Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Q5 Artists Interview: Chiquita for International Women's Day 2014

International Women's Day Exhibition 2014

This month our exhibition is 'Chiquita' curated by Kirstie Irwin -  celebrating International Women's Day and showcasing sublime art from Australia and overseas.  In this post we meet two of the contributing artists Maria ReynoldsPeggy Walker and Aleksandra Dimitrijevic: learn about their art and what inspired it.

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Installation Day 8th March 2014.
Maria Reynolds

Q1 Tell us about yourself.
I started painting three years ago after a stroke. Because of the side effects of the stroke I could not work. A friend of mine suggested going to an art class as a kind of therapy.
I entered my very first painting in the Cairns show, and it sold! It was there I met an artist called Di Sante. She asked me to bring some of my work to her gallery, the Red Chair. I was so scared, I had never done anything for myself before. Di gave me lots of encouragement and slowly I stared to get some confidence in my work and my ability.
I am now a member of Cairns Art Society and sit on the committee. I have works in two galleries and this year entered into the Artist of the North Exhibition. I have had a number of commissions, some of which have been overseas.
Q2 Please describe the art you have in the exhibition.
The piece I have put into the exhibition is from a place in New South Wales. I love buildings. I like things with straight lines so buildings are great for me to paint. I suppose it’s a control thing.  I love the peace that this place has. And I also like the contradiction in that the windmill and buildings look very European and then you realise that there is a magpie sitting on the fence, very Australian. I look at this scene and want to go there.
Q3 What inspired you when creating it?
My inspiration comes from anything that really talks to me. I can look at many things but it has to really grab me before I can start to paint it. This scene did that. . I suppose really the painting describes me in a way. I left Australia at fifteen and lived in Europe, I now am back home but with an English accent. So I sound European but I'm very much Australian. Think this painting describes my journey as a woman. The bird is me. Art has given me the wings to fly and do whatever I want no matter how difficult. The fence is my stroke, it contained me for a while but my wings took me on my new journey as an artist.
Q4 What is your favourite part of making art?
My favourite part of making art is the freedom it gives me as a woman. Women are still held back in many occupations, the work place is still very much a man’s world. Art is totally equal and this gives me the same opportunities as men. People look at the talent and not the gender. I get totally absorbed when I'm painting. I can start at eight in the morning and then look at the clock and its tea time! I can tell stories with my work too and that means a lot to me. The best feeling in the world is when someone else gets what it is your trying to say, it’s not important but such a buzz when they do.
Q5 Who are your favourite artists?
I have several favourite artists. Two local artists I love are Di Sant and Greg Dwyer. There work is very different and appeals to me in very different ways. Di is very loose in her style and Greg is very precise and more like how I would like to paint. My favourite world known artist is Goya. I  think he taps into my dark side, everyone has one and I think it’s important to embrace that. His work is challenging to look at but speaks volumes. A lot of his darker work came from his period of deep depression.  Suzanne Valadon is another of my favourites. She was the first woman of the time to paint women nude, absurdly as a woman it was not the done thing. She had a bad start to life and had many challenges. She modelled for Toulouse-Lautrec and he taught her how to paint. She became the first woman painter admitted to the National Society of  Beautiful Arts.  A massive achievement. I love the impressionistic period and her work is some of the best in my opinion.


Peggy Walker

Q1 Tell us about yourself.

Born in Holland, raised in Brisbane and now based in Cairns. I am largely a self taught artist. Although 30 years ago I studied art at TAFE in Brisbane and over the past two and a half years I have been studying art locally to develop my style. I am also a wife and a mother of three adult daughters. I had a benign meningioma removed three years ago after which I contracted meningitis. I still have a smaller acoustic neuroma tumor that for the moment is inoperable. So life for me has taken on a whole new meaning. I wake up every morning glad to still be here.

Q2 Please describe the art you have in the exhibition.

My passion is everything "Africa" from the people through to the wildlife. I have a strong attention to detail.

Q3 What inspired you when creating it?

I am completely captivated by animals and eyes.

Q4 What is your favourite part of making art?

I am able to find an escape from my health concerns when I paint. I use art as therapy. It takes me to a whole other world. I love the end result and its almost as if the eyes are speaking to me when the painting is done.

Q5 Who are your favourite artists?

I have to say Gary Fleming, Collin Bogle and David Stribbling for their Wildlife Work, but also Wyland for his stunning Marine Life paintings. I was fortunate enough to go to the USA in 2007 and visit his art gallery.

Aleksandra Dimitrijevic

Q1 Tell us about yourself

My artistic life began in 1992 when I began to study Faculty of Fine Art on University of Arts in Belgrade, Serbia. At first I was interested in old technique of drawing with ink and graphic technique, lithography. From 1998. until 2009. I worked on various installations with light, graphics and photographys. In my free time I was engaged in the design, I make storyboards, graphic sign , scenography, magazines... That was a way how I could afford to provide materials that I needed for my artwork. I like people who believe in the magic of life, who always have a hope and dont know to hate, who love music and good taste of food, who have a open heart. I don't like lies and hypocrisy. 

Q2 Please describe the art you have in the exhibition

Lightening cubes are a part of my multimedia exhibition 'Diary of Captain's Wife' from 2009. 

Using photographs, (I made in the period 2001-2008) I visualize the emotions of passion (lips), happiness (female figure skater) and expectation (night light and toys). 

While lips are an explicit tale of passion ( I sing a famous Spanish love song while taking photographs as I want to show movement of the mouth). A night light and toys wake up my memories from childhood, these are the times when we have the biggest expectation and that stays with us no matter how old we are. Happiness has the most personal character, presented in the form of a female figure skater. Success and fulfillment deservedly come as an award for patience and perseverance. Having faith that the outcome will surely bring happiness. 

I feel connected to the poetry of Sergei Yesenin therefore I related it to the emotions. The secret messages are hidden within each of the boxes and can only be viewed on the mirror positioned below each box.

I chose the cube, because it is a symbol of shape, persistence, work, perfection, wisdom, truth, as well as fate, happiness, risk, and finally as a metaphor of the screen and urban unit in general. This proves to be in this case, the best possible choice.

Q3 What inspirated you when creating it?

I am very attracted to music, sky, ocean, city, night, lights on the street.  Love expression in art. I try to describe the emotional state with the richness of line, form, color and pastiness. 

Q4 What is your favorite part of making art?
Definitely beginning, when I bild composition on a format, and when bringing painting to the last stage. 

Q5 who are you favorite artist?

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
'Chiquita' ran from 8th March to April 4th, 2014 at 109 Lake Street, Cairns.  Pedestrian access is available and the renovations in front of the gallery are almost over.  You can also see more installation images at our website www.cellartspace.com/#!march-2014/c1zx5

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