Sunday, 12 February 2017

Shelley Cowper Etchings and Chelle Bourne Hall/Entrance Space

Artist and Audience in Opera Labo Hall Gallery 

Printmaking in Japan is legendary as there have been so many good practitioners of the medium from the Edo period to now, so it was interesting to hear the positive feed back on Shelley Cowper's small but very competent exhibition with Chelle Bourne at Gallery Opera Labo from a very good local painter from Kobe.

Part of a series of etchings from Shelley Cowper's ocean going trip around Australia depicting the night moon and its brilliance in the night sky

These particular prints by Cowper are based on her nautical experiences of sailing a yacht around Australia, along with the demands and the skills that are gleaned from that kind of journey, which would not be an easy thing to do because Australia is well known for its wild oceans and unforseen dangers


Yet, it appears the visual empiricism of Cowper's ocean going journey was an aesthetic gold mine in the way she has articulated and gleaned forensic marine nuances into print from observing the textures in ropes, nets, sea craft, landscape, and sea life, along the weft of colour as one peers into a dark ocean, yet illuminated by the bright Australia night sky as she was on watch and that sensation resonates so well from these etchings, its almost like your on night duty too at times.

The other likeable issue about Shelley's etching is how suited the medium seems to be to marine motifs.  For example, it’s like the etching acid cuts through and into to the metal, like a ship crashing through the waves inevitably leaving its wear and tear on the hull. It’s almost like the ship becomes a metallic dairy on the outside with its rust, peeling paint and broken, cracked equipment from apriori voyages and this is what the metal plate seems to resonate from the dipping into the acid from the etching process and it works so well in this exhibition.

Chelle Bourne's artwork

Chelle Bourne's studio praxis is also focused on shapes, patterns colours and textures like Cowper but hers stems from her grandmothers needle work from old English needle work books, when ladies adorned themselves in wonderfully patterned dresses that took many hours of hand sewing.

Bourne uses acrylic paint on paper with a variety of other painterly systems. For instance, Bourne at times may rub back the dried acrylic on the paper to make some areas almost liminal in texture whilst others more prominent giving the artwork a kind of textural poetry, then at times she will apply more paint to the areas to acquire the fabric like sensation that resonates from her images. 

This is a very interesting exhibition by these two Western Australian Artists so if your in Nishi Ku Kobe do contact the gallery to view the artworks.