What happens when you take nine artists from almost every corner of the state and blend them together in Mrs Harris’ Shop?
A terrific exhibition called Rural . . . with a fabulous range of works from glass to paintings, sculpture to jewellery.
Rural resulted from a series of serendipitous events. First, there was a visit in April from fifteen regional artists who attended a professional development exercise courtesy of Country Arts SA. Next, there was an unavoidable (and disappointing) cancellation of the planned November exhibition. Then, there was an approach to Country Arts SA – would those same artists be interested in an exhibition?
Firm friendships had formed during the intense three days of PD activity and the group maintained contact after returning to their respective far-flung homes.
Now, it feels like a natural conclusion to their alliance – nine of them are exhibiting in Mrs Harris’ Shop.
It was quite an ask – not a long lead time and then of course, there was the tyranny of distance to deal with.
There is a loose ‘theme’ to the exhibition: the artists were asked to provide works that reflected their environment. That makes for a pretty broad palette, as those environments range from (extreme) outback to the lushness of the green triangle in the south east of the state – and everything in between.
Cindy Durant hails from Penong on the state’s far west coast and for Rural, she has produced work that falls into three categories: kiln formed glass, printed with powdered glass, using screen printing & multiple screen compositions where the images are composed of scenes from her home near Penong and its wonderful beaches; beach inspired kiln formed glass tableware (screen printed and layered glass suitable for food service or decoration) and found object jewellery: pebbles from the beach & gathered shells.
Rachel Young is inspired by the vastness and ever changing atmosphere of the arid environment of her home in Roxby Downs. Not only do the colours, shapes and textures feature in her work – she also uses the rich gold, silver and copper mined at nearby Olympic Dam. Enjoy her sculpture, jewellery and wall pieces.
To the east and a little more into the remote outback (Is there any more remote than the likes of Roxby Downs or Penong? I hear you ask.) and Robyn Finlay is also absorbing the beauty of her environment near the tri-state border – the dirt, the colours and the life. She loves experimentation and discovery – and using recycled materials, natural dyes and homemade inks. She’s made tea bag art her own – and we are lucky enough to have two pieces in this exhibition. Pop in to see, for yourself, just what Robyn can do with a teabag, some natural pigments and even some rust – just beautiful!
Closer to the ‘big smoke’ is Gaynor Hartvigsen from Strathalbyn. Her beautiful works, featuring nearby landscapes, are in oil and wax, mixed media and acrylic, on canvas and (often recycled) board.
Not far from Gaynor, is Care Vaughan at Victor Harbor. Care loves colour – lots of it, big and bold – and this is reflected in her vibrant pieces.
Jacky Charleston hails from Younghusband – her sculptures have a distinct ‘inland’ feel. Orbs, featuring cut-outs of animals, have certainly roused curiosity and provoked lots of questions. Jacky’s keeping everyone guessing!
Back to the water, this time at Meningie, is Rosa Merlino, who recently attended a Country Arts SA workshop on cyanotypes. Three of the pieces in the exhibition are produced from Rosa’s paintings and one, from a photograph of everyone’s favourite, pelicans – and she’s given them a special touch by reproducing them as cyanotypes.
Head south, and Roz Minion from Lucindale has produced the most delightful botanical pieces in watercolour and gouache on paper. Their gorgeous colours are attracting lots of attention.
Travel even further south, to the green triangle, where Jennie Matthews from Mount Gambier has created beautiful machine-embroidered pieces. Her cheery lovebirds have an almost South American feel about them.
There’s so much to see in this wonderful exhibition – so much diversity – and it all sits together so beautifully.
Don’t miss this opportunity to see what some of South Australia’s wonderful regional artists are producing. Some of them are quite established, others feeling their way – but wherever they fit, each has produced something special that makes a visit to Rural well worthwhile.
Rural is showing until Sunday 29 November. The gallery is open on Saturdays and Sundays 11am – 3pm. Should you be in the area on a week day and would like to see the exhibition, give Jo a call on 0452 614 613 – chances are, she will be open the gallery for you.