Michelle Heldon: artist-in-residence November 2012

Michelle Heldon, Working with shells on the Gunyah foreshore, 2012

My time spent at Gunyah was beautiful. My first reactions were to the house! The Gunyah residence sits surrounded by gum trees facing the sparkling water. Amazing location - but it was the warmth and uniqueness of the house itself that captured me. I felt right at home with the log walls and skylights and lofts and window-seat! My ideal home... stepping down into the studio was also a delight to see it was right at the bush level with wall to floor windows looking out to the sea. 

Michelle Heldon, Gunyah studio, 2012

The vision of my residency was for it to be a parallel with my residency in Lapland Finland exactly a year earlier. I thought it would be interesting to see the differences in climate and discovery in Australia, a place where I have spent most of my life, from Finland, a completely unfamiliar landscape and climate. 

Michelle Heldon, Leaf line with Gunyah behind, 2012

I was expecting a lot of differences, the most obvious being the temperature, however I was surprised by some of the similarities in my discoveries. One of these surprises was that I was expecting a lot more consistency in Australia - that the landscape would not change very dramatically. 

Michelle Heldon, Ripple stones, Gunyah 2012

In Finland, I watched the lakes slowly freezing changing every day and the snow fall creating a whole new landscape over night.  At Gunyah, it was the discovery of the tide and how dramatically the landscape could change with that. So many of my discoveries were made from spending a few hours on the beach or a rock and watching - a whole new world would be revealed! 

Michelle Heldon, Shell adorned shoe, Gunyah 2012

I adapted the same process as in Finland, Going out into the surround area everyday and collecting, recording discoveries from that particular day. Like a diary I would reflect back on the day in the studio in the evening, capturing a few aspects that had an impact on me, with pencil on wood drawings. 

Michelle Heldon, Waternest drawing, Gunyah 2012

In Finland I used watercolour on paper.  These mediums I felt reflected something of the landscape and climate. Finland with its lakes and ice and Australia with is dryness and warmth.  Again, paralleling Finland, I made detailed watercolour paintings of the flora in the area. Just like in Finland, at Gunyah, this was quite a meditative process to sit with the amazing tiny uniqueness of the plants that easily are admired from afar but not often studied in detail.

Michelle Heldon, Seaweed tree and Seaweed tree drawing on chair, Gunyah 2012

During my time at Gunyah I also spent time making site specific works out in the landscape. I've always loved the work of Andy Goldsworthy and have enjoyed reading about his experiences making transient art in nature. I did a little of 'drawing' or forming lines on the frozen lakes in Finland but I did many more at Gunyah as I could spent a lot more time outside. These works resonated with me the most. I felt it really was an honouring of these wonderful details I was being captured by. 

Michelle Heldon, Leaf pond, Gunyah 2012

Rearranging white shells to highlight naturally formed patterns on the rocks. 

Bringing together strands of seaweed to create a line out to the sea. 

Collecting white driftwood and letting it rest in the amazing creases of a revealed rock shelf. 

Using Casurina needles to gently sit like little nests in the mini rockpools. 

Michelle Heldon, Highlighted rocks, Gunyah 2012

It's poetic I think, that these works sit in nature for just a short period of time and then, with the shift of the wind or the incoming tide, disappear and return to their surroundings. They remain only in the photographic record and my memory of the creation process.  

Michelle Heldon, Working in the Gunyah studio, 2012

It was wonderful to sit and look at the Gunyah work along side my Finland work - I hope to bring this together in an exhibition next year. Thankyou to Gunyah for hosting me, I had an amazing time.

Michelle Heldon
November 2012

Michelle Heldon, Dyl Rocks, Gunyah 2012

To read Michelle's Gunyah proposal and see images of her work in Finland go to www.gunyah.blogspot.com.au/2012/10/michelle-heldon

Beyond Eye Level: an exhibition by recent artist-in-residence Robyn Kinsela

Robyn Kinsela
Beyond Eye Level
4 - 15 December 2012
Depot II Gallery, 2 Danks Street, Waterloo NSW

Recent artist-in-resident Robyn Kinsela is exhibiting paintings from her time at Gunyah, in her solo exhibition Beyond Eye Level, at Depot II Gallery, Danks St Waterloo. Read her residency report at www.gunyah.blogspot.com.au/2012/10 and find out more about her practice at http://robynkinsela.wordpress.com

Robyn Kinsela, Viewpoints, 2012, mixed media, oil and acrylic on canvas

"I have painted the micro and macro textures and sounds that are “found” in our own environments. These textures are sometimes the result of our human “interference” with the natural but they all make up our familiar environment. We often don’t take the time to stop to take notice of things. It is important to me that my paintings are without obvious tangible subjects, that they are built around the intangible, derived from our senses of sight, sound, smell, touch and even taste. These, of course, all rely upon memory and experience."  
Robyn Kinsela,  2012

Robyn Kinsela, Viewpoints, 2012, mixed media, oil and acrylic on canvas

Outside the box: an exhibition featuring work by previous artist-in-residence Linda Swinfield

Linda is exhibiting drawings created during her Gunyah residency, in Outside the Box, a Pandora artists group exhibition at Moree Plains Gallery.

Linda Swinfield, Gunyah xi - Cove, 2012,
pastel and charcoal on paper, 38 x 43 cm

Outside the box: Pandora artists

1 December 2012 - 15 January 2013

Pandora artists are a group of Hunter Valley abstract artists who first exhibited together in 2006, at the Newcastle Art Space. Artists include Sally Bourke, Helen Dunkerly, Annemarie Murland, Linda Swinfield, Lezlie Tilley and Patricia Wilson-Adams. www.thepandoragroup.blogspot.com.au  

Moree Plains Gallery
25 Frome Street, Moree NSW 2400

Find out more about Linda's residency at Gunyah www.gunyah.blogspot.com.au/2012/08
More information on Linda's practice www.lindaswinfield.wordpress.com  

Applications for 2013 Gunyah artists-in-residence

Applications for the 2013 Gunyah artist-in-residence program are currently open. Applications close: 30 November 2012

The 2013 program will feature a one or two week residency each month, from March to October. Visual artists, writers, composers, performance artists, curators, new media, arts administrators and other creative types are welcome to apply.

Please read all the information "About Gunyah artist-in-residence program" www.gunyah.blogspot.com.au/p/about.html before applying. And please note that there is a residency fee of $220 per week (or part thereof) and that you'll need your own vehicle to access the North Arm Cove area.

To apply email Kath kathfries@gmail.com with:
  • Your contact details: name, phone, email, postal address; (select one contact person for collaborations and groups)
  • What you plan to do during your residency (max 200 words)
  • Bio and artist statement for each artist (max 200 words)
  • Url link for each artist (where possible)
  • Visual artists - attach up to 3 jpeg images of artworks per artist. Include an image list with artist name, title, date and materials for each work.
  • Other artists - attach a jpeg photo of yourself  
  • In order of preference list three possible dates between March and October 2013. Either with a start date and end date - start on a Monday and end on a Monday, or start on a Friday and end on a Friday. Or if you are flexible with dates please list three months in your order of preference.

All applicants will be notified in January 2013 regarding the success of their application. The selected artists' proposals and images will be posted on the Gunyah blog after the artists have been confirmed. 

Applications close: 30 November 2012

Please email Kath kathfries@gmail.com with any questions about your application.


Port Stephens Diary of Natural Events - November

An extract from Michael Smith's "Port Stephens Diary of Natural Events"


Most birds start to moult.
Black Faced Cuckoo Shrike are in abundance.
Crane flies emerge.
Baby Echidnas are 10 cm long and become too spiky for the pouch.
Dingo pups, aged 4 months, make their first outings into the outside world.
Whales are seen heading south.
Lacewings hatch.
Angophera costata sheds its bark.
Blueberry Ash starts flowering.
Prawns wait for rain to go to sea.
Trigger plants are now common.
Young magpies are being fed.
Wood-swallows nest after migrating south.
Blue Flax Lily has purple fruit.
Flying Duck Orchids abound.
Apple Berry and Lobelia gibbosa are in flower.
Sugar gliders leave the nest for the first time.
Antechinus babies ride their mother's back while she goes hunting.
Crimson Bottlebrush is in flower.
Broad Leaf Geebung fruit drops to the ground.
Scribbly Gum sheds it bark.
Flying Ants swarm on a hot day.
Stink bugs appear on Lemon Trees.
Galahs have their annual moult and their young become independent.
Red Jellyfish appear in the waters of Port Stephens.
Baby foxes are born.
Hungry Noisy Miner chicks chirp from the trees.
Red Ichneumon Wasps are common.
Quaking Grass grows its seed head.
Phascogale young are free to roam about.
Gulls moult their primary feathers
Eastern Rosella young are out of the nest and demanding to be fed.
Muttonbirds lay their eggs on Broughton Island.
This is a good time to collect seeds from the bush.
Grasshopper plagues begin.
Butcherbird young hatch.
Scribbly gums are in flower on Gan Gan Hill.
Antechinus babies are independent.
Wild Parsnip is in flower.

Michael Smith, 1999

Shuffle Shuffle, Gunyah 2012, 
Thomas Hungerford, Kate Brown, Anastasia Freeman, Michelle Genders, Robin Hungerford and Renee Oldfield

Caelli Jo Brooker and Andy Devine: artists-in-residence October 2012

Andy and I participated in the Gunyah artist-in-residence program in late October 2012, looking on it as an opportunity to share a creative resting place. We came to the residency with plans for using our time towards existing exhibitions, but once there we were inspired to use the Gunyah setting as a starting point for new work instead.

Caelli Jo Brooker, Gunyah studio diary, October 2012

We didn't have to go too far for subject matter... I found myself translating the shapes of boat hulls, rope, aerial views, landforms, strands of seaweed, and clustered organic objects as macro and microcosmic parallels were revealed between local lines and forms. Andy recorded the shapes, silhouettes and shadows of the landmasses viewed across the water, and we combined our interpretations in collaborative painted panels and drawings. Printing plates were made for combination and resolution in the print room at a later stage, and pages were made for an artists' book. Once we found ways to integrate our contrasting approaches, this collaborative process became a significant outcome of our studio time at Gunyah, and we hope to exhibit the resulting work in the near future.

Andy Devine, Gunyah studio diary, October 2012

Gunyah itself is a real treat nestled in the bush, with views through trees to the water and plenty of retro architectural charm. The location affords unique opportunities for both social and solitary time and Andy and I spent time exploring the waterfront individually before the weather suggested we move back inside to the shared studio space. Here, away from work and distraction, we spent most of our studio time making and un-making each other's work in to new configurations, as we arranged and rearranged and passed painted panels back and forth. When our families joined us on the weekend, Gunyah was perfect for sharing meals and conversation around the big dining table. We very much appreciated our opportunity at Gunyah - to escape, experiment and explore making work in such a wonderful location.
Caelli Jo Brooker, October 2012

Caelli Jo Brooker and Andy Devine, Gunyah collaborative works in progress, October 2012

Caelli Jo Brooker and Andy Devine first became friends when they shared a studio during their post-graduate fine art studies at the University of Newcastle. Since then they have worked together on many projects as gallery committee members, curators and exhibition participants. They planned to use their Gunyah residency to build on this, strengthening and maintaining their artistic connections, to collaborate on work and recreate their supportive studio atmosphere for generating ideas, discussion and critique. For more information on Caelli's practice please see www.caellijobrooker.com and for Andy's practice  see www.andydevine.com.au 
To read their Gunyah residence proposal please click on this link

Michelle Heldon: upcoming artist-in-residence

Michelle Heldon, Day by day project, 2011, Kemijarvi

Michelle Heldon’s Gunyah residency will create a hypothetical parallel across time, space and climate linking her North Arm Cove experience to a residency she undertook last year, November 2011, in Kemijarvi, Finland. Her Kemijarvi residency explored a 'diary'  project created from day to day explorations out in the elements. Michelle and her artworks experienced winter’s form in the arctic circle in Lapland - a completely foreign landscape and culture for her. That project produced a series of site responsive drawings, paintings and short films. Michelle’s Gunyah residency will mirror her Kemijarvi project exactly a year later, on the other side of the world in the familiar landscape of Australia. She will be again exploring a specific area, climate and her response to it at this time of year. Michelle is hoping to form a relationship between the two projects and then let them meet one another in an exhibition next year. 

Michelle Heldon, Day by day project, 2011, Kemijarvi

My art practice explores the poetics of space and memory through a focus on landscape and its elements. I work across installation, assemblage, painting, drawing and sculpture. When we are in the environment and we slow down, we experience the place around us, through not just what we see but also what we feel. I collect many things from my everyday journeys, whether it be through drawing, physically picking up objects, or memory. These collected moments or memories form a history and focus on the essence and heart of a place. My study pays particular attention to the web of interrelationships in our environment—to the physical, biological, cultural, and historical aspects of ecological systems. My works employ natural materials, or engage with environmental forces such as wind, water, or sunlight. My recent project in Nov 2011, Day to Day in Lapland, Finland was a project by which a ‘diary’ was formed by painting in the icy elements everyday. Letting the landscape seep into me and directly affect the works with its character and mood of that particular place and moment allowed the authenticity of the surroundings be captured. Recently I have been exploring the role of the ‘artist’ in facilitating a gateway or bridging between the elemental world and the ‘world’ that is presented to the viewer. I am seeking further practices to engage the public and community in an active and participatory way.
Michelle Heldon

Michelle Heldon, Day by day project, 2011, Kemijarvi

Michelle Heldon studied at the National Art School and Tom Bass Sculpture School. She has been a Finalist in the Waterhouse Natural History Prize 2010, awarded the 2008 Tom Bass Scholarship and the 2006 William Fletcher Trust Grant, and won the FONAS prize for Painting. Michelle has exhibited at Kemijarvi Artist residency gallery in Lapland, Gaffa Galleries in Sydney, g8 on george in the Rocks and Pine Street Creative Arts Centre in Chippendale. She is currently working at the Musuem of Contemporary Art Australia and studying art therapy. 

Surface Seeking: an exhibition featuring work by previous Gunyah artist-in-residence Alison Simith

Alison Smith is about to exhibit the woodblock prints that she began working on during her residency at Gunyah earlier this year, in Surface Seeking, a group exhibition at Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery.

The surfaces of artworks can be as compelling and impressive as the ideas behind them. Featuring the work of Hunter-based artists Debra Byrnes, Johnathan Hardy, Frank Murri and Alison Smith, this exhibition explores the processes artists use to create surfaces. Curated by Ahn Wells.

Surface Seeking: 26 Oct - 9 Dec 2012
Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery
First Street, Booragul, NSW 2284

Click on this link to find out more about Alison's practice, and to see Alison's works in progress while she was a Gunyah, go to www.gunyah.blogspot.com.au/2012/04

Port Stephens Diary of Natural Events - October

An extract from Michael Smith's "Port Stephens Diary of Natural Events"


Melaleuca groveanas are in flower on Stephens Peak.
Sugar Gliders leave the pouch to spend a further month in the nest.
Fisheries inspectors decide when to open the prawn season, which will run from now until April.
Love Creeper and Black Wattle are in flower.
Fox cubs emerge from the den and begin hunting.
Mud Crabs and Blue Swimmer Crabs are mating.
Mistletoe berries are abundant.
October long week-end is the start of the trout fishing season.
Kookaburras tunnel into termite nests in trees for nesting hollows.
October to November is the peak mating time for koalas.
Kookaburras look for a mate.
Many birds move south to nest.
Bluebells are everywhere.
Sundews and Bladderworts are flowering.
The Southern Cross is low on the horizon in the evening.
Currawongs are nesting.
The first Trigger Plants begin to flower.
Red Beard Orchid is in flower.
Sawfly wasp larvae go to ground.
Flannel Flowers start to dominate the bush.
Exhausted Muttonbirds are washed up on our beaches.
Yellow Donkey Orchid and Coast Tea Tree come into flower.
Yellow and Black Hover Flies swarm in the shade on hot days.
Some of our local bats give birth, upside down.
Coast Myall comes into flower for a few weeks.
The best month of the year for bird-watching.
Flying foxes are looking for figs and Angopheras.
Snakes and skinks are active.
Cicadas emerge from underground and leave their pupa cases on tree trunks.
Angophera costata is in flower.
Female snakes leave a scent trail so that the males can find them.
Fairy Penguin fledgelings go to sea to hunt for themselves.
Skeletonizer moth larvae attack gum leaves.
Woody Pear in flower.
Peak time for viewing orchids.
Eastern Spinebill is active amongst the flowers.
The first flush of Spring is over.
Octopus and cuttlefish eggs wash up on the beaches.
Eastern Rosellas are hatching.
Scented Sun orchids start to flower.
Gulls leave their nesting islands.
Gymea Lily flowers fruit.
Acarandas are in flower.
Rainbow Bee-eaters arrive from the north.
Christmas Bush puts on cream flowers.
Bees swarm.
Baby Quolls are independent of their mother.
Onion orchids in bloom.
Wasps look for nest sites.
Yellowtail Kingfish and Snapper spawn.

Michael Smith, 1999

Robin Kinsela, Spouse relaxing at Gunyah, 2012

Contained: a solo exhibition by previous Gunyah artist-in-residence Keiko Matsui

Keiko Matsui

14 October - 18 November 2012

Sturt Gallery Mittagong

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, the 2012 Gosford Art Prize Ceramics Section, 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. 

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. 

To see more of Keiko Matsui’s work go to www.keikomatsui.com.au