Robyn Kinsela: upcoming artist-in-residence

Robyn Kinsela, 10pm, 2009, acrylic on canvas,120x240cm
This work is about spaces and sounds. I am investigating spaces and how they are occupied – even whether they are occupied. Walking after dark in bushy suburban areas, such as Mittagong where I live, I hear muffled voices and music, small nocturnal creatures and the sounds of the breeze. I see lights on in living rooms and moonlight through the trees. I hear my own footsteps. 10pm captures a sense of physical, manmade spaces or places nestled within a rugged overgrown bushland by expressing and identifying the sounds inherent in those spaces.  Silence is also one of those sounds.

Robyn Kinsela is interested in interpreting micro and macro textures as well as sounds found in the natural environment. She considers human presence and interference in the landscape and how it has been adapted and changed by people over time. Robyn’s work is created from drawing, photography and memory, then realised as paintings and works on paper, including digital prints. Robyn is interested in surface textures and patterns and the visual communication of the senses of sound and smell. Playing with ambiguities of reality, appearance and illusion, she hones away unnecessary detail in the search for the essential message or feeling through the use of form, colour, tone, texture, contrast, memory and experience.

Robyn Kinsela, Seeking Songlines, 2011, acrylic and oil on canvas, 81x81cm
Seeking Songlines is one of many recent works that I am developing in order to help me and others understand more about Australian Aborigines’ ancestral history, albeit in an abstract way. The European terms Songlines or Dreaming tracks are, to the Aboriginal, “Footprints of the Ancestors, or the ‘Way of the Law’”¹. What interests me is this idea of repetition of a shape, colour or texture, brought together to make a “whole” as in the painting and repetition of song, story and language through time, past, present and future, being brought together to make sense of a culture and history, another “whole”. (¹Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines, page 2, Picador, 1987)

My interest in the question of ownership of marks and mark-making, has led me to create my own library of visual references with strong influences from the work of other artists, cultures and art movements. By establishing a system of visual cues or symbols I am capturing the intensity of my sense of place. 

Whilst artist-in-residence at Gunyah, Robyn plans to continue her exploration of the landscape both past and present, and make new work for her two upcoming solo exhibitions: Depot II Gallery, Sydney, in December 2012; followed by M16 Art Space, Canberra, in 2013.

Robyn Kinsela, Silence and Sadness, 2011, acrylic and oil on canvas, 122x61cm
Part of the West of Wilcannia series, this work happened after a visit to Kinchega shearing shed. The lost and forgotten memories of people from the past are heavily embedded in the old, worn and weathered boards of the shed. There is a fogged over window before which bottles collecting years of dust sit clustered as a tribute to the past. The misty, dusty light showing through the panes of glass of the window and then though these bottles, unites to present a beautiful, peaceful, hazy glow within the warm darkness.  The silence of this scene is pays homage to those who once occupied this environment and I wanted the simplicity of that reverence to be mirrored by the simplicity and calm of the composition of the painting.

“There’s a point where you’ve got to interpret the world, not make a replica of it.” 
(David Hockney)

Robyn Kinsela lives in Mittagong and teaches painting, drawing and digital imaging at Goulburn and Moss Vale TAFE. She has studied Architecture, Industrial Design and Art Education, and was artist-in-residence at the Hungarian Multicultural Centre, Lake Balaton, Hungary, in 2007; and artist-in-residence in the Furniture and Design Workshop, ANU School of Art, Canberra, from 2001 to 2006. Robyn has held over 13 solo exhibitions since 1986, the most recent being West of Wilcannia at Form Studio and Gallery, in Queanbeyan. She has also participated in many group exhibitions and has been a finalist in the Fisher’s Ghost Open Art Award, Outback Art Prize, Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize, Norvill Landscape Painting Prize, Heyson Landscape Prize, Banyule Works on Paper, Arc Yinnar Drawing Prize, The Island Art Award Tasmania, Geelong  Print Award, Hazelhurst Works on Paper Art Award and the 33rd Alice Prize. As an active member of the Southern Highlands Printmakers, Robyn has exhibited in Goulburn Regional Gallery, Campbelltown Regional Gallery and Wollongong City Art Gallery. Her work is also included in the Vario Print Exchange, which travelled to Wales and Hawaii. Robyn’s work has been collected by the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Wales, NSW Historic Houses Trust, Westmead Children’s Hospital and Canberra Hospital public collections, as well as various private and corporate collections in Australia, USA, UK and Hungary.

You can see more of Robyn's work on her website