Counterparts – Internship at the Rockhampton Art Gallery

One of the highlights of 2019 is to be selected for an internship with Rockhampton Art Gallery as part of the Counterparts Project. Counterparts was funded by the Regional Arts Fund, the Australian Government and Flying Arts Alliance. The opportunity was created by Rockhampton Art Gallery for six selected female artists from the Central Queensland Region. The project highlights the work by female artists in the prized collection of the Rockhampton Art Gallery and allows six selected female art practitioners to respond to a chosen art work from the archive.

For my Counterparts Project I chose an artwork from the collection that I felt conflicted about. The aim of this choice was to form a strong, contrasting response with a conceptual art work. I responded to the work “Sapling 2014”, acrylic on linen, by Del Kathryn Barton. This art work is a flamboyant, colorful work full of patterns reflecting plants, birds, nature and the elements. The textures and imaginative otherworldly luscious settings are seductive. They also overwhelm the viewer with suffocating detail and an underlying darkness.

In response to the work I reviewed my past practice and my goals for new works and took on the challenge of opening up to a big shift in my practice as a whole as well as concepts for future projects and exhibitions. Conversations with Henri van Noordenburg from Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Bianca Acivomic, Director of the Rockhampton Art Gallery and Madeline Brewer, Curatorial Assistant, Rockhampton Art Gallery, helped to critically engage with the concept development and break out of some of the limitations I set for myself. I am incredibly grateful to the gallery staff to provide an opportunity for professional development and public forum for my art work and concept development.

My counterpart Work is titled “River Vows… in sickness and in health…” and “counters” Del Kathryn Barton’s fantastical “Sapling” with a quiet work of simplicity, minimalism and references to the realities of our local environment. “River Vows….in sickness and in health…” was created as a quick response art work in a two-week time frame and is an installation of a series of veils depicting the Fitzroy River set against mosaic lightning bolts made of glass, found objects and stone on aluminium tracking. The installation provides a space of stillness and reflection focusing on the understated simplicity and minimalism which constitutes the Central Queensland environment. The materials, themes and subject matter reference the theme of transition in Del Kathryn Barton’s painting, while juxtaposing Del Barton’s work of color and fantasy with subtlety and delicate renderings denoting our interdependence with land and water.

The focus of the art work is the River and the stillness of our landscape. I want the viewer to interact and immerse themselves physically in my work and engage with its three-dimensional use of imagery, light and texture. The work is on show at the Rockhampton Art Gallery from the 8th June- 8th September 2019.

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