Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Nillumbik Artists Open Studios November 2016


Nillumbik Artists Open Studios Artists Exhibit



"Join us at the Eltham Library Community Gallery as the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios Artists exhibit a taster collection of artworks. Exhibition runs from Thursday October 27th  to Monday 21st November. Check library website for opening hours here… "

It seems to come around so quickly.  The November season of Open Studios has just been kicked off with the opening of the group exhibition..



NILLUMBIK ARTISTS OPEN STUDIOS


19th & 20th | 26 & 27th November 2016



"One of the beauties of this collective program is the diversity of practices and personalities that are all tied together by a common thread, the love of the landscape. Painters, illustrators, ceramicists and print-makers alike culminate to make a rich tapestry of multi-disciplinary artworks that can be discovered at your own pace, studio by studio."





This brand new year of Open Studio's introduces nine new artists to the program as well as the launch of a new website for Nillumbik Artists Open Studios that  encourages visitors to explore and map their very own artistic trail. "We are taking you on a journey to pockets of the beautiful Nillumbik Shire that have yet been traversed by this program such as Plenty and Nutfield, so pick up a coffee and engage in an adventure!"

This season, my studio is listed as Studio Number 10.
220 Long Gully Road (cnr Bakehouse Road, Panton Hill.  Love to see you there!!!





From an article in the Herald Sun, here is a photo of me in my studio.  An excerpt of the article as follows...

"ARTIST Nerina Lascelles doesn't have to look far from her purpose built mud brick studio for inspiration.

While her art has a distinctly Japanese feel, she enjoys painting uniquely Australian flora, the kind that surrounds her Panton Hill studio.  Lascelles studied drawing and painting at art school, but when she went looking for something more she was drawn to the Asian ethos of less.
"I started looking at different cultures and travelled through several Asian countries," she said.
"I went to Tibet and made mandalas with the Buddhist monks, which was an incredible experience, but when I got to Japan I thought 'I have found it'. There is a simplicity that comes with the Japanese style."

For the past 10 years Lascelles has been influenced by the sacred arts of a number of Asian countries. She has labelled her Japanese inspired work Japonism - "the influence of the arts of Japan on artists in the west"." ....... (read more)





Saturday, August 27, 2016

Art Demonstration


I recently had the delightful experience of hosting a demonstration evening at a local 'Arts Society'.

Painting in one's own studio is generally  a solitary experience and it sees that over many years artist's tend to develop their preferred mode of expression.  For me, the combination of collage, printing, painting and application of 'encaustic wax' has now become a part of my 'art-making regime' so to speak.

I was introduced to encaustic wax over 25 years ago at art school. During the same period I was also using all sorts of different collage mediums to incorporate into my paintings. I recall screwing up paper tightly then applying paint to the creased paper.... and finally ironing each sheet. This gave me some interesting textures. Back in the art school days I completed a post graduate thesis on the 'Spiritual in Art'  with a particular focus on 'Synesthesia'. (the overlapping of the senses)

In this body of work I endeavored paint music from different tribes and cultures of the globe. Interestingly, with these early works I combined paper collage, paint, drawing and encaustic wax in a similar way that I do today.  Not only was I using paper collage, but I made papier mache frames for each painting as another representation of our link to the natural world and the planet.


(photos courtesy of DVArts Society)


During the presentation I initially explained about my influences and inspiration though the decades that I've been making art.  Since completing University, my work has been inspired by native cultures of the earth that may be able to offer us in the West a glimpse of how to live with more 'connection' to each other and the planet.  Early influences took me to parts of Africa, South America and Asia. I was also researching the art and culture of The Native American Indians, Australian Aboriginals, Tibetan monks and other Shamanic cultures across the globe.  As the years passed, my focus began to hone in on Asia and more recently the ancient arts, culture and philosophy of Japan.
More recently again, and my paintings appear to combine both the Japanese influence as well as including subject from the natural world more locally to where I live.

I showed the audience an array of materials that I would typically use within a painting - from gold and silver leaf to metallic foils and wallpapers and from Japanese Kimono and Obi to Washi Paper.


(photos courtesy of DVArts Society)


A more recently acquired technique is that of applying screen prints to my work. During the demonstration I printed a number of areas of a canvas I was working on to show the viewers this mode of getting an almost instant application of pattern and motif. 




I also demonstrated the application of gold leaf to a canvas.




(photos courtesy of DVArts Society)


"It was a successful and entertaining evening at the DVAS Rooms.
About 25 people watched Nerina with a bubbly personality demonstrate her artistic skills.
Nerina who uses encaustic wax and gold leafing in her work certainly has some very good
techniques and everybody would have gained something useful from the evening. Her
artwork is very different from the run of the mill and extremely decorative.
Thanks Nerina for coming and also thanks to all the people who came along and showed
support for our DVAS Demonstration Evenings: It was a really good turn-out...."

(excerpt from the newsletter)



This really was a fabulous experience to share my work - thank you all at DVAS for the invitation :)

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Open Studios



Today I'm participating in another 'Artist's Open Studios' event in my local area. My studio in Panton Hill is one of 26 open throughout the Nillumbik Shire. As is written in the booklet that accompanies the program, 'Nillumbik invites you to discover over 30 artists in their studios, providing an intimate and privileged insight into their arts practice. Explore the inspirationalBackdrop of some of Victoria's most beautiful bushland and interesting architecture, constructed from mudbrick, stone and recycled materials'.


 

Please come along for a little 'sneak peek' inside my studio this weekend too :)



While I have paintings adorning the round walls (a bit like a gallery) visitors can also see the array of materials I utIlise to create these works. On these shelves (pictured below) there are many fabrics that I have collected from travels across Asia. There are also a range of greeting cards. My publication, Seizui, is available too.Up in the loft one can also glimpse clothing racks of Japanese Obi and Kimono and boxes full of material off-cuts.



On the shelves below this painting (pictured below) there are boxes of the papers that I use within the collage element of each painting. Amoung these are beautiful Japanese Washi papers, Chinese Joss, Indonesian foils, vintage wallpapers and vintage asian newspapers.





Below is a photo of a shelving unit full of paints, tapes, pencils, leaf, waxes and on the top shelf, a collection of vintage wooden stamps from. India, Nepal and Indonesia. These have been used to print patterns onto fabric in different parts of Asia.   Gosh - the stories these stamps could tell!


 

Because of the collage and screen printing processes within my paintings, I'll spend a deal of time with each canvas lying flat on a trestle table. Here is a little display of the process of screen printing an area of 'kikko hanabashi' (the traditional Japanese tortoise shell pattern) onto an area of gold leaf. Sheets of acitate act as a mask during the printing process. The paintings will later be transferred to a vertical easel for additional painting.





Below is a snapshot from a table of reading material, articles and catalogues from past exhibitions. There are four publications from recent shows.




A lot of visitors to my studio are also fascinated by the studio itself. This 'ferro cement' studio was built on my family property. My father, Wayne Lascelles, designed a stunning home some years before my studio was built. Below are a few of the magazines that this home has been featured in.


While my parents were building, I used their carport (a circular Mudbrick building to house 4+ cars) as my studio. It was then that I fell in love with the circular space to create within. One night out at dinner Dad and I drew on serviettes the basic design for a this studio ..... And with the help of local ferro cement expert, Mark Phillips, the rest is history :)



And finally, for today's little 'virtual' studio tour, another photo inside the studio space. This is the view through the tunnel from the smaller, two story 'storage' space into the larger area that I actually paint in. The stone for these steps actually came out of the excavated site beneath the studio.




Visit www.artistsopenstudios.com.au for more about the program.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

'Step by Step'


On open days almost every visitor to my studio asks what my process of painting is. While the 'step by step' of each painting varies, I suppose, just like other artists, I've developed my own technical process over the years...... which I'm more than happy to share :)


This is the process in painting a commissioned work for a couple with a beautiful 'Lemon Scented Gum' in their yard. After visiting their home to view their colour scheme and furniture, chatting about what they would like, I arrived at a design of a horizontal painting with a silver metallic boarder and featuring leaved and the colouring of the beautiful tree from their garden.


Step 1


The first layer on this painting was to paste down several sheets of tissue paper. This is a way of covering over the textured weave in the canvas, but also, the wrinkles in the tissue assist to create an aged and vintage surface to begin painting on.
Layers of acrylic paint have then been applied, between which I have painted a number of coats of 'Crackle Medium'. This also assists in portraying an aged affect and I am able to get a really loose dribble and crackled under-layer. Most of this texture will be lost as I continue, although sections of each layer will be visible in the final product. The first layers on this work were darker and have gradually become lighter as I proceed. This too gives the viewer a sense that time has passed and that possibly layers of dust have softened the once bright and highly contrasting colours beneath.



Step 2


Masking tape has allowed me to paste down silver foil to create a boarder on both the top and the bottom of the painting. I have cut a circle into the foil before pasting it to the canvas to create a silver moon.
The beautiful Lemon Scented Gum has so many beautiful warm and dusty colours in its bark. From mushroom to dusty pink and mauve and a beautiful almost powdery off-white on some parts of its trunk. The blossom and gum-nuts of this tree are so beautiful. Strips of Japanese paper featuring the hexagonal 'Kikko Hanabashi' pattern echoes the experience of looking into the open end of gum-nuts and the application of the 'Asanoha' via a gold silk screen pattern mimics the delicate 'star-like' flowers when the gum is in bloom.




Step 3


Now its time to apply more silver leaf and foil. The little squares of silver leaf in the background give the sense of a Japanese folding screen or sliding shrine door that would have been traditionally decorated with images from the natural world. I have made another screen featuring the same 'Kikko Hanabashi' pattern that featured on the paper used earlier. The layering of silkscreen pattern allows one to see the layers beneath as well as adding a new dimension to the foreground.
My application of the silver leaf and pattern in a diagonal arrangement also stems from traditional Japanese influences.... as does the area of 'mist' which appear to move across and into the composition above the moon.




Step 4


Waves of mist are also represented through the use of some vintage Chinese wallpaper I found some years ago. The trees and landscape scenes on this wallpaper offer us a sense that we're in nature.... and when the gum leaves are applied in the next step - that place in nature has become more specifically, Australia.




Step 5


What I always find incredibly magical is that while my body, mind and spirit are so immersed in the colour and imagery of the painting I am working on, nature or life seems to also give me 'hints' of what colour to apply next or how to achieve a desired affect. Sometimes I'll find the answer to a problem I have had in the studio that night in my dreams. Sometimes in the middle of a yoga practise or sometimes while walking. In this case, I was on a bushwalk when from high up above the canopy of shorter trees a cockatoo broke off a sprig of Lemon Scented Gum leaves and blossom. They landed right at my very feet!
After scanning these leaves, I have printed them in pigmented inks on archival paper and arranged them onto the painting.
This process often reminds me of the art of 'Ikebana' the Japanese art of flower arranging.




Lemon Scented Gum Collage
76cm x 122cm
Mixed Media on Canvas
2016


And finally, the details and a fine spray of paint are applied to the canvas, followed by a combination of encaustic wax and damar varnish as a means of protecting the layers within the painting and also creating a uniform surface over the entire work.

video


Here is the painting, "Lemon Scented Gum Collage" featured in it's new home.

......And thankfully it's new owners are simply thrilled! :)



(Photo thanks to Barry Plant real estate)





Tuesday, May 5, 2015

KARISOME - TRANSIENCE


Here’s hoping you're managing to keep warm on these wintery, wet days here in ole Melbourne town.
As mentioned in my last post, ‘Karisome – Transience’ is running at Yering Station until May 17th so there's still heaps of time to pop out for a look,and possibly a taste of the beautiful wine on offer, if you're in the vicinity.  I have just finished a short video interview about the background to the exhibition title and paintings so you can get a sense of what is on show. (click on the video below to view)


Karisome Video Interview on YouTube


May I extend an enormous thank you to everyone who made out to Yering Station for the exhibition opening and a huge thank you also to both Jeanette Davison and Ewan Jarvis for their heartfelt, eloquent and insightful speeches.
Here is an excerpt from Ewan Jarvis's wonderful speech...... with some images of paintings in the show nestled between his words. An enormous thank you again Ewan xxxx


Beneath the Blossom 84cm x 152cm, 2015



"Good evening and welcome to the Yering Station Gallery. My name is Ewen Jarvis. I run the cellar door here at Yering Station and will be standing in for our curator Savaad Felich while he is on leave. So on his behalf and on behalf of the Yering Station Gallery, I’m delighted to be welcoming you to the opening of Nerina Lascelles’ exhibition ‘Karisome’ or ‘Transience’: a collection of works that take as their subject the transient nature of all things and the beauty inherent in transience itself.

The Japanese word Karisome denotes the inevitable dissolution of all form through the passage of time.  Karisome can be translated into English as transient or temporary. Translation is however something of a haphazard affair, and these English words don’t quite convey the nuanced meaning of the Japanese word.


Maigure-shon - Migration 84cm x 152cm, 2015


Nerina has observed on one of her blogs that an awareness of karisome involves joy, an intense appreciation of things, and also a gentle sadness at their passing.
Now yesterday, with all of this in mind, I decided to ask a few Japanese visitors to the gallery for their personal definition of Karisome. My favourite response was from a lady called Michiko from Kobe, who was on holiday with her mother and grandmother. Michiko said that Karisome is ‘like a love affair that is all the more moving and beautiful for being short’.
The chrysanthemum flowers, cherry blossoms, honey bees and migrating cranes of this exhibition ask us to reflect on love affairs that are all the more beautiful for being short, and in doing so they induce a Zen-like calm.



Karisome III 2 84cm x 152cm, 2015


Nerina’s works, I think you will agree, have an immediately calming effect. They encourage tranquillity and induce in us a sensitivity to the subtle movements of human life and the workings of nature: and experience that deepens with patient observation. Giving these works our attention involves becoming lost in their many layers of texture, colour and symbol.


Shihyou – Pattern, 122cm x 122cm, 2015


In Nerina’s works the layering of Japanese Kimono embroidery, Chinese silk, Washi paper, Joss and encaustic wax invites the viewer to step through the textured surface into imagined worlds, while the disparate vintages of the carefully chosen material invite us to become lost in the passing of time. Viewing these works, we are often jointly aware of the eternal and the transient. For example, in Japanese mythology the crane lives for 1,000 years, but for a human observer the spectacle of its migration is all the more beautiful for being fleeting.

Another element of Nerina’s exhibition that endears me to her work are the titles taken from the Japanese poetry. I always enjoy an exhibition a little more if the titles of the works are working as hard as the works themselves. Nerina certainly doesn’t disappoint. Take for instance the title of the following piece:



The sun covered
By clouds for a while
Migrating birds

Basho 1644-1694


For me, haiku like this has the effect of someone walking into a room and playing a few exquisite notes on a flute and then leaving.
These words, written in seventeenth century feudal Japan by Matsuo Basho (and for those of you unfamiliar with Matsuo Basho, he is the Japanese equivalent of Shakespeare) these words introduce us to a work in which migrating-silk-kimono cranes are seen traversing an airy skyscape of precipitous paper mountains, gold gilt clouds, crooked trees clinging to crevasses, while delicately penned Japanese words fall like rain into low valleys.
The overall effect is of entering a tranquil, complex and dreamlike space....."

Photos thanks to Kerry Cross

"Karisome - Transience" Runs April 2 - 17 May 2015

Opening Drinks Friday April 10th 6pm - 7.45

Admission Free

Contact details:

Exhibition Coordinator - Savaad Felich
artgallery@yering.com
T 03 9730 0102



38 Melba Hwy Yarra Glen 3775 
Victoria, Australia 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Karisome - Transience




The title of my next exhibition is ‘Karisome’ (Ka-ri-so-me) which is Japanese for ‘Transience’. It embodies the ancient Zen Buddhist concept that all form – be that material, thought or emotion - will inevitably dissolve through the passage of time. The contemplation of the transient nature of all things is nothing new, philosophers have ruminated with this concept since the dawn of time. The ancient Japanese monks, seers, artists and poets not only acknowledged and embraced this idea but also perceived the transient and ever-changing element of life to hold incredible beauty. A beauty which does not last and cannot be grasped, bought or owned.



Live in simple faith
Just as this trusting cherry
Flowers, fades and falls – Basho 


The words of this beautiful Basho poem eloquently capture the wisdom and grace of being aware of and applying the concept of transience. Western culture appears to identify so heavily with the permanence of material form, thought and emotion, and could perhaps live in a more balanced way through acceptance of the popular Buddhist concept that “This too shall pass.” Rather than becoming lost in the world of things, emotions and events we should flow with grace and trust life and its experiences.




Mono No Aware (pronounced - “moh-noh noh ah-wah-ray”) is a Japanese term which arose from the Buddhist culture of the Heian Period (794-1185). This term describes the awareness of the transience of things, and both a joy and intense appreciation as well as a gentle sadness at their passing. Poet and artist Motoori Norinaga (1730 -1801), describes the term as “sensitive, exquisite feelings experienced when encountering the subtle workings of human life or the changing seasons.” In Norinaga’s interpretation, the phrase speaks of a refined sensitivity toward the sorrowful and transient nature of beauty. According to mono no aware, a falling or wilting autumn flower is more beautiful than one in full bloom; a fading sound more beautiful than one clearly heard. The Sakura or cherry blossom tree is the epitome of this conception of beauty. They explode in beauty after winter’s doldrums, trumpeting life for only a few days before they die. 





Beauty is a subjective rather than objective experience, a state of being ultimately internal rather than external. Based largely upon classical Greek ideals, beauty in the West is sought in the ultimate perfection of an external object: a sublime painting, perfect sculpture or intricate musical composition; a beauty that could be said to be only skin deep. The Japanese ideal sees beauty instead as an experience of the heart and soul, a feeling for and appreciation of objects or artwork—most commonly nature or the depiction of—in a pristine, untouched state.




The paintings in this exhibition combine the influences of the ancient artwork from Japan, an understanding of Zen Buddhist philosophy and a contemplation of the transient nature of life.

This body of work contains floral imagery such as the cherry blossom as well as bees and birds which again symbolise the transient life of the natural world. Materials used in these paintings incorporate a collection of vintage Japanese fabrics, wallpapers and metallic leaf and foil; combined onto the canvas with screen printed patterns, paint and encaustic wax. As when Japanese golden screens first appeared in the fourteenth century they functioned as a background on which to paste painted fans or square poem cards. Similarly, these paintings are a combination of both paper and material collage and painted areas.

Pattern is also an important element in this collection of paintings. I am contemplating both the pattern of the life cycle and seasons, pattern within sound, music and the written language, patterns in nature (honeycomb, petals of a blossom, waves etc) and the deeper, more geometric patterns that man has recognized in nature including the Fibonacci sequence, Mandelbrot set and Golden Mean.




Segments of the paintings appear as though they have aged over time. Tarnish, wear and decay also represent the transient nature of passing time. Areas of space represent that which has passed before or that which is yet to come into form. They suggest a magical, ‘alive’ dimension of true beauty beyond the 3D form that we, as humans so heavily identify with.

The paintings are material objects that depict an image which arose from the essence and which, at their highest function, will offer the viewer a window to their own eternal essence within.




Friday, August 1, 2014

A 'Pastiche' of Materials

Pastiche (noun) - An artistic work consisting of a medley of pieces taken from various sources





Many visitors to my studio inquire about the vast array of materials used in my paintings. As mentioned briefly in my last post, materials used in my paintings incorporate a collection of vintage Japanese fabrics, wallpapers and metallic leaf and foil; combined onto the canvas with screen printed patterns, paint and encaustic wax.





Precious obi and kimono fragments included in these works have been hand selected from travels to Asian markets and antique bazaars. There is nothing quite like rummaging through a box of second hand material at a Japanese Shrine Sale. It is not uncommon for me to return to Australia with 'excess baggage'.... nothing to do with personal objects or souvenirs, instead, bags of materials that I simply couldn't leave behind!













What was considered absolute 'trash' to the previous owner evokes excitement and inspiration within me as I imagine this precious off-cut incorporated into a new painting. The definition of 'Wabi-Sabi' definitely applies to this aspect of my art making. Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is "imperfect, impermanent and incomplete". Fragments of what was once a complete piece of fabric capture snippets of the world of their former glory. Another Japanese concept "Kintsukuroi" hold a similar value. Kintsukuroi is the art of repairing broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer. It is understood that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken. The beautiful and rare treasures that I collect on my travels ignite a fascination of a time when life was perhaps more simple than in this modern day. These fabrics in themselves spark a sense of Yūgen. (a profound, mysterious sense of the beauty of the universe)





In memory of my Grandmother




On a more personal note, vintage wallpapers and other elements are also included to represent the influence of my dear grandmother. Even into her 100th year, grandmother saw beauty and the positive in absolutely everyone and everything she experienced. Her abundant garden appeared to respond as she would peer into the face of her beloved flowers and remark on their beauty.





As a child I would be swept away with the beauty of both Grandmother’s garden, and also her presence. I often wondered why grandmother didn’t appear to be overwhelmed by the stresses and struggles of this modern day. Perhaps it was because she did indeed come from a much simpler time (even before electricity) or maybe as the years passed she recognised the futility of being drawn into the anxiety and fear that is perpetuated through the minds of others. Instead Grandmother exhibited patience and grace. She appeared to hold a silent wisdom of what was important and what would bring balance and harmony. While being of this world, she preferred to sit and observe small plants grow and the seasons pass.





The wisdom I have gleaned from both my observation of my grandmother and a study of the ancient arts of Japan, is a reminder to hold a perception of the 'bigger picture' with me always. For me this is a meditation in opening and expanding my perception of life as a whole; to sense separate individuals as a 'one', and to know of the vibrational connection running through the entire universe.