Concordia Exhibition: Lakebed
On Thursday, 25 October Lakebed, an exhibition originally presented at Broken Hill Regional Art Gallery opened with a presentation from teacher and artist Natalie O’Connor. She and four other women Sam Newstead, Barbara Nicholls, Sharron Ohlsen and Liz O’Reilly showed paintings, digital projections, monoprints and installations they made in and in response to Lake Mungo, Willandra Lakes National Park.
As artists they sought permission from the elders of the traditional communities on the lands of the three tribal groups, the Paakinthy, (Barkindji), Mutti Mutti and Ngiyampaa people, to undertake a single residency in 2016. The initial residency grew into two and then three residencies.
“Despite working in diverse styles and with individual lines of enquiry, as artists we were united – not only did we feel our task was to represent more than the obvious, our challenge was to champion the essential importance of place in human experience without an idealised gaze of place-identity or doomed views about place-disintegration,” shared Liz O’Reilly.
The exhibition spanning all four spaces is diverse in style but consistent in attitude. From Newstead’s evocative and representative monoprints capturing both the light and space of the ambiguous place to Nicholls watercolour projections, reminiscent of the dried lakebeds in all their sedimentary layers and Sharon’s painted eucalyptus leaves direct from the place there is an immediacy in these works that direct you to somewhere else. O’Reilly made a monumental 900 paper boats, individually painted and finished in wax to recognize the wetland landscape where Newington College stands today but prior to its habitation. She worked with a Year 9 Visual Arts class to educate and collaborate with them so they are contributors as well. O’Connor is a PHD candidate and her red pigment experiments are seen for the first time in their full 25 part presentation.
On the opening night, Liz O’Reilly spoke and her closing remarks reflect an important aspect of art and the, in particular, the art presented in the exhibition.
“Here at Newington, we’ve had to rethink our artwork in this place. The motto, to faith add knowledge, is a little like our creative processes. As artists, we have to have faith in our ability to create, a different way of making sense of place, in the hope that we add to the knowledge about it.”
Acting Head of Visual Arts
The Lakebed exhibition will be open through Saturday,10 November. For more information, please click here.