We’ve hit the ground running this year and there is already so much exciting stuff going on out there, and behind the scenes here. We’ve been madly curating the first few months of exciting features for you, talking to some mad artists, setting up creative challenges and tying it all together with one hell of a bow. And we are excited to finally announce our official blog launch!

Our regular posts and podcasts will all begin on Monday 29th February, get in and subscribe to the newsletter now, so you won’t miss a thing!

Before you groan… “We have to wait another month?” We have a little sneak peak of stuff going on locally in February to share, just to whet your appetites.

 

With a background in textile and design, OmiLee, a local emerging artist, has a unique style that transforms acrylic into textiles, plays with colour and abstraction, bringing refreshing depth and dynamism to local art culture.

Since making the decision to practice her art full time in 2010, she confesses it wasn’t until 2013 that she really came into her style with the palette knife, and by early 2014 she began work on creating pieces to complete two artist residencies, a solo exhibition in Helsinki, Finland and another in Logan. To avoid the excessive costs of transporting large artworks overseas, she began working on a much smaller scale, exploring new ways of manipulating her preferred medium, acrylic.

“Ever since I started painting, I had been collecting the dried skins of paint from my palettes and hoarding them for some unknown project down the track. I could see they had unexplored potential, and as most good things do, it just fell into place that this project was the right time and reason to experiment with them. It began with cutting and collaging skins to make images, then moved onto painting imagery within the skins and from there the sculptures formed.”

And she created a 30 piece exhibit, entitled ‘Exchange’ that fit in one suitcase: 24 skin paintings attached to paper, 3 framed, 1 collage and 2 sculptures.

OmiLee uses acrylic skins to create sculpture

OmiLee uses acrylic skins to create sculpture

During her 6 week residency, OmiLee made time to discover and be inspired by Finnish art and explored new methods of creating. Admitting that “my professional and personal growth far exceeded my proposed outcomes.”

It is clear to us that OmiLee embodies the very elements that make up a good artist: The ability and confidence to push yourself, to be open minded, the ability to keep trying new things and… patience!

Even before leaving for Finland, OmiLee spent years experimenting with paint and media before she came into her signature style and even now, the use of acrylic skins can be a long process, taking up to 200 days to create a single sculpture.

“I am the kind of person who believes in the long-learning route, rather than the shortcut…” OmiLee.

Spark of Life - acrylic on canvas using her palette knife style

Spark of Life – acrylic on canvas using her palette knife technique

OmiLee’s work will be on display at the Able Gallery in Loganlea until 24th February and we sincerely recommend checking it out.

 

Another artist that embodies these key elements and is influenced by our landscape is Dr Merri Randell.

Merri is a digital artist who has a current exhibition at the Logan Art Gallery featuring some of her work from her recent Logan BushCare residency. Her works are predominantly audio-visual installations, animating images of local bush land to create an exaggerated experience of the vegetation and wildlife. The animation is subtle, but effective in mythologising the trees themselves. Instead of the usual photography where we typically see branches and leaves sweep romantically against the blue above, her images focus on the depths of the bush, the tangled roots, the grassy undergrowth. Highlighting the importance of viewing our landscape as a whole, bringing the viewers’ attention to the natural and sometimes chaotic and disgusting mechanisms that make up the entire ecosystem.

Merri uses animation and exaggerated sounds to make her pieces come alive

Merri uses animation and exaggerated sounds to make her pieces come alive

 

“I celebrate diversity by creating worlds full of beautiful, hybrid monstrosities that seduce, beguile and disturb… Maybe if mainstreamers can appreciate the reality of my monstrous trees, they might appreciate other things outside the norm – that these trees, places, people or cultures have value.”

It is easy to see her influences in her work. Her love of trees and the need to protect them. Her love of visual mediums, including dark cinema such as ‘Videodrome,’  (Cronenburg 1983) and shocking sculptures such as those from Sarah Lucas. Her work has an element of something wildly different and it excites and disturbs me.

The roots of the trees almost look and sound as if they are straws, sucking up water and nutrients...

The roots of the trees almost look and sound as if they are straws, sucking up water and nutrients…

There is no doubt that Merri’s work is effective in generating discussion about our surrounding environment. In our hectic, mainstream society we often take for granted everything that is going on around us. We recommend getting over to the Logan Art Gallery and checking out her work until the 20th February. You can watch them online at merrirandell.com but experiencing her installations in person are really worth the effort.

Uncanny Nature Exhibition - Logan Art Gallery

Uncanny Nature Exhibition – Logan Art Gallery

 

 

If you’d like more information about OmiLee you can visit her Facebook , Instragram and Tumblr pages.

Or find Merri at merrirandell.com or on Logan Bush Care residency page.

 

Ali.x

Written by AlisonStrachan