To Rest on Far Sands

To Rest on Far Sands

After months of preparation, I’m thrilled to announce my next solo exhibition To Rest on Far Sands, opening at Koort Gallery, Subiaco in October! Koort Gallery is a brand new gallery space located above antique showroom, Cleo Collects, in a beautiful heritage building on Hay Street. It’s an honour to be working with Brontë, the owner of Cleo Collects and Koort Gallery to activate this new space and showcase To Rest on Far Sands in a stunning environment.

 

To Rest on Far Sands is a collection of 19 oil paintings that consider the psychology of landscapes through a contemplation of arctic, isolated views. The collection was born out of my solo travel to Iceland last year, but it’s imbued with so much more than just the likeness of these landscapes. To Rest on Far Sands has evolved from not only the career experience I’ve gained since my first solo exhibition, We Prepare a Face, in 2020, but the period of tension that undercut it while we all navigated the pandemic. When I arrived in England on my way to Iceland last year, it was the first time leaving Australia in almost 4 years. As a migrant with strong cultural and familial ties to my heritage in the UK, I had been longing for that reconnection with home soil. Hearing English voices, seeing English number plates, walking through the forested undergrowth among trees I had played in as a child – I felt like how an animal must feel when it’s finally released back into the wild! After years of uncertainty and isolation, amplified by our location here in Perth, finally leaving it was akin to experiencing my homeland for the first time all over again, with a deep sense of knowing that that is where I’m from. So, when I arrived in Iceland a couple of weeks later, the experience was even more intense. I have no Icelandic ancestry, so it’s not that that drew me there, it’s that Iceland is, quite literally, the polar opposite to Perth. It’s this contrast in environment that I was seeking. Everything was in HD - soil in colours I’d never seen before, wind a strength I’d never felt before, air a freshness I’d never tasted before – it was foreign, but its strangeness, isolation and sublime force of its landscape was refreshing, forcing a sense of clarity and surrender that I had been longing for following a time of intense stress, anxiety, turmoil and grief.

 

When I returned home to Perth, I spent a whole month with no aim other than to just make as much art as I could from the photos and memories I’d collected. I experimented with scale, composition and colour, creating over 50 paintings, sketches and studies. It was just as healing as being back in the environment I was painting, because with each painting I was transported back to the location and feeling that I was capturing. The public got a sneak peek of the behind the scenes in April when I had my first open studio weekend, and shortly after I got the good news that The Blackbird Foundation would be funding my project. Since then, I have been resolving a small body pared down to 19 works for display at Koort Gallery next month.

 

The Blackbird Foundation funded this as a “Passion Project,” and although I’m lucky enough to call fine art my job, To Rest on Far Sands is absolutely something born out of my heart and soul. I’ve created this work as a reflection on my personal experience with isolation and my relationship with the landscapes I occupy. It’s a meditation on existence, the sublime and the freedom of surrendering to it all. The privilege of exhibiting this work is an enormous bonus to the joy it has been to create it. Through the relationship between artwork and viewer, the narrative of the collection will finally come to life.  I believe artwork can only reach a certain level of resolution when it’s alone in the studio – it’s through the interpretation of viewers and the sharing of ideas that it becomes embellished with an aura that characterises the nature of its meaning and value. I love my work for what it represents for me at this seminal point in my career and life, but I’ll love it even more once it has been filtered through the interpretations of my audience. I hope you will love it too. 

I can’t wait to welcome you to Koort Gallery for the exhibition season of To Rest on Far Sands between October 27th – November 12th! The opening night celebration will take place on October 27th from 6pm, attendance is free and you’re all invited! Expect, art, wine, music and everything in between. Please RSVP here, however, please be aware that an RSVP does not guarantee a spot as once we reach capacity there may be a wait to access the gallery.

There’ll also be several events happening during the exhibition season, including an artist talk on November 2nd and a return of an Under The Moon Paint and Sip night on November 9th! Stay tuned for more information on these in the coming weeks.

 

I’ll see you all very soon at Koort Gallery,

Melissa

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