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. livingroomtheatre.org

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, https://girtbyfear.com.au

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 joelperlgut.com

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. www.gabriellebates.com

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. www.whysas.com

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 https://firstdraft.org.au/2018program/2018/09/054eva

2019 Gunyah artists-in-residence program

Thank you to everyone who applied for the 2019 Gunyah residencies. 

Artists selected for the 2019 artists-in-residence program:

Gunyah trees and jetty, photo Kath Fries

Residency report November: Jane Richens

The Gunyah provided an opportunity to concentrate on my art practice without the distractions of home. At the same time it has offered rest and relaxation that is so important to the creative process. We found nooks in the various spaces to create work spaces. I set up in the downstairs studio in front of the large window which was cool, had great light and plenty of opportunity to be mesmerized by that stunning bush meets cove view. My partner Brian set up his computer upstairs near the window seat looking out through the tree tops. The deck and the jetty became cherished spaces for social time and reflection.

My interest is working with forest ecosystems – through practical and science-based conservation of a rainforest on my property and in the speculative and abstract realms creating fictional botanical artworks. We currently live in a forest environment so it was rewarding to spend time observing the vegetation mix of the coastal ecosystem of North Arm Cove. But not unsurprisingly it was that key point of difference, the waterline, that was the most inspiring. The edges reveal such biodiversity. Neptune’s necklace, seagrapes, bubbleweed – poetic names for the beautiful treasures we discovered along the shore. Sargassum species with gas-filled bladders for buoyancy. And many more yet to be named and researched. The water/land interface is a place where things mix and get mixed up. A place where nature felts.

The shoreline vegetation-felt provided the impetus to experiment with new felting techniques using fabulous finds of threads and textiles in the op shops of Tea Gardens. It also provided a different set of visual forms to experiment with.

In the lead up to this residency I had been working on drawings towards an exhibition next year. The opportunity to have dedicated time to experiment with new techniques, materials and visual forms is invaluable and will feed into that exhibition. I should also mention the pleasure of rummaging around in the library – a gleaner’s paradise!

Thank you Kath and the Gunyah.

Jane Richens
November residency report