This September I will be putting together an exhibition of Contemporary Botanical Art for the Botanical Bazaar Event on the Gold Coast. You can read more about the exhibition and the Artists involved here.
Contemporary botanical art, for this exhibition, is defined as art that responds to the botanical and natural world or peoples interactions with it.
It may be inspired by and respond to traditional botanical art, but may also include more Contemporary artistic techniques and concepts.
It may or may not be interested in traditional concerns of botanical artists . A scientific representational approach may be taken, but other approaches may also be embraced. Contemporary art or conceptual approaches may be explored. Modern art may be admired and extended upon (especially the Still Life tradition). Ecological perpectives may underline some of the work. Nature may just be represented or it could be considered as co-artist.
I was really happy with these small works I did for the Postcard Show in Mullum. I did these quite quickly after a week or so of painting more detailed Grevilleas. It was actually at the end of an 8 hour painting session, where I was was able to ‘let go’ entirely. Though I know I would not have had nearly the same result without having painted the Grevilleas more realistically beforehand.
This fortnight (until the 19th of February) I have an installation in the window of the M-arts Precinct in Murwillumbah.
The installation takes some of the works from my previous exhibition Nature Portraitsand reconfigures them in a new place and new context. I was aiming to present the paintings in a way that would enhance the conceptual basis behind the work. My art practice is generally about exploring the intersections and relationships between humanity and nature.
One of my favourite comments from the Nature Portraits exhibition was that in the beautiful white room with big old style windows it looked a bit like a Greenhouse. I was playing on that idea with this installation. The works are hung low and presented from the same vantage point we often view pot plants. The light is a fluro, but may have associations with a growing light. The fluro light, along with the industrial shelving, is also used to add something of the cultural and artificial to the space, and to contrast with the organic looking works.
The painting themselves are subdued but also busy and odd plantlike entities. They are a little bit like misfits trying to fit into their cultural environments. A little bit like how many of us might sometimes feel under the fluro at the office or in the supermarket.
The other reason to use the industrial shelf is that it is ‘cool’ and I like the way the yellowish metal sets of the blue grey paintings. Also the fluro light reminds me of every second installation I saw at art school in the early 2000’s. It’s a kind of symbol of a very formulative time in my art making history.
I hope people appreciate the installation in their own way. If you have any reflections or opinions about it do let me know!
Two recent works are currently hanging in the 30 x 30 Art Prize at Art Piece Gallery in Mullumbimby. The works are beautifully framed by Still @ the centre in Byron. It’s well worth a visit to see the exhibition. There are some truly fabulous works on display.
I must say I was really so chuffed to be hanging on the wall with some of my favourite artists including one of the winners Kat Shapiro Wood, which is the beautiful blue cloud on the pink background second from the left. (It really has to be seen ‘in the flesh’ to appreciate the subtleties and exquisite workmanship) There are other works in this image by Emma Walker, Zom Osborne, Robin Sweaney, Hilary Herrmann, James Guppy, Gatya Kelly, and John Santucci, amoung others.
During my exhibition at the Northern Rivers Community Gallery in Ballina, I was lucky enough to be involved in their 1000 Words program. This program aims develop students writing skills and art literacy through art discussions, creative writing and vocabulary enrichment.
I really loved what students wrote about my work. They were very kind and also very creative.
One group wrote about my work ‘Flower Thought’ as a magical chair! So fabulous.
I am now quite inspired to make it into such an amazing chair!!!
October to November 2017 Solo Show NRCG in Ballina.
Here is the text for the exhibition:
Soft, coastal foliage. Knobbly, weathered beach trees. Cultivated mountainsides. Subtropical garden flora, native flowers and tangled jungle vines. These are amongst the natural elements that inspire the works in this exhibition.
Judy Oakenfull is a painter based in Murwillumbah, NSW. Her art practice reflects on the local environment and her main conceptual focus is the relationship between nature and culture. The works in this exhibition are a personal response to, and celebration of, the nature surrounding us, but also consider broader cultural themes and questions about the human relationship with the natural world.
The works in Nature Portraits seek to interrupt ideas of nature as separate to us, via the use of irregular forms, colour, pattern and the imperfect process of painting and drawing. A hint of anthropomorphism is embraced. Straight lines are combined with curvy organic shapes. Things bulge and pop out and balance precariously. The vulnerability and oddness of both nature and human nature is celebrated.
Images of Artwork are in more detail in Portfolio section under ‘Nature Portraits’
Thank you to the fabulous creative force that is Jo Back Biles of Banana lounge Studio for putting together this fun exhibition. Floral fun and fanciness propagated wildly and wonderfully amoungst the concrete and steel in the post industrial creative haven of the M-arts precinct in Murwillumbah.
An exhibition by local artists whose work explores botanical themes and ideas. As artists we want to draw attention to the flora that can be found in the Tweed and surrounding regions, from the mountains to the sea, from rain-forests to coastal dunes, and the interactions that are going on in these ecosystems. Some of us have cultivated the craft of detailed traditional illustrative techniques, and some of us embrace more contemporary and/or abstracted responses. We want to plant some seeds in the minds of viewers of our art works about both the beauty that can be found around us while being mindful of more problematic aspects such as the impact introduced species have on our environment.
The nine artists in the exhibition were bought together by MAT Curator Annie Long.
The exhibition will also feature an exciting collaborative installation envisioned by Annie Long and Heather Matthew. The installation will feature contributions by all artists in the show.
Exhibition open 9.30-4pm May 26-31.