think it is important for children to experience creative expression as a valid pursuit and career option.

Joss drawing at the Gunyah table, June 2013

Tarquin’s ‘man drawing’ photographed by Tarquin

Our experience began on a cold frosty morning in Daylesford, Victoria. The car was packed and children revved up.  We drove to Wagga Wagga and stayed the night in a cramped motel on the edge of town. I don’t think any of us were eager to stay any longer than we had to! From there we continued on the highway to Sydney where we spent 2 nights right on Darling Harbour where Vivid Festival put on a bigshow! A trip to MCA wet my appetite for art making. Tarquin wasn’t too sure once he realised he couldn’t touch the art. He stormed out of the building stating ‘I don’t like art!’ I hope we can change his mind.

Arriving at Gunyah was like a breeze of fresh air. The weather was sunny and balmy, the water lapped at the bottom of the garden, the house big and comfortable. Ahhhh…. The kids loved the rock pools and still water.

Joss on the rocks, Gunyah foreshore, June 2013

I didn’t waste any time and set myself up in the studio below. I ignored the yellow and blue walls and focused on the view from the window. One of the first visitors I had was a magpie. Its presence reminded me of the white winged chough. Our house is situated in shrubby bush and our garden is often full of choughs calling their sorrowful song. An interesting bird, they look a lot like ravens but behave more like cockatoos. They live in communities and bring up their young as a group. This resonates with me.

Kim Percy, Gunyah studio, June 2013

From my initial drawings I made stencils. I wanted to work at building up layers and textures. I had a very large drawing that Joss had made as part of a collaborative piece from the last Ballarat International Foto Biennale 2011. I had photographed it as a backdrop, which became part a large Perspex sculpture. I have always loved the intricate, story telling he creates with simple line work. With his permission I divided up the drawing into 4 panels about A0 in size. These become the groundwork for my bird series.

Kim Percy, Red Ochre Bird and Spirit, 2013, acrylic paint on paper

Kim Percy, Ying and Yang, 2013, acrylic paint on paper

A number of repeated symbols emerged with the work – a gold cross, cloud, circle, open heart and trail of dotted lines, which I have used to connect parts within the composition.  The transparent background has allowed Joss’s planes, monster, rockets and people to come through. Amongst the lines he has written words like ‘Lava’ and ‘Warning’ which have become integrated into the works and a juxtaposition to the floating clouds and birds in flight.  I love the complexity and the depth within the surface. The muted colours allow the eye to wander un-hindered over the artwork. Each work compliments one another and creates a larger experience. I completed around 8 paintings that I hope to show sometime soon.

The Gunyah is a spark that has reignited my love of painting!

Kim Percy, Untitled, 2013, acrylic paint on paper

Morgan Williams - reflections on Gunyah

My time at Gunyah was a pivotal point in the development of a new series of artwork I have been contemplating.  It is the culmination of an interest with two elements: Land art and recycling.

The temporal nature of Land art and the resulting Earthworks as an art movement has long been a fascination for me. I have for sometime, been in awe of the ephemeral nature of their work. To create something that is so momentary and fleeting, to watch it dissolve back into the environment, sometimes before it is even finished, fascinates me. Could I do that? Create an artwork and watch it disappear before anyone sees it? I like that Land art is in direct contrast to how art is treated in galleries, to be painstakingly preserved at all costs.

I also have a keen interest in the environment.  Having moved into a more rural setting, where I need to remove all the waste from our property on a weekly basis, has made me acutely aware of the amount of plastic in our lives.  Looking at our recycle bin each week, I started to think about what would happen if I had to keep all this plastic.  The thought was over whelming!  What about one small part then? The plastic bottle caps?  Over the past 12 months I have been keeping all our plastic lids.

By the time we were heading to Gunyah I had collected a green shopping bag full of coloured plastic lids and the idea to create some artwork. With an Earth Artist aesthetic in the back of my mind I went for a stroll to the waters edge. The idea of introducing plastic into the beautifully pristine environments and waterways was at first repellent. It is in such contrast to the environment. Unlike Earth Art, it is not using natural materials. Slowly one by one I added my bottle caps. Like a growth they spread forth, covering the rocks. Like many Land Artists before me, I documented by taking photos. The resulting images in turn led to stop motion artworks. My next art series was born! I enthusiastically placed bottle caps in various configurations photographing as I went. The result is over 2 minutes of animation and a head full of ideas and exciting future directions.

Morgan Williams, Emergence, 2013

Am I a Land Artist? I began reading more about Land art. Apparently it is “an artistic protest against the perceived artificiality, plastic aesthetics and ruthless commercialization of art at the end of the 1960’s”1. Perhaps my new form of “PlastiCap LandArt” is in itself a protest against the deliberate state of denial we are all in with regards to our daily use of plastic? If we throw something ‘away’, where is ‘away’?

Morgan Williams, Emerge, 2013, plastic bottle caps on rock

Morgan Williams, Colonise, 2013, plastic bottle caps on rock

While at Gunyah I also discovered the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ and the mockumentary by ‘Heal the Bay’ in Southern California titled the ‘The Majestic Plastic Bag’. This short video captured our hearts and minds while away.  The kids have asked to watch it many times and share it with friends!

We are all now acutely aware which coloured caps match what drinks - gold and pink are rare, blue is very common.  We are slowly reducing our addition to plastic one cap at a time.  I now have friends, café’s and local schools helping me collect plastic caps with a vision of more artworks.  I have discovered an endless array of plastic cap art online; some people even covering their whole houses!

Thank you Gunyah, who knows where my CAPart will take me...


To see more of Kim and Morgan's work go to their website