Thursday, January 24, 2013

Donna Lougher Exhibition, Colville Gallery, 2013

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Sally Marsden, King Island Arts and Culture Centre and Arts and Cultural Development Office, King Island Council.

Thank you Donna for inviting me to open your exhibition. This is a rare and precious experience for me to witness the final outcome off the island from one of our residencies at the King Island Cultural Centre.


Some works within this exhibition result from Donna’s Visual Journal developed and shared with the King Island community at the conclusion of her residency. An assemblage of ideas and feelings created from the elements from both the cultural and environmental landscape of the island.


Seeing her work in a broader context through this exhibition I can feel her intense but sensitive emersion into her subject matter and passion for it – captured in her swift use of paint and brush and her whole being – an immediacy that for me reflects the whole atmosphere of her experience and interpretation of often the quite mundane and ordinary in our physical environment and cultural landscape. As Donna says she explores the ordinary appearance of things and is interested in finding the essence or something of the spiritual nature of the place. 


The King Island residency program with Arts Tasmania has been running since 2006 and been getting stronger and stronger with artists returning with exhibitions and also independent residencies including artists from Victoria and Northern Territory.  For our island community we are totally enthralled by the individual approaches to the exploration of what the island may offer to individual artists, arts practice, and the inevitable demands of isolation on all of us. Our isolation demands flexibility and adaption.


Artists such as Donna arrive and instantly with eyes roaming, ears to the ground, sniffing the wind and sea, sweeping up community members for links, stories, memories, connections, environments to explore, ideas and explorations unfold and emerge reflecting the character of place,  the mysteries of the ocean, our ordinary lives, our history,  and the unfolding landscape of a Bass Strait Island.


Donna roamed over windswept rolling hills, along coastal kelping tracks and beyond with her dog, Walter, in car and sketches and wet canvases tumbling into the back of the car, as her visual journal/diary and developed further in the studio at home for this exhibition. This energy and commitment to her experience and subject matter has been fully retained and the works I’m sure you would agree retain integrity to her intentions.


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