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

Racket: artists-in-residence October 2012

Rachel Peachy and Paul Mosig, Gunyah leaf study, 2012

Rachel Peachey and Paul Mosig are artists based in Katoomba, Blue Mountains NSW. They are currently researching a new body of work dealing with the nature of travel and expeditions. Their residency at Gunyah involved them looking more deeply at the ways in which people move through landscapes in space and time. Travelling to and around the North Arm Cove area, and creating a sense of journey, was an important aspect of their residency, as was the seeking out onew environments to reflect on the act of travelling. 

Rachel Peachy and Paul Mosig, Gunyah shell study, 2012

Our recent week at Gunyah was a fantastic time for us to reflect on our work outside of our usual routines and environment. We spent most of our days out and about exploring new landscapes with plenty of play and relaxing nights back at Gunyah with much appreciated time for rambling discussions. The images below document samples collected on our expedition to Yacaaba headland and our hunt for "dinosaur eggs".
Rachel Peachey and Paul Mosig
Gunyah, October 2012

Rachel Peachy and Paul Mosig, Gunyah dinosaur egg hunt, 2012
Rachel Peachy and Paul Mosig, Gunyah dinosaur egg hunt, 2012
Rachel Peachy and Paul Mosig, Gunyah dinosaur egg hunt, 2012
For more information about Rachel Peachey and Paul Mosig's collaborative art practice, please visit www.racket.net.au

Caelli Jo Brooker and Andy Devine: upcoming artists-in-residence

Andy Devine, Conversations in Landscape, 2011, installation view

Our Gunyah residency will provide a welcome change of environment, an opportunity for time outside routine and a chance to focus on creating art as a priority, rather than finding time for art between work, family and other commitments. Like many artists, we are working towards negotiating that delicate balance and maintaining our practices.

Caelli Jo Brooker, Marked Difference, 2012
monotype, ink, oil, acrylic, crayon, thread, paper, card and chenille sticks

Caelli Jo Brooker and Andy Devine previously shared a studio during their postgraduate study, and have since worked together on many projects as gallery committee members, curators and exhibition participants. They see their Gunyah residency as a unique chance to maintain these artistic connections and recreate their supportive studio atmosphere for generating ideas, discussion and critique.

Caelli Jo Brooker, Warm Serrata, 2010, monotype and oil on paper

Although Caelli and Andy have quite different practices, their work finds an overlap in portraying elements of landscape; whether literal or symbolic, internal or external, natural or industrial.  

Andy Devine, Fool's Gold #1, 2012, acrylic on board

“The Gunyah residency will give me a chance to work in a very different environment to the one I’m used to, and give me a great platform to plein-air paint the coastal areas. These works produced during the Gunyah residency would be used as visual research for a travelling exhibition at Maitland Regional Art Gallery in 2013, exploring the nocturnal relationship between the evening sky, landscape and possible human traces of historical activities." 
(Andy Devine)

Caelli Jo Brooker, The Cave: A Dialogue, 2009/10, (detail view)
Artist's book: monotype, acrylic, ink, oil, wax and crayon

“My time at Gunyah will renew my studio focus. Keen to leave the laptop at home, I'll explore fundamental forms of mark-making through drawing. These works will form research for a group exhibition, also at Maitland Regional Art Gallery in 2013, that navigates the significance of bird related imagery in contemporary art.” 
(Caelli Jo Brooker)

Caelli Jo Brooker

Caelli Jo Brooker is an artist, designer, teacher and postgraduate student from Maitland, NSW, undertaking research exploring materiality, hapticity and mark-making in the digital age. She teaches design in the Faculty of Creative Industries at Hunter TAFE and works as a casual academic at the University of Newcastle. Caelli has also worked as a gallery director, arts administrator and curator. She came to art and design through printmaking, and her practice engages with line and gesture as visual language and the deconstruction of figurative elements into organic abstraction. Caelli's areas of speciality are mark-making, monotypes and artists’ books.
For more information on Caelli's practice go to www.caellijobrooker.com

Andy Devine

Andy Devine was born in Middlesbrough, England and he studied at the Cleveland College of Art & Design in the UK, then furthered his art practice at Newcastle Art School after relocating to Australia. Here he gained an Advanced Diploma in Fine Art and several academic achievement awards. Recently he completed his Masters of Philosophy in Fine Art at the University of Newcastle, where he previously gained a Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours 1st Class), the Faculty Medal and University Medal. Andy has continued to exhibit extensively, in solo and group shows at artist-run, commercial, and regional galleries.
For more information on Andy's practice go to www.andydevine.com.au

Andy Devine, Mass #1, 2012, acrylic on canvas

"Great Southern Land", 1989 Icehouse music video discovery - it was filmed near Gunyah

If you can't see the video trying clicking on this link

The 1989 Icehouse music video for Great Southern Land was filmed in the Myall Lakes National Park - just a short drive from Gunyah... This fantastic scenery spotting was identified by Tom Hungerford and Michelle Genders (Shuffle Shuffle)!

When "Great Southern Land" was released as the first single from the Primitive Man album in 1982, a video for it was filmed in a disused sandstone quarry in the Kuringai National Park near Sydney. Then, in 1989, when the song met its first release as a single in North America and Europe, a new clip had to be made to accompany the overseas single. This time, the background Australian landscapes were provided by the Myall Lakes National Park on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. 

40 + 6: an exhibition by recent Gunyah artists-in-residence Michelle Brodie and Gordon Snow

40 + 6 exhibition invitation, artwork by Michelle Brodie

40 + 6 includes work by recent Gunyah artists-in-residence Michelle Brodie and Gordon Snow; along with Nicola Hensel, Jesse Neale, Debra Byrnes and Claire Martin.

40 + 6 group exhibition
Madeleine Kelman 11 Gallery
40 Burnie St, Clovelly, Sydney
6 - 7 October 2012

Possibilities: a solo exhibition by recent Gunyah artist-in-residence Michelle Genders

Michelle Genders, Possibilities, 2012, ink on archival paper,

Michelle Genders

Firstdraft Gallery: 4 - 20 October 2012

This series of drawings by Michelle Genders were developed by experimenting with principals employed in Professor Akiyoshi Kitaoka studies of underlying mechanisms of visual perception in the brain. Genders' drawing process explores intersections between science and spirituality, with respect to the polarity that appears to categorise our experience – that which is inside and that which is outside of us. In the area of psychology, more is known about the human brain than ever before. In the areas of cosmology and astrophysics, knowledge about the universe has increased rapidly. Advanced technology used in research has facilitated discoveries that have altered the way we conceive of ourselves and the universe. The embodied experience feels separate from the rest of the universe. But, spiritual traditions such as yoga, meditation, mysticism and beliefs of indigenous culture assume that the inside and outside lie on the same continuum.

At face value, scientific discoveries appear to be consistent with spiritual traditions. There are similarities between the methods used, for example repetitive observation and rigorous discipline. However, the fundamental assumptions of science and spirituality are different. ‘Possibilities’ is a word that reflects these contradictory assumptions. It means both something that might exist and something that is fact. It puts forwards the promise that anything is possible, but holds expectation that things should be proven.

Michelle Genders was part of Shuffle Shuffle - August 2012 artists-in-residence at Gunyah. She is a Sydney based artist, who has an experimental practice that includes drawing, sculpture, jewellery and installation; working with a process that is labour intensive but where simple solutions are chosen. Michelle completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) at Sydney College of the Arts in 2009.

Firstdraft Gallery: 116 - 118 Chalmers St, Surry Hills, Sydney NSW. 
Open: Wed -  Sun 12 to 6pm.

Find out more about Michelle's practice www.michellegenders.blogspot.com.au

Robyn Kinsela: artist-in-residence Sept 2012

Robyn Kinsela, The Bush IV, acrylic on canvas, Gunyah, 2012

Gunyah gave us some well needed chill time during which I did a lot of "thinking through drawing and painting"... here are some photos, drawings and paintings all in different stages of thought development.

Robyn Kinsela, Self portait studies, Gunyah 2012

Drawing is thinking.  I drew my husband, I drew myself, I drew our regular kookaburra visitors and I drew the bush. All while I cogitated as to HOW I would translate it into my language, the local environment with its sounds and textures.

Robyn Kinsela, Gunyah bush and ocean sketches, 2012

The opportunity to spend time at Gunyah was tremendously helpful as it allowed me to work through ideas without unwanted interruptions. We balanced our time between working and not working and ended up with a sense of achievement far beyond expectations.

Robyn Kinsela, Gunyah visitors, 2012

Photography, drawing, painting and reading were counterbalanced with sightseeing, walking and cycling. Our sojourns to Tea Gardens for seafood and coffee were enhanced by our quiet nights at Gunyah where we enjoyed good food and wine and a bit more painting and reading.

Robyn Kinsela, Gunyah bush sketches, 2012

It was peaceful without TV, and I appreciated the absence of artworks on the walls. Whether this has been a deliberate decision or not, it added to the peaceful ambience of the house and I could focus entirely upon my own ideas and images.

Robyn Kinsela, The Bush III, acrylic on canvas, Gunyah 2012 
Robyn Kinsela, The Bush II, acrylic on canvas, Gunyah 2012
Robyn Kinsela, The Bush I, acrylic on canvas, Gunyah 2012
Robyn Kinsela, The Light, acrylic on canvas, Gunyah 2012

Find out more about Robyn's practice www.robynkinsela.wordpress.com & read Robyn's proposal for Gunyah here