An exhibition of paintings by Ken Knight and printmaking by Robyn Collier
27 July – 9 September, 2013 in the Octagon Artspace
A Bungendore Wood Works Gallery 30th Year Anniversary Exhibition
Bungendore Wood Works Gallery is celebrating 30 years of presenting fine arts and crafts in the Canberra and ACT Region. Coincidentally it is also 30 years since the opening of the National Gallery of Australia and Craft ACT.
What these three institutions share is an important place in the regional and national art and craft spectrums. The ACT region stretches from Bungendore in the east, to the Monaro in the south, the Brindabellas and beyond in the west, and to the northern end of Lake George. In all of that are to be found unique areas of Australian landscape, rolling rural hills and pastures, exhilarating alpine and sub alpine areas, lush, and at times harsh, valleys, forests and bushlands and pristine rivers and man-made lakes. At its heart is the nation’s capital, Canberra, a purpose built, planned city set around the perimeter of Lake Burley Griffin bearing the name of its designer.
2013 also sees Canberra celebrating the beginning of its second century.
While strictly in NSW, this Gallery has always considered itself a part of the ACT region. Having been awarded eleven ACT Tourism Awards since 1990, it appeared fitting to contribute to the celebrations.
Pairing two artists to present a balanced view of the region was a pleasant task. They needed to be committed too, and passionate about, their individual artistic values of the landscape, particularly of the ACT region, and to the Gallery’s ideology of being a place for artists “to display their works, where diversity is encouraged and fine craftsmanship essential.” Ken Knight and Robyn Collier are two such artists.
Robyn’s first exhibition here was in 1996 while Ken began exhibiting here in 2005. Both have presented works from near and far. Robyn dividing her time between Canberra and Canada over the past two decades while Ken is one of the countries most travelled artists, from his home on the eastern coastal fringe and hinterlands to the shores of the Indian Ocean in WA. Ken’s subject matter often reflects time spent in and around Bungendore, Canberra, Jindabyne and Jugiong. Robyn’s many trips to Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and Namadgi National Park ensure regional content.
It’s valuable to have two points of view, one from outside and another from inside the region. In addition, they work in different mediums. Ken’s accomplished, highly awarded and colour rich ‘en plein air’ oil based impressions of the landscape have been described as evoking “the essence of Australia.”
Robyn’s long association with the Gallery has given rise to five previous exhibitions spread over a long career in printmaking. Her ethereal and soulfully muted etchings on fine papers are an ideal contrast to the oils on board that flow from Ken’s colourful palette. The works of both artists are constantly in demand in the Gallery and both are aware of each other’s art.
“It is an obvious fact that we live in a land of contrasts. The topography, vegetation and light are very different depending on the latitude and longitude of one’s vantage point,” says Ken, an inveterate Australian wanderer.
Robyn first went to Canada in 1976. “I lived there for eleven years and then went back and forth for the next ten, enjoying a life in perpetual summer.“ Growing up on Sydney Harbour, sailing is a passion, and at times this appears in her images but her works are generally devoid of anything man-made.
A common trait is their passion for their art and their intensity of purpose in presenting their views to the public. Both are of the view that true inspiration and visual feeling can only be experienced from the outside, something that Ken quotes Arthur Boyd as terming a “pure contact with nature.”
Ken works in situ, revelling in the challenge of translating the feeling or essence of each individual landscape. “The resulting work should have sufficient strength and delicacy that reflects the intention of painting from that particular location.” Something that is more achievable, one might imagine, by standing there looking it in the eye.
By the nature of her chosen medium, printmaking, Robyn produces her finished works in the studio with a combination of metal, engraving tools, chemistry and inks heavily pressed onto paper. Robyn has drawn profusely from an early age. She sketches in the open and transposes those ideas to the metal plate, inside.
Bungendore Wood Works Gallery has much pleasure in presenting the work of two very well respected and highly accomplished Australian artists who enjoy international recognition, and provide complementary yet individual views of region.
Stan d’Argeavel MA Visual Arts (ANU)