Artist-in-residence Mitch Cairns teaches boys how to make art meaningful
Two-time Archibald finalist, emerging painter and most recent New Women artist-in-residence Mitch Cairns opened his exhibition One-Idea-Per-Canvas on Tuesday 10 March at Concordia Gallery. Showcasing both his own works, and those completed by Year 11 HSC and IB Visual Arts students during the Annual Bundanon Art Camp, the exhibition featured contemplative abstract pieces that utilised a reduced palette of blues, blacks and whites with multi faceted geometric shapes. In one room was an animation of drawings completed by several boys, and in another was Mitch Cairns’ working studio.
Throughout Term 1, Mitch’s studio at Concordia Gallery has been the hub of inquiry for many Year 8 Visual Arts students. Just by visiting the room where the artist creates his works, the boys have been able to gain insight into a professional artist’s art making procedure and ask Mitch about the ideas and processes that he uses to resolve an idea. One task the boys had to complete was to write a hypothetical transcript of a conversation Mitch might have with an artist from any historical period, which they thoroughly enjoyed.
The title of the exhibition One-Idea-Per-Canvas grew out of a phrase Cairns used to explain to the boys his conceptual and material approach to art making. It is also the name of the approach he demonstrated in a series of technical procedures and systems for generating ideas with senior students which they have then employed to create the paintings hanging in Concordia Gallery.
We are very grateful to the New Women P&F group to have provided this opportunity and there is no doubt of the impact an experience like this makes on the boys’ learning and understanding. Most importantly, it has helped the boys cultivate a sense of importance and need to make their own art meaningful.
Mrs Hannah Chapman
Concordia Gallery Curator