The life of a contemporary artist in the twenty first century, just as in times gone past, requires both courage and commitment. Sydney artist Gina Bruce has taken part in the NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize, the Sulman Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW for which she was Highly Commended, and also won the Waverley Art Prize.
Gina Bruce works with a diverse selection of media to create images that capture the imagination, using ‘observational drawings, shadow studies and line sketches’ to realise her vision.
She enjoys to record her thoughts ‘en plein air’, while taking in the ever- changing Australian landscape, both the built and natural environment. When she does approach a canvas, it is with meaning and purpose.
Gina Bruce is currently showing her work in two exhibitions; one as part of an ensemble team of contemporary Australian artists entitled Jamberoo Mountain Road, which is a comment on the exuberance and abundance of nature.
Gina said about the project, “… working alongside other artis was a great experience… they were… inspiring in their stamina, work ethic and generous spirit”.
Currently on show at the Shoalhaven Regional Gallery in NSW until August 4, 2018, the artists involved were invited onto local properties to exploit the creative possibilities of “the rainforest, the mists and the magic of that particular piece of lush country which clings to edge of the escarpment rising at the Western end of the Jamberoo Valley.”
The second is a solo show at the Robin Gibson Gallery, Darlinghurst in Sydney. ‘Wherever you go, there you are’ brings together works in which ‘landscapes are real and imagined, figures drift in and out and spaces converge’.
Gina Bruce comments which is ‘… in contrast to working ‘en plein air’, working inside in a studio provides different challenges and boundaries. Paintings evolve over a longer time, the subject moves into an imagined place, the world of the mind emerges’.
The title comes from a quote from an ancient source – Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher Confucius (551 – 479 BC) who imparted a wisdom and insight into the human psyche and mindfulness that is more than impressive.
He declared in his own day he was a student of the way in the school of life.
His teachings were at the source of the values and social code of his countries developing culture, spreading out and influencing the various groups of people populating East Asia, before eventually arriving in the west.
Confucius ultimately understood how important it was for people to shape their own destinies; he believed everyone had the capacity and choice to keep learning and to continue to improve both their personal and professional endeavours even until death.
He urged others to always seek the truth and to endeavour to gain understanding through following a passionate pursuit. It was all about helping begin the process by transforming the world around you.
The silence and beauty of nature surrounding artists which was perhaps more easily in our ancient past, has been long gone. So many have down the centuries, endeavoured to capture fleeting moments in time and space in so many different ways, wonderful words like those espoused by Confucius being among them.
In today’s world sometimes our brains and psyche are bombarded with so much horror and hurt, it is more than a challenge to access inspirational processes and look at any work of art, whether from the past or of our own time, with fresh eyes.
Working inside a studio can become limiting for many artists, as is getting the balance right by working outside as well. It is certainly very important for a sensitive artist as Gina Bruce.
“The sudden gust of wind, an approaching storm, and the race against the fading light adds to the excitement” she comments. “The moving clouds are so beautiful, but you have to be quick to capture them; the subject you are looking at is forever changing. Going back to the same place, you see it each time anew” says Gina.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2018
Jun 9 – July 4, 2018
Gina Bruce, Riste Andrievsk, Ann Cape, Michelle Cawthorn, Steve Lopes, Euan Macleod, Robert Malherbe, Max Miller, Paul Ryan, Luke Sciberras, Peter Sharp, Ann Thomson, and Guy Warren
June 9 – August 4, 2018