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 or view her website

Françoise Vetterli
Place de la Collégiale 2, 2042 Valangin, Switzerland
032 753 09 74/ 032 504 20 42

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.
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