PRESS RELEASE: AUSTRALIAN ARTIST EXHIBITS IN SWITZERLAND

AWARD WINNING AUSTRALIAN HUNTER VALLEY ARTIST PAINTS ‘VARIOUS SAINTS AND STORMS’ AND EXHIBITS HER ARTWORK IN VALANGIN, SWITZERLAND

 VALANGIN (NEUCHATEL) 23/8/16

Painting en plein air in Tuscany June 2016

Following her artist-in-residence in Tuscany, Rebecca Rath shows her stunning, captivating landscapes in Gallery Belimage in Valangin. The beautiful and the foreboding that is present in her paintings direct the viewer to contemplate Nature Sublime in all its facets.

There’s a connection between man and nature, present at all times yet often unseen. Rath paints her landscapes with the express purpose of creating an awareness of this connection. Unique in style, yet reminiscent of the works of Turner, Constable, but also of writers such as Shelley, Keats, and Muir, Rath’s aim is not just to show a ‘pretty picture’, but to create a specific experience in the viewer.

 Says Rath:

"The modern discourse between religion and scientific exploration has all but blinded man to the innate and inherent connection we all have with nature. It’s as if all our knowing and understanding has made us forget that we are all an integral part of nature and existence.

 If my paintings are often dramatic or foreboding, just the way the sky looks before or during a storm, it’s because I wish for the viewer to experience that same intensity I see. I want the viewer to take a moment and reflect both on the minuteness of being human, as well as on the fact that being human is a marvellous and awe-inspiring reality."

With her exhibition ‘Various Storms and Saints’, Rath hopes to inspire viewers to reflect on how, despite modern life, in essence very little has changed. Nature Sublime still affects us, shares its beauty with us, and should not be taken for granted.

 Rath holds a Bachelor Fine Arts Honours, COFA UNSW. Winner of many awards in Australia and internationally for her photography, drawing and painting, she has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Australia. Her work has also been exhibited in Italy, the USA and Hong Kong and features in many public and private collections. The exhibition at Gallery Belimage in Valangin is the first opportunity for Swiss art-lovers to experience her breathtaking work in real life.

 She lives with her family on a vineyard in Pokolbin, NSW, Australia. While an academic with a strong philosophical bent, she’s also a down-to-earth person who wants nothing more than for others to experience the joy of art and nature.

Nature Sublime, soft pastel on Fabriano paper, 56 x 76 cm image size

The exhibition in Valangin runs from August 10 -  September 4. The gallery hours are Wednesday - Sunday, 15.00 to 18.00. On view are her most recent works, made this June in Tuscany plus previous work created on her vineyard in Australia. Art lovers looking to experience the effect of inspired meaningful art are cordially invited take this unique opportunity to visit the gallery and, hopefully reconnect with nature the way Ms. Rath wishes.

 For more information about the exhibition, contact the gallery’s director Ms. Vetterli by way of the details provided below.

 For interviews, images or further insight into Ms. Rath’s art, please contact her directly at hello@rebeccarath.com.au or view her website www.rebeccarath.com.au

Françoise Vetterli
Director, GALERIE BELIMAGE
Place de la Collégiale 2, 2042 Valangin, Switzerland
www.belimage.ch  info@belimage.ch
032 753 09 74/ 032 504 20 42

What are values in painting?

In my last post I asked the question: What is a good painting? I didn’t speak about the technical points of painting and drawing-  composition, value, colour, mark making - as I personally feel the intent of the work is paramount.

Yet, like a baking a good cake, all these other components are really important too. There is the beautiful dance between, colour, composition, marks and value which help create a harmonious artwork.

My friend and fellow artist, Jon Hayes, and I have recently been discussing the importance of ‘values’ in a good painting. He feels (and rightly so) that if the values of a painting are not there then the painting will not be successful.

Values are an interesting subject and I don’t mean the cost of an artwork!

 A value is the light – darkness of the work.

Take away the colour/hue/chroma of the work and you are left with a grisaille or grey scale of the work.

Up until now what eluded me was not the idea of black-white but the importance of the balance.

At art school, a part from drawing and painting, I studied photography. 6 years in a black and white darkroom helped me understand 50 shades of grey! The success of an image hinged on the journey of either black or white in an image. You only have black and white to help with the composition. No colour to distract you.

Nature Sublime 2016, soft pastel on Fabriano paper, 56 x 76 cm
Galerie Belimage

Nature Sublime 2016, soft pastel on Fabriano paper, 56 x 76 cm
* TONAL version

Grey scale

Grey scale

When you turn a colour image into black and white, all you see are shapes and tonal values. If the tonal journey of either one is not there, then the image will not be successful.

This means, even if you have a high (light) key or low (dark) key painting, you must include a journey of the corresponding value to help the eye travel through the work.

It doesn’t mean you need a perfect balance of all greys but a journey of dark or light to help the eye stay inside and not travel outside the work. (This is also of the utmost importance when drawing with charcoal.)

Tonal values are important for composition because they not only help create depth (3D), they support the focal point as the eye is naturally drawn towards light tones.

There isn’t a day when I don’t learn something more about art making.

I hope this has helped many people out there who are still scratching their heads about values and their importance.

Thank you Jon and thank YOU for sharing this journey with me.

Please feel free to like and comment below.

Yours in art,

Bec x

“Various Storms and Saints: paintings and drawings from Hunter Valley, Australia and Tuscany, Italy” is currently on at Galerie Belimage, Switzerland.
Please view Australian works here.
Contact the gallery for more information: info@belimage.ch

What is good art?

The euphoria of our big European trip is wearing off and life has returned to its normal hum of kids, school, business and routine. My eldest has been couch-bound with the flu and as such studio time has been put on hold.

Unfortunately no studio updates to report but I can report on the feedback I received from my last blog post – Constructive Criticism.

Thank you for all your heartfelt responses. It was a pleasure to read them here, via email and all social media platforms.

I thought I would share some responses.

Paul Mordetsky (artist), USA writes: “… it wasn’t criticism at all. It is more like you inviting me over for dinner, serving a splendid stew, and I tell you that stews - any stew - gives me indigestion due to the vagaries of my own digestive system. …… I am not saying anything about you or about your cooking - just stating a valid but purely personal opinion”.

Artwork by Masolino & Masaccio at the Branacci Chapel Florence.

Demetria Verduci (Architect & Manager, La Macina di San Cresci), Italy writes: “As a person arises in front of a work of art … (their response) depends on their background, their culture and even their daily life.  It should not be interpreted as a negative criticism of your paintings, but as a subjective reaction…I believe that if we are serene people and in peace with ourselves, we are also able to understand that a painting, a piece of music or a book express the vision of the author, its personal aesthetic and its message”.

Amy Menzies (artist), Australia also feels the same. “Art is subjective so criticism is an occupational hazard. Emotional on both parties..”

Personally, I want art to make me think. Art that makes you question aspects of life. I think that is the responsibility of the artist. Artists are sensitive (there’s that word again!). These days I see it as a gift, not a hindrance. To convey ideas, feelings and opinions through our craft. After all we are a visual culture.

Art is a powerful visual language which can access society and make us think/feel and act upon. For example, Renaissance art was simply a form of advertising to the masses. Works usually commissioned by the church to teach society how to behave.

Judith Slaying Holofernes, Artemisia Gentileschi, 1614

The Madonna is often depicted breastfeeding Jesus in paintings and frescoes. I had the opportunity to visit the earliest recorded Renaissance frescoes while in Florence at the Branacci Chapel.

One of my favourite paintings from the Renaissance is Artemisia Gentileschi’s, Judith Slaying Holofernes (I don't know if this was commissioned by the church!). You can see it at Florence's Uffizi Gallery. On its own it is a powerful religious piece but to understand the artist’s background makes this piece even more poignant. A female painter in a male dominated profession must have been challenging.

I love it when people respond to some art and say “Oh but I could do that!”  and my favourite is “My 5 year old paints better than that”.

So, what do you think constitutes good art?

What type of art do you buy?

I love reading your comments. Please feel free to comment and like below.

Yours in art,

Bec x

“Various Storms and Saints: paintings & drawings from Hunter Valley, Australia and Tuscany, Italy” is currently on at Galerie Belimage, Switzerland.
Please view Australian works here.
Please contact the gallery for sales: info@belimage.ch

Constructive Criticism.

It has been over a week since the opening and we are finally home after our big European adventure (sigh). As I think about the opening I can’t help but recall a very open gentleman who confidently told me he didn’t like my work.

Big Australian Skies. Installation photo of the current exhibition.
Images left to right. 1/ Towards Drayton's Vineyard, oil on cotton canvas, 86 x 116cm 2/On the table, various en plein air oil paintings from Italy. 3/ Gilleston Island (after the flood), oil on cotton, 86 x 115cm. 4/ Evening Light on Teddy's Hill, oil on cotton, 86 x 115cm.

Being an artist is an interesting occupation for a sensitive soul, which most artists are (not that I wish to generalise).  I’ve often been called sensitive, like it was a bad word, yet over the years I’ve grown a thick skin to negative comments.

I am still human however and negativity in any form is challenging but these days I try not to dwell on it. I believe, what we think about is who we become.

Both school and art school prepared me for criticism.  Every other day at university we would have group critiques (crits) about our work by peers and academics. Students would stand in front of their work, explain it, and then wait for a response by the group. More often than not it wasn't pleasant.

These days I feel if I get any reaction, I have achieved something. At least the viewer hasn’t simply walked past without looking or feeling.

This forthright gentleman proceeded to tell me that he didn’t like any ‘aggressive’ art both visual and music. He didn’t like my landscapes as he found them ‘disturbing’. He said “I do buy art but it is gentle and soft. I also play gentle classical music at home too”.

I stood there in interest as he spoke about his passion for art. I decided at that moment not to get offended but listened earnestly waiting for his reason.

And to his defence, he had a good one. This colourful, larger than life man, worked in a prison. He wanted a calm environment when he returned home from work.

For me, I like work which is enthusiastic and thought provoking. For example Turner’s tumultuous skies or Auerbach’s haunting portraits.

When I create work, I listen to passionate music (currently on my play-list is Florence & The Machine, Kasabian and The National). I move quickly and earnestly with my pastel or brush. There is a kind of alchemy taking place between me, my brush/pastel and subject. It is very physical working this way, often I am standing up moving around the canvas or paper. My work is therefore energetic; not aggressive but passionate. I am also painting an Australian landscape. It isn't soft and delicate but harsh and dangerous at times (especially when painting outside).

Installation photo
Images from left to right. 1/ Twilight along the Hunter River, soft pastel, 25x36cm. 2/ Break in the Storm, oil on poly, 86 x 116cm, 3/ Dusk along the Broken Back Mts, soft pastel, 25 x 36cm. 4/ Ideas of Wilderness, oil on poly, 93x117cm.

Installation photo
Images from left to right. 1/ Autumn Storm on Teddy's Hill, soft pastel, 56x76cm. 2/ The River Runs Long and Wide, oil on cotton canvas, 90x115cm.
 

So I thank him for his candour. It was constructive criticism.

I feel like I’ve achieved a goal with my work.

Please feel free to like and comment below.

Yours in art,

Bec x

“Various Storms and Saints; paintings and drawings from Hunter Valley, Australia and Tuscany, Italy” is currently showing at Galerie Belimage, Switzerland.
Please click here to see 'Hunter Valley' work online.
Contact the gallery for sales and further information.