Elysha Gould: upcoming artist-in-residence

Elysha Gould, Destruction Creation, 2011, cut paper stencil installation

Elysha Gould is currently based in Toowoomba, Queensland, where she is developing her practice as an artist and balancing life as a mother and Co-Director and founder of artist-run gallery Made Creative Space.  She completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2008 at University of Southern Queensland, and has exhibited in group and solo shows in Toowoomba, Brisbane, Townsville, the US and New Zealand.   In 2010 Gould was commissioned to create an installation for Artist's Dozen - a Brisbane City Council Creative City Initiative, and in 2011 she began setting up a regional artist exchange program between Toowoomba and the village of Sam Rit in Thailand.

Elysha Gould, Nuclear Power Plant, 2011, cut paper stencil

My Japanese heritage has always played an influential role in my art practice alongside my recent experiences of domestic life as a young mother. The profound aesthetic of compositional balance and nature-inspired content within traditional Japanese art is something that I strive to achieve in my own work. Using contrasting contexts in imagery and materials, my work explores ideas of cross-cultural compositions. I incorporate visual metaphors such as carp fish and origami cranes, as references to my Japanese lineage and traditional Japanese folk art forms.

During my stay at Gunyah, I intend to explore the contrasting environments of the coastal region of Port Stephens and the inland city of Toowoomba.  Water will be my point of interest as I compare this natural entity, from the man-made water features of an inland city particularly dams and constructed creeks, to the organic body of water in Port Stephens.  I will also explore the differing perceptions of water between a coastal and an inland city.  Within Toowoomba, water has long been a sparse commodity with the region affected by decades of droughts, until recently when too much water became a threat as torrential rain created damaging floods.  It will be a nice change to appreciate this natural resource with a sense of enjoyment whilst staying at Gunyah. My explorations will culminate into a series of preliminary drawings, paintings and stencil cuts.
(Elysha Gould,  July 2011)

To see more of Elysha Gould's work go to www.elyshagould.com

Elysha Gould, Nuclear Power Plant, 2011, cut paper stencil, detail view

Keiko Matsui: upcoming artist-in-residence

Keiko Matsui, Still Life Torn, 2011, porcelain, dimensions variable

Keiko Matsui was born in Osaka, Japan, and immigrated to Australia in 1999. In 2006 she completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) majoring in Ceramics at the National Art School, East Sydney. She has exhibited widely in Australia and overseas and been awarded several prizes including the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize, the Fete Picasso Small Object prize in France and she was also an exhibiting finalist in the John Fries Memorial Prize 2011. Recently Matsui received an ArtStart Grant from the Australian Council of the Arts. Her ceramics can be found at Object Gallery in Surry Hills, the S. H. Ervin Gallery on Observatory Hill, the Sturt Gallery in Mittagong, Craft Victoria in Melbourne and National Gallery shop in Canberra. Along with her practice, she teaches ceramics to children and adults in Bondi.

Keiko Matsui, Still Life Torn, 2011, detail view

I am a Japanese born, Sydney based, ceramic artist. My Japanese heritage, with its long history of and respect for ceramics, combined with the experience of living in Australia, an innovative new culture, are the major influences in my work. 

I focus on making forms that act as my canvas. I have been practising calligraphy and drawing since I was small and I now find joy in using Australian porcelain to give my lines form and shape. Porcelain can be difficult to work with but the invitation of its pure whiteness, translucency, density and surface qualities more than compensate for any problems. It is through clay that I express my emotions and through this ongoing journey of process; refining surface, texture and colour, is similar to a path of self-discovery. 

Researching form and colour in nature gives me fresh ideas for new work. I look to nature for motives to draw onto my ceramics so while at the residency in Gunyah I would explore and sketch the area then apply these botanical or landscape motives to my ceramics when back in the studio. By visiting new places and investigating different shapes and colours I refresh my eye. The idea of working at Gunyah is exciting also because it would allow me to explore my long held desire to make vessels from leaves, twigs, paper and fabric. 

I look forward to being be isolated from my busy city-life whilst at Gunyah, no instant communication for a week would enable me to clear my mind and let in new creative ideas, to totally concentrate on my work. It will be a welcomed meditation for me.
(Keiko Matsui, July 2011)

Emily Valentine Bullock: Hand Bagged, 2011

Emily Valentine Bullock, Hand Bagged #1, 2011

Hand Bagged, 2011, Emily Valentine Bullock

In October 2011, I was artist-in-residence at Gunyah at North Arm Cove, Port Stephens. I went there with the intention of pushing myself in a new direction, to do something new and extend my photography practice.

The resulting series of photographs, titled "Hand Bagged", shows people wearing handbags around their necks. Through these images I aim to show how the handbag is like jewellery – it has the status and power relating to design and manufacturing, what it is made of, how it is worn and carried. Is the handbag itself valuable or just a chain around our necks? With these images I wanted to create the feeling of burden (which I don’t think I captured) and the ridiculousness of our need to carry our lives with us constantly.

I choose the bush garden as the backdrop and let my friends’ select their own pose and bag. I am in the first and last photos.
(Emily Valentine, December 2011)

To see more of Emily's work go to www.emilyvalentine.com.au

Emily Valentine Bullock, Hand Bagged #2, 2011

Emily Valentine Bullock, Hand Bagged #3, 2011

Emily Valentine Bullock, Hand Bagged #4, 2011

Emily Valentine Bullock, Hand Bagged #5, 2011

Emily Valentine Bullock, Hand Bagged #6, 2011

Emily Valentine Bullock, Hand Bagged #7, 2011

Emily Valentine Bullock, Hand Bagged #8, 2011

Emily Valentine Bullock, Hand Bagged #9, 2011

Emily Valentine Bullock, Hand Bagged #10, 2011

Emily Valentine Bullock, Hand Bagged #11, 2011

Emily Valentine Bullock, Hand Bagged #12, 2011

Sue Saxon: Gunyah artist-in-residence Sept 2011

Sue Saxon and daughter Lara working in the Gunyah studio.

Gunyah is a beautiful, comfortable generous house in a very pretty, private location. The studio has good light and is well situated.

Sue Saxon "egg-shelling" in the Gunyah studio.

I planned to draw, photograph and record birdlife in the Port Stephens district to build on a concurrent project conflating bird-watching and stereotyping. I hoped to observe the local birdlife and clarify the development of my project’s themes. 

Rainbow Lorikeets seen near Gunyah, photo Sue Saxon

When I arrived at Gunyah it was pouring and the wet weather continued for some days, which impeded my plans, but allowed time for drawing, egg-shelling and research by the fire. Once the rain and mist abated, I was able to do more of my planned work and explore the area and its birdlife.
Sue Saxon and daughter Lara "egg-shelling" in the Gunyah studio.

The time at Gunyah will contribute to the success of THE BONDI TWITCH project, which will be exhibited in August 2012. I appreciated the time to think and allow ideas to develop as the residency occurred after an extremely busy six-month period.

Currawong seen near Gunyah, photo by Sue Saxon

The Gunyah Residency is a great gift for artists! The physical and historic context of the house is very inspiring and is conducive to meditative work. 

(Sue Saxon,  October 2011)

Wallaby seen near Gunyah, photo by Sue Saxon

To read more about Sue Saxon's practice and see images of her work go to www.suesaxon.com or to see her Gunyah residency proposal see Sue Saxon's Gunyah proposal.

Emily Valentine: artist-in-residence October 2011

"I have just returned from North Arm cove Near Hawkes Nest, 3 hours north of Sydney, where I enjoyed a short residency at Gunyah - a beautiful pole house by the water. There I worked on a photographic project which I hope to complete shortly. My friend, Wendy, joined me for the fortnight, and other friends visited for a night or two. It was great to be in such a glorious place and have a little R & R."
(Emily Valentine, 30 October 2011)

Emily Valentine, Catty Bird, 2011

Upon Emily's return to Sydney she discovered that she had been awarded the 2011 Cat Advocate Prize for her work Catty Bird (2011). The prize is donated by the Cat Clinic Vet in Willoughby, Sydney. Catty Bird forms part of the Mini Majors exhibition at Defiance Gallery, Newtown. 

For more information about Emily's work see her Gunyah residency proposal and her website www.emilyvalentine.com.au

Emma Medwell and Vanessa White: artists-in-residence July 2011

Emma Medwell working in the Gunyah studio, photo by Vanessa White
"Gunyah's artist-in-residency initiative is a valuable program. It allows artists to get away from their normal environments and have new experiences. This specific use of time and space feeds into an artist work, whether consciously or unconsciously. The richness of Gunyah's environment and friendly set up allows artists to immerse themselves quickly into a creative mind set."
Vanessa White, August 2011

Vanessa White working in the Gunyah Studio, photo by Emma Medwell

During their residency at Gunyah, Emma Medwell and Vanessa White developed individual new projects for their upcoming exhibitions in Wollongong. To read their residency proposal and see more images of their work go to
Emma Medwell working in the Gunyah studio,  photo by Vanessa White

Vanessa White working in the Gunyah Studio, photo by Emma Medwell

Gunyah studio, paintings by Vanessa White and Emma Medwell


The first four artists-in-residence told me they loved their time at Gunyah, it's so quiet and serene. I stayed at Gunyah briefly on the weekend and welcomed being back in this familiar peaceful place, a marked contrast to my busy noisy city home. 

John Fries plaque at Gunyah, photo by Kath Fries

It was nice to see Dad's plaque on the wall, it wasn't yet up a few months ago when I last visited. This week is the second anniversary of his death, still so sad and sorely missed. Gunyah holds many warm memories of him amongst family and friends. The second John Fries Memorial Art Prize will open next week at Viscopy, its wonderful that so many people loved, respected and remember him. I'm glad that we're able to share this special place through the Gunyah artist-in-residence program - it really reflects Dad's supportive nature, generous spirit and openness.

Kath Fries, August 2011

Gunyah waterfront, photo by Kath Fries

Britta Stenmanns: artist-in-residence July 2011

Britta's family take the Gunyah dingy out on the water,
photo by Britta Stenmanns 2011

The love and thought put into building Gunyah by people who cared is so evident. I just loved it and so did the rest of the family - what a bliss that there is no TV.

The Gunyah dingy and seat by the water,
photo by Britta Stenmanns 2011 

Gunyah as a house and its surrounding native vegetation close to the waters edge has a sense of the calmness. The building's unity with the environment creates within you a sort of belonging that is perfect for focussing and immersing yourself in a project.

View from the Gunyah bay window,
photo by Britta Stenmanns 2011

We did some great bushwalks and learnt some interesting things about the area's incredible vegetation and tribal history. We decided to leave some of our handmade pottery cups for other artists to use at Gunyah, two blue glazed and two wood-fired ones of Simon's.

Britta's family on a bushwalk,
photo by Britta Stenmanns 2011

I had a daily ritual with brisk bushwalks in the morning searching for certain areas in the surrounding bush for branches of charcoaled trees to work with. During daylight I worked close to the house and by nightfall I moved into the studio space. The place gave me a slightly different approach and motivation on my project and new avenues to follow up in the future.

Britta's painting materials in the Gunyah studio space,
photo by Britta Stenmanns 2011

My time as artist-in-residence at Gunyah was of immense value and gave me the perfect opportunity to gather myself and to get focussed in a pure undisrupted way, a luxury in nowadays-busy lifestyle.

Britta Stenmanns, artist-in-residence July 2011

Looking at a wallaby from the Gunyah balcony,
photo by Britta Stenmanns

Close-up of the wallaby and joey, viewed from the Gunyah balcony
photo by Britta Stenmanns

To see Britta Stenmanns' residency proposal please follow this link and for more information and images of her work please see www.brittastenmanns.com.au

Sue Saxon: upcoming artist-in-residence

Sue Saxon's twenty year painting and installation practice has included an eight month field trip across Australia and residencies in Budapest, New York and Paris. She's charted the emotional and physical geographies of memory; drawing on popular culture, philosophical texts and the elemental, symbolic and sensuous qualities of materials such as paprika, salt, flour, tears and eggshells. Sue's critical engagement with her own history and a desire to rupture the status quo combines to infuse her work with multiple layers of metaphor and meaning.

Sue Saxon, Sarah and Hagar, emu eggshells on paper

I am currently engaged in an eggshell mosaic and sculpture project which playfully conflates the conventions and tropes of birdwatching, or “twitching”, with the processes of ordering and stereotyping. I'm gathering visual, scientific and aural information about the habits of the coastal avian community to consider the ways we stereotype the human members of our community. The final two and three dimensional works will depict profiles of beaks and noses, silhouettes and birding paraphernalia. They will reflect on the reasons and consequences of using stereotypes to help order our world. For example, the compulsive repetition of stereotypes can reveal a dominant group’s anxieties and instabilities, as it does its power to control the social world. Stereotypes ‘explain’ real or imaginary differences, contribute to group bonding and enhance the power holder’s self esteem, serving as a tool of border keeping and maintenance of the political, social and economic status quo.

Sue Saxon, Facing the Other II, chicken eggshells on paper

While my project may appear whimsical, it’s armed with serious intent! It continues my interest in the processes of stereotyping and its role in the construction of `Otherness’. During my Gunyah residency I will draw, photograph and record birdlife in the Port Stephens district and assist in developing my project’s themes.

(Sue Saxon, July 2011)

Sue Saxon, Facing the Other I, chicken eggshells on paper

For more information and images of Sue Saxon's artwork please visit www.suesaxon.com

Kurt Sorensen: artist-in-residence June 2011

I have always wanted to create a series of photographs depicting the maritime stories surrounding the area from Newcastle to Port Stephens, and in particular the islands just of the coast. Gunyah offered me the perfect opportunity to begin this work.

Looking out to the water from the Gunyah kitchen, photo by Kath Fries

The house set on the water at North Arm Cove is a wonderful place to visit. My wife and I enjoyed cooking in the spacious kitchen, sitting by the open fire and looking out over the water views. The setting allowed me time to further research the events and areas that I wanted to photograph.  It was so inspiring that the amount of opportunities to create work out weighed the time I was there ten fold.

Gunyah is a wonderful place and I hope it continues to give artists of all disciplines the opportunity to create work in a beautiful, inspiring setting. I certainly hope to be back!

Kurt Sorensen 
artist-in-residence June 2011

To see Kurt Sorensen’s residency proposal please follow this link and for more information and images of his work please see www.kurtsorensen.com

Emily Valentine Bullock: upcoming artist-in-residence

Emily Valentine Bullock is a Sydney based artist, she studied jewelry and object design at Sydney College of the Arts. She has exhibited extensively around Australia and New Zealand as well as in touring group exhibitions overseas. Her work has been collected by the National Library of Australia; Northern Territory Art Gallery; World-of-wearable-art Museum, Nelson NZ; Sarjeant Gallery, Whanganui NZ;  and various private collections. 

Emily Valentine Bullock, Kitty Keet, 2011,
feathers and mixed media

Feathers are my paint. Over the last twelve years I have developed my own technique and style using feathers. The source of the feathers is vital to my work and utilises what is available locally. My work shows sympathy with the bird’s previous life and creates a new life form. My ‘Dog Flu’ series continues to develop and I am also making feathered aeroplanes exploring how humans now colonise the skies. 

Emily Valentine Bullock, Pupella i & ii, 2010,
feathers and mixed media

Attitudes to wearing and owning animals and birds parts have changed. Is this just because of fashion, or has society become more caring of animals? I wish to stimulate the viewer with the uncomfortable nature of the feather, to question our callous treatment of animals and birds, and ask how we sub-consciously classify animals – pet or pest, valued or worthless, beautiful or plain - and why.

For more information and images of Emily Valentine Bullock's artwork please visit www.emilyvalentine.com.au

Emily Valentine Bullock, Kingfisher Squadron, 2010,
feathers and mixed media, 13x13x5cm each

Emma Medwell and Vanessa White: upcoming artists-in-residence

Vanessa White, On the other side of Murray's, 2011, animation still

Emma Medwell and Vanessa White have been friends for many years and began exhibiting together six years ago. They enjoy working as mutual sounding boards for each other's practices, sharing knowledge, skills and ideas. During their residency at Gunyah, Medwell and White will be developing individual new projects for their upcoming exhibitions in Wollongong.

Emma Medwell, Nippers Sea Thrones, 2011, Thirroul

Medwell was born in the UK and is now based in the South Coast of NSW. She has studied at UNSW and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art from National Art School NSW. Medwell has had numerous exhibitions in the Illawarra and Sydney, including collaborative projects with Pamela Lee Brenner for Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi and Cottesloe, and Sculpture in the Vineyards Hunter Valley. She is currently working with found natural products including wood, feathers and slate to engage with the interconnection of nature and humanity, exploring the condition of being human, human-nature and how we connection with our natural environment. Medwell implements humor to communicate these ideas by situating human manufactured elements and smothering them in natural products, placing them into the natural environment.

Emma Medwell, Nippers Sea Thrones, 2011,  Thirroul

Vanessa White’s art practice is multidisciplinary, investigative and experimental. She completed under-graduate studies at Victoria College of the Arts, Melbourne and graduated with a Masters in Visual Art from Sydney University in 2010. White has exhibited in Sydney and Melbourne, most recently at Firstdraft Depot Project Space, Woolloomooloo NSW and Firstdraft Gallery, Surry Hills NSW.  White was a 2010 artist-in-residence at Hill End. Through drawing, painting, animation and performance White creates life size animations, exploring physical interactions with a two-dimensional world drawn from life and her physical play and reciprocal action with it. The result is a new visual language that connects with the viewers’ own expression and experience of the body, giving voice to and acknowledging the importance of bodily experience.

For more information and images of Vanessa White's artwork please visit www.vanessawhite.me

Vanessa White, An action the precise nature of which is often unspecified, 2011
Video one of two channel video installation