Sunday, May 11, 2008

Cresside Collette - Drill Hall Gallery - ANU - Canberra - Australia

Valley View Miniature woven Tapestry by Cresside Collette

Cresside Collette's exhibition at the Australian National Universities Drill Hall Gallery contains what must be some of this nations future, iconic, landscape tapestries. In entering the gallery space these small landscape artworks, resonated like jewels on the gallery walls. These images were created by Colette from her studio residency, which was spent at the Bundanon property, Shoalhaven that was bequested to the nation by the famous Australian Artist Arthur Boyd.

It's not often such savvy image making in any medium, creates a sensation, that captures ones attention so overwhelmingly but Collete has no doubt achieved this with these small landscape artworks. To generalise these artworks on show by Collete as simply tapestries in some way does not do the artworks, nor the artist any justice, they're more than that, especially the small woven images, for they contain a kind of phenomena of vision (memory) from remembrances of what the artist had sighted in Bundanon terrain. Especially the hues that are woven with kind of intimate sensibility that is rarely seen even in painting or drawing nowadays, its a real visual feast.

Collete's Amphitheatre tapestry reminds one of the Australian painter David Davies Templestow series, in how the hues have been weaved throughout this artwork, with a range of subtle light greys through to nocturnal dark blue grey mauve's, as the night takes over the day in the distance and it's stunning. In the fore ground of the tapestry, there is a range of light ochre reds, light greens, viridian tones, interspersed intelligently with blackish deep ultramarine tones, making the work almost sparkle on the gallery wall.

The tapestry River and Rocks contains an odd sensation of the viewer almost being on site, this sensation appears to be created by they way Collette has arranged the colours, for the audience to visually indulge in, it's a very fresh/immediate artwork, it is almost as if time and space had been collapsed into a singular moment, like Corot or Monet have achieved in there desire to capture it in oil from first hand account in painting in front of the motif.

Collete's larger landscape tapestries and drawings, do not appear to contain the same sensibility as the smaller artworks, this may well be because large objects cannot sparkle like jewels, which inevitable turn out to be rare, precious and small. Nonetheless, what is so like able about this exhibition is that the pedestrian Australian bush landscape, continues to be a motif that creates significant imagery as evidenced in this exhibition. And it appears that artists like Collette, continue to push the boundaries of Australian landscape image making outwards, into a seemingly never ending horizon.

Link to Drill Hall Gallery