Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Montsalvat is delighted to present an exhibition of new work by the 2011 Nillumbik Prize People’s Choice Award winner Nerina Lascelles.
Long Gallery 19 June – 25 August

‘Japonism’ is the term used to describe the influence of the Arts of Japan on artists of the West. Ever since the very first contact in the sixteenth century, Japan has always possessed an irresistable fascination for the Western culture. The allure was only increased when Japanese ports reopened to trade with the West in 1853 and a tidal wave of foreign imports flooded European shores.

Japanese woodcut prints by masters of the ukiyo-e school which transformed Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art by demonstrating that simple, transitory, everyday subjects could be presented in appealingly decorative ways.


Narrow-Leafed Peppermint
152cm x 122cm 

Over the past decade, I have been inspired by the sacred arts of a number of Asian countries, in particular, the arts of Japan. Be it a scroll painting, a monk’s calligraphy koan or a beautifully woven kimono, these ancient objects capture an essence of timeless simplicity and beauty that is inherent in all things. Such a concept offers a welcome reprieve from the stress, noise and hustle/bustle of this modern day.
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 natural beauty of the Australian bush.

The monks and artists of ancient Japan painted beautiful, reverential depictions of their natural world: the seasons, the flora and the fauna.
Japanese art consisted of off-centred arrangements with no perspective, light with no shadows, and vibrant colours with both plain and patterned surfaces. Other Japanese design elements included elongated pictorial formats, aerial perspective, spaces emptied of form, and a focus on singularly decorative motifs.

It is with the same sensitivity and with the influence of the Japanese aesthetic that I have chosen to depict a series of more local natural objects including branches of gum leaves, a flowering blossom or a flowing stream.

76cm x 152cm

In this body of work my intention is to offer a fresh insight on everyday elements by taking them out of a familiar setting and placing them into a new environment. Having lived in this indigenous landscape of Nillumbik for most of my life, it is easy to overlook the subtlety and fragility of delicate blooms which are surrounded by hardy bush. Within these canvasses, Australian flora has been offered a sense of space which it may not have had in its natural environment. Areas of empty space rest beside the magnification of leaves and flowers, allowing the viewer to experience both a focus on the shapes and also the space to contemplate the details of these forms.
The voids of space within these works suggest a magical, ‘alive’ dimension beyond the material.

‘Form’ and the ‘formless’ combine to create a sense of harmonious balance.

Red Box Moon
156cm x 122cm

"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."

Cinnamon Wattle
122cm x 122cm