Katherine Boland - Near & Far Exhibition
In 1961 at the age of four I emigrated from the United Kingdom to Australia with my parents and younger sister. We arrived in Melbourne and eventually settled on the Gippsland Lakes in south east Victoria.
Ten years later we made the dramatic move back to England and then to Spain.
On returning to Australia I enrolled at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology to undertake a degree in Graphic Art and Design.
It was the 70's and being young and idealistic my partner and I decided to reject the materialistic values of the city and somewhat naively embrace a life of 'self sufficiency' in the country. After travelling and searching over much of Australia we settled at last on the Far South Coast of New South Wales on 50 hectares of bushland.
We built a house and outbuildings using mud, stone and timber. We cleared land, put in roads, dug dams and fenced paddocks. I milked goats to make cheese and yoghurt, spun wool to weave material for clothes and ground wheat to make flour for bread. I bottled, juiced, jammed and dried the staggering amount of fruit and vegetables I grew. For many years there was no electricity or running hot water. A challenge with a baby. The work was relentless and there was neither the time nor energy to pursue artistic interests. But the desire to paint again was strong and eventually, although tentatively, I was able to return to the passion that had laid dormant for so long.
In 2002, thrust into a completely different life in Melbourne I began painting full time. The first exhibition to utilize burning on timber panels was entitled 'On Fire' and was produced as a response to the traumatic end of my 27 year marriage and to a growing interest in Buddhist philosophy.
'As in most civilizations from ancient times till now fire occupies a special place in Buddhism. A fundamental emblematic element, an unavoidable step on the path of knowledge, an integral part of offering because it is both heat and light. Fire symbolizes above all purification and the flame of impermanence in development and change.'
For many of us in this country, fire and the duality of it's role as a destructive force or a useful servant has become a part of our lives; it's unpredictable presence burnt into the Australian psyche. For me the physical process of burning the timber simulates an act of nature.
Since the 'On Fire' series I have continued to scorch and burn into timber using a blow torch and pyrographic equipment. I also incorporate engraving and chiseling of the wood support.
On a recent six month studio residency in central Italy I used European veneers such as walnut,oak, cherry, elm, ash and chestnut to create a body of work, 'Campagna', which was a response to the Italian countryside and the changing seasons.
This current series, 'Near & Far' is a homecoming celebration of the Australian landscape. It presents two perspectives – close range and distant view. I have burnt, engraved and painted on Tasmanian veneers such as stringbark, blackwood and silver wattle. The grain and texture of these beautiful timbers enhance the sense of the natural environment which has been and will remain a constant source of inspiration. Katherine BOLAND 2006
Innovative Contemporary Abstract landscape paintings
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