Monday, March 11, 2013

Journey Through Artistic Inspiration - 1995 to 2013

2011 – Current

From 2010 – 2012, Nerina lived and worked as an artist in residence at ‘Dunmoochin’, an artist’s community located in bushland surrounding Melbourne.
Her major show in 2011 was ‘Seizui’ at Montsalvat in Eltham. Each of the 14 works in this exhibition were been inspired after the reading and contemplation of a series of Haiku poems by the Japanese masters. For each poem chosen, the intention was to extract the ‘essence’ and bring the inherent imagery to life through a visual interpretation.

Clouds Veil the Moon 

Now and again 

Giving rest to its beholders - BASHO 

Japanese masters such as Basho, Issa, Shikki and Buson, with poems dating back to the 10th century, have written countless haiku poems portraying their experience of nature and life in Japan. And similarly, monks and artists of ancient Japan painted with a poetic reverence beautiful depictions of their natural world; the seasons, flora and fauna.

Long-Leaf Box Collage 2011

(Winner People's Choice - Nillumbik Prize)

“After having been living at Dunmoochin for over a year now, one simply cannot help being influenced by the beauty and magic of the Australian bush which encouraged my to translate some of these Japanese haiku using imagery which is more local to this region; including red box and long leaf box eucalyptus.”

2009 - 2010

In 2010 Nerina had three major solo exhibitions, "Sonzai - Existence", "Shinzui - Essence" and "MIST" in Singapore.
Sonzai - Existence was a solo exhibition at East and West Art Gallery, explored Eastern Philosophy where 'impermenance' describes existence, a vast space or stillness from which all forms arise and in time dissolve.

Karisome – Transience 

122cm x 122cm 2010 

Shinzui - Essence was an exhibition comprising of over 35 paintings and prints at Yering Station. 'Shinzui' (Japanese for ‘Essence’) speaks of a space or stillness which existed before or beyond the realm of matter. It contains an understanding of Zen Buddhism and suggests a magical, ‘alive’ dimension beyond the 3D form that we, as humans so heavily identify with. The word ‘Essence’ has been used to describe the aspect of ourselves which is connected to all life or our true nature.

"Over the past decade, my work has been inspired by the sacred arts of a number of Asian cultures. Be it a painting on a shrine wall, a monk’s calligraphy koan or a beautifully woven kimono, these ancient objects of beauty seem to ‘point to’ the essence of all life. Over time, dust, dirt and decay appear to conceal the treasure beneath - but the essence that inspired the creation originally can never be marred or destroyed with time.

Similarly, the understanding of our true essence and connection to ‘the whole’ is sensed deep within ourselves - beneath the layers of mind, emotions and form. This essence is also a beautiful treasure which is always present, just beneath the surface. 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 invisible essence within."

Honshitsu - True Nature, Mixed Media on Canvas, 122cm x 122cm, 2010

"MIST", a solo exhibition in the Australian High Commission in Singapore in 2010 was been inspired by a fifteen year study of Asian cultures which may offer both Eastern and Western Cultures a glimpse of a different and perhaps more balanced way of being. Singapore has been viewed as a meeting place and a 'melting pot' between East and West and for this reason the art works reflect the positive and unifying aspects of our world cultures.

Hashi - Bridge, 100cm x 75cm, 2009

Works of this period depicted a variety of landscapes in which the elements of both ‘form or matter’ and ‘space, void, or stillness’ coexist. The landscapes in this exhibition are not completely identified with physical form, but not entirely of spirit either. They represent a middle ground between form and the formless.

Figures and objects in the paintings are easily defined by the mind but perhaps not as easily comprehended, yet equally as important are the areas of space, which suggest a magical, mythical dimension beyond form. Some paintings suggest the spaciousness of the night sky while others describe distant, dreamlike landscapes which also represent the illusive nature of the invisible… the realm beyond space, time and form where true divinity dwells. Where all is one.

Doragon ken Fenikkusu - Dragon and Phoenix, 120 x 150cm, 2009

Nerina combines a blend of Buddhist images and traditional Japanese painting techniques with her own unique style - with the intention of imparting a sense of the ‘sacred’ to her audience. The occasional inclusion of a Buddha or Boddhisatva represents aspects of our true nature who’s presence may act as a trigger or ‘signpost’ into a deeper place of stillness.

2005 - 2008

During this period, Nerina has been influenced particularly by early Japanese art and Shinto and Buddhist teachings in Japan. Paintings during this time depicted revered creatures such as the crane, the koi and the peacock, plants such as the Cherry blossom as well as a number of Shinto deities.

Dharani - Esoteric Buddhist Prayer, 2005

Nerina's primary exhibition of 2006, the Nature of Things was influenced by the art and Zen poetry of Japan. Each of the 14 works was initiated from the reading and contemplation of a Haiku – an evocative Japanese verse which embodies a direct intuitive penetration into nature and life, which offers insight, joy and truth to readers. A simple verse encapsulates a multi-sensory experience of one’s environment. Haiku poetry uses language to allude to experience. In the case of Zen Haiku, language becomes a painting, a drawing, a story, a song.

"Suddenly the sun rose

to the scent of plum blossom

along the mountain path" 2006

For each poem chosen, Nerina has endeavoured to extract the essence and bring the inherent imagery to life through a visual interpretation. Through the combination of both Haiku and painting, traditionally termed ‘Haiga’ the aim is to invite the viewer to perhaps experience a similar ‘timeless moment’ or to experience a ‘deeper presence of life’

"Mysterious loveliness

Buddhist statues covered

in fallen leaves" 2006

The title of Nerina's major exhibition of 2007 was, KENSHO, & literally translates as 'Seeing the Nature.' In the Zen perspective, the Kensho experience is a moment of complete emptiness, simplicity & formlessness during which one sees one’s ‘true nature’ or ‘Buddha nature’. Put in another way, one knows with one’s whole being, that one was not, is not, and will not ever be separate from the whole of the Universe. It is a recognition of the conscious eternal presence beyond the dimension of form and mind which is our true identity. Kensho is not a permanent state of enlightenment but rather a clear glimpse of the true nature of creation.

Kensho, 2007

Materials used include a collage of origami papers, Japanese kimono fabric, gold & silver leaf, paint and encaustic wax. Japanese influences in style range across several periods in history including 13th and 14th century paintings of Buddhist and Shinto deities, scroll paintings by Zen monks, and the natural landscapes painted on the 'byobu' - folding screens

Keshiki Byobu - Landscape painted Folding Screen 2007

2000 -2005 

After travelling through Sri Lanka, India, Nepal and Tibet, Nerina’s work was greatly inspired by the art and culture of Buddhism and Hinduism. A series of exhibitions contained paintings of mandalas and meditative “thangkas”. Paintings from this period perhaps contained images of sacred deities and written Sanskrit or Tibetan mantras.

Peace Mandala 2001 

One such exhibition of note was “Sadhana” in 2001–which contained over 20 Buddhist inspired paintings. A Tibetan Buddhist Monk, Venerable Kunchok Rinzin created a 2 metre high butter sculpture which stood in the centre of the gallery space. Two Tibetan monks opened the exhibition with a Tibetan blessing and meditation, offering the public an amazing cultural experience.


Mumukshutva - Desire for Liberation 2001 

Travel to Indonesia has also inspired Nerina’s paintings. The beauty and diversity of Asian and Indonesian textiles and fabric paintings have also greatly inspired her work. In some cases paintings contained prints from traditional wood blocks of even a collage of fabrics she had collected from the countries themselves.

Avalokitesvara 2001 

Since 2002, Nerina has travelled to Bali 3 or 4 times each year and has as a result established a deep connection with the Balinese culture, mythology and people. In 2003 Nerina invited a Balinese artist, I Gusti Mirdiana, to Australia with the intention of each exhibiting 10 paintings of a traditional Balinese myth. The 20 finished works, 10 interpretations from Bali and 10 from the WestNerina Lascelles formed another exhibition of great cultural interest to the Melbourne community. Anthropologist and author Dr. Michele Stephen translated the stories through writing but also held a series of public lectures where the myths and artistic interpretations of both artists were explained.

Siwa and Uma 2003

1995 – 2000

Much of the inspiration for her previous works has derived from world-wide travel and an interest in the spirituality and wisdom of a number of indigenous cultures. Influence for early exhibitions include studies of the art and myth of the Australian Aborigines, African and South American cultures and other peoples who are in close connection with the earth.

Bungil - A Dance 1995

Nerina feels that such cultures were able to access certain understandings and wisdom, which our society today could also benefit from. Paintings from this period contained symbolism, sacred geometry and the palette of colour from such cultures; with the objective of imparting a sense of the harmony, balance and co-operation that runs through everything.


Ndoro - Zimbabwe 1998