Melissa Harvey: upcoming artist-in-residence

Melissa Harvey creating a cotton pulp wall installation at Sydney College of the Arts

Melissa Harvey is a Sydney based artist who predominantly works with cotton pulp sprayed onto wall surfaces and silk screens to create site specific installations and large scale sculptural paper works. The textural residue of surfaces and spaces that Melissa inhabits evoke a sense of place. Her experiences of the materiality of places informs her practice, such as different urban visual and textural surfaces of concrete, bitumen, rubble, sand and cement of the city skin. With contrasting tones, Melissa also conjures the sparkling effect of sunlight or night-lights on water. Her works have an immersive soft, textured, layered surface. The pulp material is made from recycled cotton clothing and domestic cloth, which is developed through a process of tearing and cutting fabric, then crushing down the cloth in a beating machine. The final process of spraying the pulp forms an open-ended space for thought and memory. Melissa recently completed a Masters in Fine Arts at Sydney College of the Arts and was a finalist in the Fremantle Print Prize.

Melissa Harvey, Dark Matter, 2017, recycled cotton pulp and ink on paper

I have recently begun a new body of work, collecting textures from bushland surrounding Sydney. During my residency at Gunyah I plan to expand on these investigations documenting bushland textures via photographs, drawings and rubbings. I am also interested in how the light changes throughout the day and reflects off surfaces. I will be writing a response to each texture discovered in the moment of the experience, as a record of my emotional response to reflect on later in my studio practice.

Melissa Harvey, The Haptic, 2016, recycled cotton pulp and ink on canvas and wall

You can see more of Melissa's work at

Residency report: Jan Cleveringa

My time at Gunyah was solitary and fulfilling, with some interesting experiences and not just through art. I travelled around the area and invested some time at 'Stroud' researching the landscape and painting but mostly I remained on the Gunyah property supervising my environmental impression-mark making drawings from the trees.

I had many ideas to make things. I used charcoal from the fireplace, pens and inks. I broiled a gum leaf tea and used the rich smelling concoction to stain or dye the surface of papered drawing works. I collaborated with nature, or facilitated with it, and the natural environment to make the marks. I had the wind and branches communicate to me back on paper through kinetic processes and impressions. 
I cut and rearranged the natural original order of the mark making by the tree and wind, as a purposeful metaphor for where humankind habitually re-orders environments from chaos or entropy. But unbeknownst to us that could also be an evolved natural pattern of things like the Fibonacci sequence which is also found in nature in different ways. The brown stains are a dripping of gum leaf broil that I made when I was experimenting with gum leaves.

Jan Cleveringa, Untitled 1 - Listening to Trees Series, Environment vs. Humankind, 2019

I also thought of a ways to get mark making from the waves that greeted the shore near the jetty but I ran out of time. A project now for another time. I also cut gum leaves for an idea for a large painting for next year where I started to flatten and dry them between wood boards. I recorded animal sounds and noises of the nightscape and the dayscape, of animals and winds for some audio and video works later.

Sometimes my habits caught up with my reality from a different perspectives and reminded me of my daily addictions. For example, having spent time working on my art, I would sit down with a cup of tea on break, presuming to relax at lunch infront of the TV. That's right, there's no TV! I caught myself twice on the first two days staring at the fireplace at lunch time, reflecting on my expectations for the rest of the day, before I changed that habit. So instead of watching the box I watched the scenery on the balcony. I don't often draw from life but I drew a visiting Kookaburra. I'd lost touch with traditional drawing. The Kookaburra came back several days in a row with a junior sidekick, followed by the darting native Mynor birds around their faces. A Magpie there too. 

Earlier, I'd seen the Kingfisher use his beak, cracking and whacking it, onto the wood like it might be a small snake before eating. I'd never noticed that hard blunt noise before. I'd never seen the power of such a small bird even as a kid growing up. It made me think of all the endangered fauna and flora we are losing in the world as part of my arts practice - the 'paradigm of sustainability'.

Jan Cleveringa, Untitled - Screenshot Series - Plein Air Landscape Gunyah, 2019, 
Oil on Marine Plywood

At Gunyah, there was no shortage of Lorikeet shrieks or bats at night. I had the chance to film a nice slo-mo of a magpie who came to say hello too when I was on the balcony. It gave me some ideas for printmaking. 

Overall, I achieved my goals of some kinetic, experimental drawing that I call the "Listening to Trees" series and tried my hand at Plein Air painting of the landscape in the shape of contemporary screenshots. I painted the trees in the backyard slope, train track at Newcastle and the bush.

Jan Cleveringa
Gunyah artist-in-residence report
September 2019 

Residency report: Michelle St Anne

On the cusp at Gunyah

Hurtling along at 110 on the M1 is quite a propulsion. Churned with the anxiety of missing the turnoff. Then what? Where would I end up? Would it take me forever to find my way back?

But I didn’t. I slowed and found the turnoff to a quiet road which led to us through a few curly fork turns before it settling along the river.

A metaphor for the residency.

Filled with trepidation, I had planned for this time away. The hurtling began as I had filled my body with The Natural Way of Things, Eggshell Skull, An Isolated Incident and King King Theory, plus several recent newspaper articles about violence, and the Diane Brimble coroner’s report. Before I left Sydney I also purchased See what you made me do… but was unable to open it.

All of this bouncing around my little body curling around old memories all to the soundtrack of Kari Norgaard’s lecture “I’m not talking about denial”.

The foul of the air is my new work in development, and it is a difficult work to make. The content, of course, but it’s also the way the content rests in the muscles and bones, causing an eerie uneasiness of what is to come. In the dreaming and interactions with those who are unaware of what you are harbouring. You get angry, you see injustice everywhere and you look for violence in every thing in the every day.

I had to get this out, onto a page, away from me, at a safe distance.

The residency was to give me that safe place, so that I could vomit her out from me. But it did not happen that way. It was quiet. Still. She crept out without me even realising it.

The timber home is split with the snug deep in the belly of the building with a window seat that formed my place for the duration. Here is where the dreaming, thinking, crafting, sculpting would take place. Here is where I’d slumber through horrific thoughts. Abuse not experienced by many, but by all accounts, too many. Those remaining silent in the shadows that fall throughout homes across Australia.

I took myself on regular walks along the roadside, obsessed with some of the homes on the river. Feeling a certain unease as I passed by some and relief by others. I’d turn back, head another way and then another, finding a place where I could physically settle. It was down by the very edge of the pier where I found the solace. Helped by gusts of winds that threw themselves against my body. I was relieved. The splinters of cold shards pushed against my skin and I was alive. This was not a dream.

I’d return to the window seat with my butchers paper and post it notes. I had to understand how Heiner Goebbels’ coded Stifters Dinge. That was my best way forward. I could this composing technique to provide myself with a framework. That will be provide the life buoy. When I felt myself hurtle forward there was scaffolding to catch me.

I was happy that my dramaturg Mark Bosch had timestamped the work for me, so it was really about putting them into the colour codes so I could see it’s unique pattern. From here I would work to reorganised and reweave them into the script. Goebbels’ work is rich and complex and I hadn’t quite cracked its code. Frustrated, I went to Tea Gardens/ Hawkes Nest to shift the dynamic. There on Bennet’s Beach the pod of dolphins appeared. Body surfing through the outgoing tide. There was no resistance in their being. At peace with no sense of threat. I knew I had to find that peace, ride the surf without this resistance I was feeling.

After more dreamings on the pier, I started transposing Goebbels into my own treatment of theatrical elements. The sun skipping along the incoming tide. The full moon crafting shadows through the gums – these all found their way onto the paper. I was moving away from Goebbels’ structure and sculpting my own voice.

Back on the window seat I found the Wood piece, the nexus for the work. As if she Charlotte herself, had carefully left the book open to the chapter.

Gunyah was a safe place for me - to dream, to imagine and to sculpt new possibilities. 

Michelle St Anne, August 2019

Jan Cleveringa: upcoming artist-in-residence

Jan Cleveringa with his work at Eden Gardens

Jan Cleveringa is a Sydney based artist exploring impacts of global cultural change, identity, technology and sustainability. He works experimentally across painting, sculpture and video. Jan has been a studio resident at the Leo Kelly Blacktown Arts Centre and Peacock Gallery Studios in Auburn. He has been a finalist in Mosman Art Prize, Blacktown Art Prize, the Fishers Ghost at Campbelltown Arts Centre, Chippendale New World Art Prize, Hidden Sculpture Walk in Rookwood Cemetery, Sculpture at Scenic World Blue Mountains, Swell Sculpture Prize in Currumbin, Queensland and Adelaide Park Lands Art Prize SA. He recently won the 2019 Scenic Sculpture Environment Art Prize 2019 and Eden Unearthed Art Prize. Jan has exhibited with Galeria Zero in Barcelona, Basel, Berlin and Paris; and Sheffer Gallery, Darlington. 

Jan Cleveringa, A Moving World, 2017, 
fluorescent tubes and discarded wood 

During my residency at Gunyah I plan to take my time exploring and discovering the environment, and experimenting with painting Plein Air and kinetic drawing. I'm also looking forward to collecting found objects and discarded materials to use in sculptures. 

Jan Cleveringa, Imagining the Past Before It Happens, 2017, 
5000 fluorescent light globes in Jurassic rainforest

You can see more of Jan's work at

Michelle St Anne: upcoming artist-in-residence

The Living Room Theatre, Composing Self, 2018, performance 

Michelle St Anne is a Sydney based theatrical artist and founder of The Living Room Theatre. For almost 20 years The Living Room Theatre has delivered an extensive body of theatrical works with unique collaborations across genre, disciplines and industry; finding its home in both traditional venues and in spaces hurt and abandoned. Together they obsess with beauty and suffering to give voice to those considered less in our society. The Living Room Theatre is devoted to making poetics works that are beautiful to watch and to experience. Mixing theatre, movement, sound and film with text, the works collect the uneasiness of life and the random acts of cruelty, interweaving characters between life and desire, dreams and blurred reality.

The Living Room Theatre, I love Todd Sampson, 2016, performance 

Michelle sees her practice as sitting in the framework of ‘Composed Theatre’ – a philosophical lens which creates fragments of images, sounds, text that organises and reorganises, to evoke a circuitous environment where the viewer enters a constructed reality. "... I manipulate time spaces at the junction of dream logic. I look to destabilise the real and the unreal worlds by bringing together contradictory artforms, media and seemingly disparate collaborators (and a couple of my beloved horses). My early investigation into the compositional structures of orchestral music led me to ‘Composed Theatre’ – the result is a coded world of theatrical scores rather than scripts. I ask the performers to play with the relationship with themselves in topography of space in time in rhythm. Obsessed with the state of suffering, I am drawn to work in spaces that feel hurt, bruised, violated. My themes of female desire, the universal desire for something better and the suffering of everyday life. Within these states we find beauty. The private celebrations distilled yet unsettled. There is always something that isn’t quite right. My work is not about the straight narrative, nor about the theatrical arc but rather what is heart driven, illogical with the narrative meted out through image, light, sound and language."

The Living Room Theatre, just wanted to be alone with her, 2018, performance 

My time at Gunyah will involve the weaving stage of a new work 'The foul of the air'. Using the landscape as my canvas I look to work through the several components of sound, object and image to find how they resonate in the expanse of the outdoors. Drawing on the several threads born from previous developments I will work towards a completed map of the new work that weaves together the composed sounds, images and objects from 20 artists.

Joel Perlgut: upcoming artist-in-residence

Joel Perlgut

Joel Perlgut is a filmmaker living in Sydney. He is drawn to making work about stories that are strange, dark or goofy. Joel won the 2018 AWGIE Award for Best Short Film for his script on ‘I F*cked a Mermaid and No One Believes Me.’

Joel Perlgut, Still from 'Girt by Fear', 2016,

Joel is the co-creator and writer of the web series 'Girt by Fear' and is currently developing a second season of the show with Screen Australia and the ABC. Season 1 of Girt by Fear was nominated for awards at Raindance, LA Web Fest, Toronto Web Fest and the Australian Online Video Awards. Joel was the producer of Tropfest 2016 finalist Tay Man and his shorts have played at Flickerfest, Sitges De Nuit and Sydney Underground Film Festival. Joel’s fiction has been published in Voiceworks and UTS Writers Anthology and his theatre work has been performed at PACT Centre for Emerging Artists and Australian Theatre for Young People.

Joel Perlgut, Still from 'Sad Sachs', 2018

I am currently developing my debut feature film 'The Future is Cancelled,' a black comedy about a dysfunctional family who take a trip up the coast during the apocalypse. I will use the time at Gunyah to work on the first draft of the script, as well as prepare story materials like a treatment and synopsis. The Port Stephens area served as inspiration for the setting of the film and it will be valuable to take photos of the area as part of the writing process.

To find out more about Joel's practice go to his website

Residency report: Gabrielle Bates and Kassandra Bossell

Our time at The Gunyah was used to explore the tranquil intertidal zones along North Arm Cove, Karuah, Tea Gardens, Hawks Nest and Seal Rocks. Encounters with dolphins, kookaburras, pelicans, sea eagles and seals were among many highlights. Gentle walks up into the forested hills revealed much about Worrimi country, unfinished ancestral business and the slow “take-your-time” way the land and water reveal themselves for learning and healing. 

Gabrielle spent time on her “collaborations with nature” – working with oyster shells, seaweeds, grasses and rocks to create ephemeral offerings that remain only in photo documentation. She also worked on a new installation project involving stones found on her walks. Kassandra spent time writing a book chapter and presentation for an upcoming ClimeArt Conference in Wollongong. She also worked on developing new sculptural pieces using seaweed and heat formed plastic. Together we both worked on a new group performance titled “The Sleep Walkers” which will be part of the EDGE Festival in Sydney during August 2019.

Communing with all the diverse entities and histories of North Art Cove was confronting, but also a joy. We are deeply grateful to Kath Fries and The Gunyah Board for giving us the opportunity to spend time in such a magical, more-than-human place.
Gabrielle Bates & Kassandra Bossell, May 2019

Gabrielle Bates and Kassandra Bossell: upcoming artists-in-residence

Gabrielle Bates

Gabrielle Bates is a Sydney-based artist and writer, who works across painting, sculpture and installation to explore intersections between place, politics and esoteric practice. An honours graduate from Sydney College of the Arts, she also possesses an MFA (research) from UNSW Art & Design. In 2007, Gabrielle undertook the prestigious Rimbun Dahan art residency in Kuala Lumpur, with subsequent placements in Penang, Manila and the Top End of Australia.

Gabrielle Bates, Talismanic Memory Map, 2017, mixed media assemblage

Gabrielle's art works have been selected for competitive award exhibitions including the Portia Geach Prize for Female Portraiture, North Sydney Art Prize, Tim Olsen Drawing Prize and the Wollongong Bicentennial Sculpture Award. A survey of her paintings was held at Victoria University in 2010 and in 2018 held a solo exhibition at DuckRabbit in Redfern, Sydney.

Kassandra Bossell

Kassandra Bossell is a multidisciplinary artist, working in sculpture and installation across gallery-based art, public art, commissions and community art. She exhibits in Australia and internationally and her artworks are held in private collections in Australia, China, New Zealand, Malaysia, Germany and US. She has completed commissions in a range of scales for diverse arts organizations. Kassana is a currently a Master of Fine Arts Research candidate at UNSW Art & Design. Her research areas include ecology, post-humanist philosophy, evolutionary biology and ecological art.

Kassandra Bossell, I am Phytoplankton, 2018, Thermoplastic, latex, Forton MG, leaves, human hair,
faux fur, feathers

Kassandra has lectured in Sculpture at the National Art School and tutored at universities, colleges and festivals around Australia. Kassandra has also worked with many community-based organizations, facilitating workshops and mentoring other artists. She has completed several residencies and often works with the Indigenous Yolgnu nation in Arnhem Land, to facilitate workshops and offer artist to artist skills. Kassandra has been a recipient of a 2018 UNSW Art & Design Research Travel Grant, 2015 Art on the Greenway Grant and 2012 Regional Art Grant, 2010 NT Artist to Artist Grant 2010, and 2005 Pat Corrigan Grant.

Kassandra Bossell, S'kin, 2018, latex

Combining our interests in biological connectivity and magical ritual, we are going to use our residency at Gunyah to work collaboratively, exploring the scientific nuances, mythologies and esoteric qualities of threshold zones such as the Gunyah foreshore. These key sites of ecological flow, the intertidal and littoral zones, have always been places of natural and cultural learning. We plan to delve into the close relationships between the human and non-human, material and immaterial to navigate site-specific creative processes. Together we will document our graphic, sculptural, performative and ephemeral encounters within this liminal landscape, and our creative experimentation will be developed into a larger installation that incorporates narrative, sculpture and video elements.

Gabrielle Bates, Spirit Maps, 2017, mixed media collage on paper

Audrey Newton: upcoming artist-in-residence

Audrey Newton

Audrey Newton is an interdisciplinary artist, based in Sydney, working in the fields of drawing, sculpture and installation. Her practice seeks to understand the agency of materials and the peculiarities of physical space and the unusual in-between spaces. The formal and furtive identities of material and space play an important role in how she dissects images from her imagination and consciousness.

Audrey Newton, 4Eva (detail), 2018, mild steel rod and latex

Audrey has recently completed her Master of Fine Arts at Sydney College of the Arts. She has exhibited broadly in solo and group exhibitions at Firstdraft, Narrandera Art and Community Centre, Our Neon Foe and Articulate Project Space. In 2018, she was awarded two international residencies at Can Serrat, Spain and Factory 49 in France. In 2017, she received the Herbert Johnson Grant for a research trip to the United States of America.

Audrey Newton, 4Eva (detail), 2018, rose, resin, glass beads, wax

For this residency, I will be developing part of a large-scale project titled, Jewels. This work reflects on the material topography of my place of birth, Pakistan. I will use my time to create a repetition of small resin sculptures which will be preserving treats and medicinal spices that I consumed as comfort foods during my family’s transition from Pakistan to Australia. These treats include cardamom pods, sugar cubes, sugar-coated fennel seeds and pomegranates. A quiet residency such as Gunyah will provide me with peace of mind to complete a large part of this enduring task.

Audrey Newton, Jewels, 2019, (work in progress), resin coated cardamon pods, fennel seeds and pomegranates

You can see more of Audrey's work at