On the 25th of June 2016 I held my very first solo exhibition at The Slingshot Bar in Fortitude Valley, and it was amazing!
My 30th birthday was approaching and I felt the need to do something different to celebrate since I had mixed feelings about this new milestone – was I scared? Did I feel ‘old’? Or was I excited to be entering into this new, proper, grown-up age, and keen to celebrate the person I’ve grown into being? Or was I thinking too much about it all together? To answer all of the questions, I figured a solo art exhibition was the best solution! It was both a distraction and a celebration of this new age, and the things I have come to learn thus far in my life – and also a good excuse to party with my amazing family and friends!
How did I decide what work to show? Well, this was a little project I have had in mind for quite some time now – ever since testing the waters with my Fogscapes collection I created for the first MIFQ group art exhibition I participated in. I got such a great response to the mixed media works, and it was such a pleasure to create, that I decided to explore the concept further.
I had always got a kick out of creating visual diaries – sourcing images that had things in common; subject matter, mood etc, then cutting, pasting and arranging them in an aesthetically pleasing way. So, to extend on this little hobby of mine, it seemed only fitting to use this experience to create some art by sourcing natural elements to arrange them in a way which suited the subject matter or mood of the image I was building off.
The series ‘Third Decade’ is a celebration of nature and a personal reflection of its impact on myself and how it provides an escape to everyday life. Having grown up on a farm and attended school in a semi-rural area, I was continuously surrounded by nature, and learned from an early age the importance of caring for and appreciating the environment. My day dreams were often inspired by forests, mountains and fog, relating them back to fairy tale books I’d read and films I’d seen. This pastime of mine has only increased with age, as I find myself more often adventuring into the great outdoors whenever I get the chance, searching for the perfect fairy tale forest.
Each image in the series has been photographed using a 35mm film camera, allowing for a more organic documentation of the natural landscapes, which also creates an other worldliness and sense of nostalgia upon viewing the images. The placement of mixed media involving leaves, flowers or moss over the photographs vary in purpose as each scene conveys a different personal meaning and experience.
For some images, the mixed media enhances the significant details and design of the natural elements featured in the image, highlighting the fragility of nature. For other images, the mixed media creates elements that weren’t physically there at all, but rather to portray a mood or feeling, or purely a figment of my imagination, referencing beloved fairy tales and stories.
The mini collection within this series featuring 3 self-portraits (which were shot using my digital camera due to convenience) are a reflection of how nature continues to aid me mentally and physically. Spending time outdoors resets my mind, releases endorphins and helps me cope with daily stress and anxiety. In short – nature is my escape.
All of the images are presented and preserved within second hand frames, ranging from vintage findings, to recycled materials for the purpose of sustainability – plus they look cool too!
“Flower Portal” (above) was the favourite of the night, which I have to agree as it’s the one I’m most proud of! The location I took the photo was like a dream – I loved how the afternoon light twinkled through the tall pine trees and there was lush, moss like grass that grew along the forest floor. When it came to deciding how to add pressed flowers to this image was tough at first, as I felt the image and it’s meaning was so special and magical, I couldn’t figure out how to best translate that, and how to enhance this feeling. After much playing around with placement, the arrangement eventually fell into place, and I realised it was almost like an explosion, or something emerging from the middle of the forest, growing and moving.
The exhibition was open to the public for a week following the opening/birthday party and was a great success – I sold all but 2 pieces, although they were quickly snatched up after the exhibition closed, which makes me so happy to know people are enjoying my work as much as I do.
I can’t wait to create more pieces and see where this new style of photography and art takes me!
To see the online gallery of this collection, click here.