About the artists
A brief introduction to the exhibiting artists, in alphabetical order with a image of their work, or a section. For a full image, see the Gallery page. More introductions will be added later.
Denise has exhibited widely with works expressing the reoccurring themes of “belonging to” nature. In her desire for a greater connection to country she studied at Tranby Aboriginal College and gave profits from her last exhibition to the an Aboriginal organisation reviving traditional hazard reduction burning methods.
Incinerate – Nature as furnace – dark skeletons against blue abyss– rising only to fall – caput mortuum sky – my practice changed to reflect dying life. I collect and respond to nature morte like my taxidermist father before me.
Born and raised in Mexico City, Lissa Barnum employs her own Mexican ex-voto' folk style tobring light to experiences brought about by the recent years of fires, floods, family loss and the
covid pandemic. Lissa's votive folk painting employs a popularised Mexican art form that uses words in graphic dialogue to give testimony and thanks for miracles received.
Living in Meroo Meadow, most images involve local and cherished flora & fauna.
Kurt Brereton works across the visual arts, performance, installation and poetry. His work engages with his immediate coastal environment of the Shoalhaven on the NSW south coast. Using multiple media layers and perspectives, Brereton stitches together an intimate archeology of images for the viewer’s close inspection. Often humorous, heartfelt and critical, his work extends like mangrove roots to draw the viewer into his landscapes.
“Made Of This” is one of a series of digital collages printed on silk, created in 2020. This one features elements from the Shoalhaven, the rock wall, the trees. ‘Made of This’ speaks of our entwinement with nature. Sometimes I feel words distance us. To me saying ‘the environment', suggests the natural world is a surround to our lives, rather like the Truman Show - yet we are made of and share similar, or the same, essences and are nothing without them.
Inspired by Tribal Art, Cubism and Graffiti, Joel creates work raw in style and refined in finish. His sculpture assemblages are compositions with depth and personality. Using a mixed media approach, Joel’s paintings express emotion with loose drawing and colour coupled with considered mark making. Joel has been a finalist in several major art prizes within Australia. He exhibits his work throughout Australia and internationally.
I work from my home, land situated on the Mongarlowe River near Braidwood. Recording the landscape and our influence on this landscape, especially in the form of birds is a way, for me, to read my place. At the end of winter, the particular ringing sound of the tiny Striated Pardalote fills the ancient remanent woodland. The opportunity to study and draw this exquisite bird in death was a beautiful, sad gift.
de Sailles, Lissa
Lissa is a Shoalhaven based multi disciplinary artist with over thirty years experience in community arts and a lifetime of acquired craft practice.
Her recent training in traditional and contemporary basketry has taken her to Ireland, England, Dubai and the USA.
Lissa is conducting a workshop during the festival called Weave Like a Bird.
Admissions of a glass animal maker
Replicating wildlife in art is impossible but in failing, one finds a greater admiration for the complexity and intelligence of life. Some of the first, age-old recipes I learned as a glassblower, were for sculpting animals. I loved making birds, dolphins, trees and koalas, and found plenty of customers. For a time I grew ashamed of the kitsch aspect but I no longer care. I feel honoured – after all, what lies behind our common interest in representing wild things? Perhaps a profound yearning for reconnection with the greater family of life.
Greene, Bonnie Porter
Bonnie Porter Greene is a multi-disclipinary creative - born, residing and creating in the Shoalhaven. She explores her love of the landscape - both built and natural, through reflective studio practise, en plein air excursions resulting in direct and honest painted memories of the landscape. Always displaying a large element of connection and concern for the environment in Bonnie’s intuitive gestural mark, she rarely fails to conjure a creative response to the landscape or events that have impacted significantly upon her.
Kim’s arts practice has developed into a passionate desire to capture the euphoric experience of immersion in the wonderful shapes and colours of our unique Australian flora. Her fascination has only been enhanced by living for an extended time in a rainforest and coastal environments
Kim works as an Arts educator in primary schools and also delivers painting workshops in the Shoalhaven. With limited time in the studio her main focus is Still life and Interiors, completed using an ‘alla prima ‘process to capture the essence of her subjects.
Wedderburn, where David lives on the rural fringe of southwest Sydney, informs his artistic practice. He sees the slow decline of species diversity in his bush environment from the push of urban development. Yet looking into the matrix of the sclerophyll forest surrounding his studio with its patterns and overlapping forms is beautiful and inspiring. Primarily a painter, he added ceramics, working with clay from his property. The sculpture in the exhibition is made by using slip cast molds, which are assembled while the clay is still soft and pliable.
The forms of nature are everything! The intricacies, complexities and interconnectedness of all living things are my inspiration. Australian flora is especially enthralling to me and I often explore the beauty of this extraordinary subject in my work.
Close observation of the intimate forms of leaves, branches and flowers, and the play of light and shadow, is central to my process. I work largely in oil paint employing traditional techniques, layering paint to create mood and atmosphere.
After being a professional Tattoo Artist Neo suffered a devastating cliff fall while bushwalking, resulting in spinal and nerve damage which rendered him unable to walk. He lost all feeling in his right arm and was unable to hold a pencil, but after years of aphysical therapy, with sheer determination, Neo relearned how to draw and paint from muscle memory. Neo has autism and prefers to communicate to the world through his art. He feels an innate connection with the animals he encounters, and has a love and passion for all animals on our planet, and their conservation. He is always trying new techniques and styles to evolve his artistry to new levels. His collection of eyes; "Windows to the Soul" focusses on the connection we all share as living beings on earth. Neo hopes to inspire his viewers to see that all creatures deserve our love, kindness and respect.
Nicole is an artist who pots and paints from her home studio. Living in the Shoalhaven, Nicole’s art works are informed by the environment around her and often depict elements of coastal landscapes. For many years Nicole has been a volunteer with the South Coast shorebird recovery program. This program aims to protect vulnerable and endangered shore and sea birds. These birds and their environment often appear in her art work.
Originally from Vancouver, I now reside in the Shoalhaven working in paint, mixed media and ceramics. I spent 30 years as a wildlife rescuer, carer and trainer with WIRES and WRSC. After the Shoalhaven bushfires I put out food and water for displaced wildlife, for many weeks in Kangaroo Valley, a place I’d lived for 18 years. A profound sadness and loss I felt, and the burnt banksias, red sap, embers and ash, inspired me to paint a series.
“I wanted to paint endangered or vulnerable species of orchid from the Shoalhaven and decided to focus on rare orchids. i was shocked to discover just how many different varieties of orchid there are and so many rare or endangered.” Kerrie has consistently exhibited work in Australia and overseas since the early eighties and is represented in many major collections, including those of Parliament House and Bundanon.
Mc Cue, Jules
"In my work I aim to capture the essence of my subjects with no rules or limitations. To me, finding the magic or ambiguity of the elusive or ineffable, is more important than imitating nature. I enjoy the intersecting of playful, symbolic, formal and expressive forms. I reflect during the long process of building a picture; these are pictures not images."
Reg Mombassa is an artist and musician. Previously a member of Mental as Anything and currently playing with Dog Trumpet and The Pinks. He has exhibited paintings, drawings and prints with a variety of galleries here and overseas since 1969. He has worked as a freelance artist for the surf wear label Mambo from 1986 to the present day and has designed graphic images for a variety of uses.
The koala wearing a suicide belt peers anxiously from its lair in the aperture of a gum trunk in the Leura Swamp. The koala is planning to sacrifice its own life but hoping to also remove some of the humans who are actively working to destroy the homes and habitats of its fellow creatures by bush clearances and industrial pollution. The koala has a look of sad resignation on its face as it mournfully contemplates the death of millions of animals and insects in the devastating bushfires of early 2020.
"I’ve lived in the Shoalhaven for quite a while now artistically exploring various fascinations including patterns, layers, cycles, natural phenomena, dreams, the human need to create order, and the intersection between nature & culture."
Helen studied art at the National Art School (Dip. Art Ed.) She is best known locally for her collagraph prints & paintings. She is currently bringing digital technology & commercial processes into her practice. “In This Together” images on perspex is a series exploring our interdependence with fellow inhabitants of our environment in a local wetland at Bhewerre and is also a playful speculation on evolution. “Helen’s work often evokes an imaginative world that is at once domestic & familiar, yet can also be exotic & otherworldly.… devotion to drawing the figure is both the core of her art & a liberating tool that allows her an enormous expressive freedom.” Dr. Michael Beare
"My practice involves responding to my environment and experimentally exploring issues of memory,loss, shelter and joy. One series is imaginative representations of sea creatures as reefs or havens or places of play."
In my landscapes near Robertson in the Southern Highlands, I found interesting the abundance of diverse foliage and energy within the wet and the many toned greens. I am in awe of the pulse of growth and changing shades of the inner landscapes. When I paint, I see the trees and the vines unquenchable yearning and need for the sun. I’ve tried to portray this movement and energy with colour like a musical conductors' gestures through the air with a brush.
Mary Preece is an artist and arts educator working at Bundanon Trust. Inspired by exploration of bushland and investigation of flora of the NSW South Coast, her practice focuses on fibre arts, drawing and printmaking.
A banksia bent by the wind behind the magical Nth Era beach in the Royal National Park has a visit from a little willy wagtail. She came and played in the banksia while I sat working on this painting. This beach is in the Royal National Park just south of Sydney and while it is in the middle of a national park it has a problem with rubbish due to the prevailing currents. A dedicated group of locals and myself regularly clean it up.
These works are dedicated specifically to the Greater Glider and the Glossy Black Cockatoo but are also made in honour of all the vulnerable and endangered animals on the earth, as the end of each unique species is a step closer to the end of the human species...
Symbolic use of mixed media is used to create dream imagery for soul knowledge.
Ceramics and mixed media assemblage. 2022
Fiona Roderick is originally from the UK and started her artistic career as a printmaker. After years of creating lino prints, Fiona began recycling her prints and creating Australian Native birds by the technique of collage . This has now led to putting her designs on cards and tea towels, and creating an annual calendar. https://fionaroderick.com/
Penny’s personal practise comes from a place of reciprocity with the earth, sculpting, drawing & creating with & for the environment. Penny currently works at the artists collective: SHAC, in Robertson and was one of the founding partners of “Cloth”, a Sydney based bespoke textile business begun in the 1990’s, that produced hand printed, dyed and constructed textiles for the furnishing and fashion industries.
My art journey is a thread that has wound its way through my entire life, involving diverse forms of creativity used to explore the natural world and the human experience of it. A path that has explored both built environments, wilderness and the cultural responses of many societies to the world that surrounds them. I continue to explore this dichotomy in my art practice.
Kerrina Swords is a long-time resident of Shoalhaven Heads involved in local eco-projects; such as Bomaderry Regional Park, Illowra Wetland and Rainforest Reserve regeneration. The wetland is home to a large flying fox colony. She attended art school at Wollongong TAFE, and later became a primary school teacher, often basing art lessons on nature. She now is able to focus full-time on her art practice. Her photographs were near Shoalhaven Heads, a wonderful bird sanctuary.