Hymns to a Passion: Gabrielle Jones

1 September to 20 October 2019

“If you work with abstract painting for a period of time, you may come to think of it as a melody, a song, a piece of beautiful music”- Judi Betts.

Gabrielle Jones revels in the joy that art-making has brought to many an artist and observer throughout the course of history. Jones contorts colour until it becomes tangible, moving harmoniously with music one can only wish to hear. Her practice of abstract expressionism is rooted in the skilful application of paint that depicts more than just an object but something from within. An exploration of how oil and acrylic react to movement has given rise to a body of works that unify method and chaos, drawing the viewer’s eyes back and forth through progressions of colour and form. The presence of the artist is always evident in Jones’s work. She has sought to personalise abstraction by emphasising the paint brush as an extension of her hand, a stream of pure consciousness flowing from the artist onto the canvas.

“There is a freedom and ease in these new paintings. I’ve broken down all the “shoulds” and barriers and just painted and painted […] I have tried to remain curious, responded to the work, and relaxed. I’m exploring what paint does - trying to push my repertoire and skills and get out of my own way” - Gabrielle Jones.

The works unfold themselves to the viewer in a flirtatious push and pull. The more you stare the more they will reveal. The velvety glide of Seduction (2019) enthrals with its languid strokes - What could be hidden in that dark centre? Passion (2019) contains a flurry of oranges and deep reds; the motion of the pigment creates a haze suggestive of overwhelming elation. The paintings are somehow as tactile as much as they are visual. One can feel the surface of each work, sense the texture, without even having touched them.

Music is fundamental to Jones’s practice, each artwork containing its own choreographed dance. The performance element of mark making sits at the very heart of her current body of work Hymns to a Passion. The moment of creation is fleeting, but the energy captured in these paintings lives on.

Jones speaks of her practice as being in a transitional phase. Reflecting on her past work, this burgeoning transformation becomes apparent. The layered brush strokes and riot of colour yields a luminosity developed through many washes of paint. It engenders a sense of something that won’t be contained. This sensation is exemplified in Inner Voice (Mother Love) in which a luscious, fluid form, akin to a growing organism that will soon blanket its jagged environment, moves across the canvas. The painting epitomises Jones’s current body of work where emotional intensity, viewer interpretation and the physical act of painting merge on the canvas. Jones herself perhaps offers up the best manner in which to frame these works:

“In the end, the work is a call to the viewer to enter into the poetry and reality of making art, to collect their mental and sensual responses to the different works - to understand, enhance or orchestrate their sense of what it is to make art and specifically, poetic abstract art”.

Australian Art from the 1960’s: Max Watters Collection

1 September to 20 October 2019

.Artwork: Stephen Earle, View 1969, acrylic on canvas, 201.5 x 200cm, Max Watters Collection.


Saplings: The Trees Around Us

1 September to 20 October 2019

Goodstart Early Learning Muswellbrook

Artwork: Genevieve, aged 5

After we had received an invitation for our very own exhibition, we began discussing what theme we could have for our display. There were many suggestions such as buildings, flowers, people, birds and trees. Together as a class we decided that because birds nest in trees and they can have flowers, trees would be a great focus for us.

We started our project discussing all the different parts of a tree such as the roots, the bark, the trunk, the branches and the leaves. The children identified that not all leaves looked the same and this was due to different species. Looking at images of trees, the children were able to name a few - mostly fruit trees.

A teacher in our centre brought in bark that had fallen off a tree at her house and we investigated it closely, describing what it looked like, smelt like, felt like and what tree it may have come from. Some of the children identified that it looked “a little bit spiky” and had “little holes and cracks”. It felt “rough on one side but the other side was smooth”. “Fire”, “wood”, “chocolate” and “cinnamon” were some of the smells we recognised.

As we continued our investigation, Mick, Tracey and Gean from Muswellbrook Shire Council came to our centre on National Tree Day to speak to us about the importance of trees and how we care for them. Mick drew some pictures for us and showed us the different sizes of trees. He even brought in some branches where we looked at the different leaves and identified some species.

While celebrating tree day, we went for a walk to Karoola Dog Park to explore the trees that we were lucky enough to plant last year. We discovered many different species and took photographs to bring back to our centre and discuss with friends who couldn’t attend our excursion. We printed these photos and made a book from them for us to refer to when we were completing our artworks.

During all our excursions the children were on the lookout for all the different kinds of trees we could see. We even saw one with the roots sticking out of the ground!

During the process of creating our canvas works, each child was asked what materials they would like to make their artwork with. Some children wanted to paint their trees while others wanted to draw with pencils and Textas. There were many pictures of trees around our room, including trees in different seasons. The children used the book we had made and photographs from our excursion. We even had some bark left over and the children could feel the texture to assist their creativity.

Each child added their own unique aspect into their painting, including, ‘a tree that was melting in lava’, ‘a tree with some flowers growing in spring’, ‘leaves that have seeds on them’, ‘old trees with no leaves’ and even some ‘trees in the rain’.

We have had a great time doing our investigation and exploring all the different trees in our environment. As the seasons change we will continue to look at and discuss the natural changes of the trees around us.

Odyssey: 8 Artists Artwork

1 September to 20 October 2019

 Janice Hanicar, Morning Light 2019.