The distinguished and highly respected artist and printmaker Ruth Faerber, whose work is represented at the National Art Gallery of Australia and most State Galleries, opened Diversity a group Exhibition at ME Artspace in Sydney.
Her wisdom, sense of humour, passion for art and deep knowledge of the principles of effective teaching were articulated in her opening address.
She acknowledged that she appreciated the “spirit of fraternity and community” of this group of artists.
Their artworks displayed at the ME Artspace were a testament to an artistic heritage that conveyed the power of the acceptance of difference in creativity.
The mission for the ME Artspace is as ‘a studio, gallery, and an art collective where ideas are unleashed and passions encouraged. Art is what drives us. Art is what shapes us. Me is where me becomes we.’
The Gallery is located at St Leonards, a suburb on Sydney’s lower north shore in a precinct that has a commitment to encouraging and supporting the arts within the local community.
An eclectic group of artists have created together, some for decades, under the guidance of their famed teacher Ruth Faerber, who has been an excellent mentor.
She has generously shared her incredible body of knowledge, expertise and fervour guiding these artists on their creative journeys.
The original venue for the classes was the Willoughby Art Centre Workshop, where Ruth Faerber supported and fostered the expression of individuality within the artists’ practice.
The diverse styles of the painters, sculptors and ceramicists were nurtured and refined. Although Ruth Faerber retired the group continues to meet, mentoring one another and critiquing each other’s work amid an atmosphere of mutual respect and admiration.
The Diversity Exhibition honoured the tradition of difference. The calibre of the artworks revealed highly skilled diversity and intuitive artistic sensibilities.
Vibrant colours and the contours of the tree trunks filled the compositional space of Tree 2 by Christine Tasker and created a unique arresting and stylistic artwork.
The artist invited the viewer into the intimacy of the scene, where she eloquently portrayed the very essence of the Australian bush.
The solitude of the scene was enriched by the warm tonal variations of the acrylic colours. The innovative use of hot pink was pivotal to the composition’s balance and integral to its unity.
The streaks and strokes of black etched the bark with age and the fragments of past fire damage.
They created a textual surface and coupled with the patterning effects imbued the painting with the feel of a very special place and moment in time.
Life and optimism permeated the painting. The tree trunks had a rhythmical form and the harmonious motif was reiterated in their varied vertical delineations.
Christine Tasker explored the lines forms and colours of the bush site through an abstract interpretation. Her images of the tree trunks communicated minimal visual references and succeeded in producing an artwork intensely poetic and aesthetically refreshing.
Hanna Lichti’s Winter on the Wane ingeniously depicted the cold crisp air of the polar regions where the sky and mountain fused the horizontal line.
The movement of water cascading and snowflakes tumbling was juxtaposed with the serenity of the scene. Rocky mossy cliffs were grazed with the remnants of a snow drift.
The landscape was evocatively portrayed with shadows filtering through the waters and sun beams discharging a haze that lingered.
There were compelling overtones of the famous Japanese colour woodcut of The Great Wave off Kanagawa by artist Katsushika Hokusai. The splash of water that erupted was foaming and swirling articulating visually movement and energy with a deft dexterity.
A very contrasting My Country 1 an artwork of mixed media by Hanna Lichti pulsated with the soaring and sizzling heat of the Australian landscape. Colours were saturated and golden.
Instantly the artwork resonated with the words of Dorothea Mackellar’s My Country;
“I love a sunburnt country
A land of sweeping plains,
Of rugged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.”
The layers of red earth were tinged with a range of earthy tones that expressively seized the distinctiveness of the Australian topography.
The spindly tree trunks cast rippling shadows on the surface of the raw earth.
The purple rugged mountain range of the background exposed the complexity of the environment and seethed with the wondrous nature of the location.
The purple hue was replicated more subtly in scattered pools of paint in the foreground fashioning the unity of the dramatic colour palette of the desert landscape.
Soft azure blue formed an endless sky of inexplicable charm suggesting the enormity of the land and the pristine nature of the air.
The countryside in Bernadette Ramsey’s African Inspiration – Fractures oozed with textural nuances and the timelessness of the colours of the red earth of the African panorama.
This artwork originally focused on the theme of the Masai village but evolved into a depiction of the terrain where large gnarled boulders were textured and expressed their solidarity and aged characteristics.
The vulnerability of the environment was moulded into the rock fractures and suggested the intricacy of the land formations.
Purple tones created depth, distance and perspective. Skilful brush techniques and meticulous paper layering generated the illusion of wide expanses of the ancient and huge continent.
The tree skeletons were tossed by the wind and the pattern of the paint moulded movement in the artwork.
The artwork evoked my own memories of the young Masai men red-clad and beaded performing their familiar “jumping dance.” Their fortitude was instinctively embedded in this African landscape.
In Jan Cumming’s Tea for Two, an abstract expressionistic collage, she created contradiction and intricacy in this symbolic and imaginative work.
The contrast of the oriental teapot and the bottle of wine challenged the viewers’ perception and invited reflection.
The rhythm of the patterning on the teapot was reminiscent of brain waves thinking and developing creative ideas through sensory images.
Eyes wide open and eyes shut crafted a visual metaphor for the world we live in, focusing on the pain of human suffering that we often turn a blind eye too.
There were time and travel references depicted in the layers of super imposed shapes and the feathery black ink lines and the more solid sections of black connected the work.
The Diversity Art Exhibition was a rewarding opportunity to view a variety of styles and applaud the inspiring talents of an independent and supportive group of artists.
Rose Niland, Special Features NSW, The Culture Concept Circle, 2015