Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Collectibles IV at SGAR

'Rich and Rare'  ©2014, Nicola Moss. Courtesy of SGAR.

Spiro | Grace Art Rooms would like to invite you to celebrate the year past and the year to come with Christmas cocktails on Saturday, December 6 at 5pm. 'Collectibles IV' will feature a selection of artists from 2014 and will see the introduction of their 2015 program. The exhibition marks their fifth year of operation and the end of the second year in a beautiful architecturally designed project space.

Exhibiting artists include Sue Beyer, Charles Robb, Svenja Kratz, Simon Degroot, Megan Cope, Sophie Bottomley, Franz Ehmann, Camille Serisier, Simone Eisler, Michelle Eskola and Jan Van Dijk, Gerwyn Davies and myself.

'Rich and Rare' pictured above is one of three new hand cut paperworks I have in the group exhibition. Themes of city and nature are evident in the works, incorporating inspiration from our travel to Japan this year where I bought some beautiful papers. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Your favourite tree?

Having an open studio during my residency at Grafton Regional Gallery invited many informal conversations with visitors. I would inevitably ask them about their favourite tree in Grafton. There were some clear stand outs, in particular the large White Fig (Ficus virens) on the corner of Prince and Victoria Streets. Planted around 1880 this giant of a tree reaches well across the width of Grafton's extra wide streets casting cool shade under its green umbrella. The camera doesn't really capture its scale.

Jacaranda's, naturally, had several mentions, sometimes a particular tree that stood more alone was distinguished. And then there were comments on Silky Oak and Flame trees, along with the large row of figs on Breimba Street, another cool shady green sanctuary. I was stopped in the street and asked what the Tulipwood trees were, perhaps photographing trees gave away my interest.
When I first arrived in Grafton the Tabebuia were in full flower with bells of golden yellow filling the branches and making carpets below. By the time my residency ended the Poinciana trees were bursting with new leaf and flowers just emerging.

In the last week I photographed several Lacebark trees along Bacon Street, they were a standout for me, I just love the form of the tree with it's pink bell flowers. And one other curious tree will remain memorable, not so much because of its species, paperbark, more for the two metre cloak of nature strip grass which it wore.

There is one more tree I'd like to mention, a rare species in cultivation, the White Lace Flower (Archidendron hendersonii) on Duke Street, had its beautiful puffball flowers on display. These are only a selection of the street trees I saw in flower. Do you have a favourite?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Out of the studio

I had a great day on Tuesday when I joined local artist Sue Harris, who invited me to go with her, on an outing to see fauna survey work in a local reserve. We met with a ranger and two ecologists on site to see what had been caught in the traps set overnight. Seeing the wildlife up-close was fantastic. Each animal was handled so delicately during its identification for the survey. The landscape was beautiful with sandstone ridges, grass trees and a rock-bed creek of interspersed pools. We heard frog croak and saw various burrows, along with a couple of lace monitor. It's not often that I would have an opportunity to join in an outing like this, not just to see the scientific work that is being undertaken, but also to partake in the conversation that occur around subjects of environment.
Thank you Sue, it was so good!


During my residency I've enjoyed spending time walking around the streets of Grafton photographing elements of the natural and built environment. I've noticed many trees have outgrown their initial curb or ground enclosure. Some tree roots sprawl across bitumen, rippling the ground surface, while co-occupying or competing with parking space. I find the edge of environments interesting, the place where two different zones cross over, in permaculture this zone is an area of higher diversity. In a street scape I imagine it could be a place where values are weighed up - the tree or the carpark?

Monday, November 3, 2014

In the studio

Work is starting to come together on the wall of the studio at Grafton Regional Gallery. I'm at the end of week three in my residency, with one week to go. It's always interesting to be somewhere you don't know and experience the place and community - I think of it as being a sense of 'fresh eyes'. Nothing is that familiar so I tend to see everything equally, so to speak. Four weeks is a good length of time to get a feel for a place, I can't 'know' it, but connections and ideas develop, often unexpectedly.
Sound is something that has put me outside of my comfort zone during the residency. Before I came I was thinking of Grafton as being in regional Australia, a country town, and hadn't quite grasped the suburban town-ness of being in an apartment on Fitzroy Street. Where I live and work on the Gold Coast is very quiet, silence is a common experience during my days there. I hadn't realised how much of a sanctuary that place is, removed really from a lot of the day to day activities of community. Grafton has ignited many thoughts about community, participation, and what it means to live in town. I won't miss the street sweeper at 4.30am every morning, but I am aware of being far more engaged with community life and its emotions. Plenty for me to contemplate....this has been in part a 'fresh ears' experience.

I would like to Thank very much Grafton Regional Art Gallery for supporting my artist residency, with generous funding from Arts NSW. The residency has been a unique experience, I'm looking forward to the next week.

Grafton Ecology

The collection of vegetation, seeds and flowers continues to grow in the studio space. Making interesting reference material for work in progress, along with a few tools for mark making.

Silk postcards

A little follow up on the historic needlework cards I saw last week. I was looking at the Australian War Memorial website and found they have a substantial collection of the needlework, which were embroidered on silk as postcards, peaking in popularity during the First World War. They were mostly hand embroidered by French women in their homes and sent to factories for cutting and mounting as postcards. Sent home to loved ones, I can imagine the messages avoided speaking about the realities of war.