19 February - 22 April 2013
Richmond Library Space, 415 Church St, Richmond
Paintings representing the Westernport Bay water catchments
“Bushmode Gallery” is the title of an exhibition of eight abstract paintings by Prue Clements. The works convey her strong connection to the Westernport Bay water catchment area, the Bunyip River and the environment.
In the glass display case, at the entrance to the library, are a series of five paintings, gouache on paper, which were painted by the Bunyip River. Prue lives on the Lower Bunyip River, on the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp, and she has completed a painting each month for this series, reflecting the seasonal and environmental changes. She was also a 'Water Watch' and 'Frog Watch' volunteer for Melbourne Water for over 2 years, and so is very concerned and involved with environmental issues.
Water Bubbles and Eels is a fresh and lively painting, in a limited palette of white, grey, black & sepia; the eels appear to writhe through the water amid river grasses. Spring Has Sprung is a particularly pleasing work where the vegetation is depicted in bold brush strokes of greens, yellows and white, highlighted against the dark earth and water, with all the vigour of new growth. These works were painted in August and September 2010 respectively.
In Koo-Wee-Rup Horticulture (October 2010), bands of dots in greens, blue-greens and orange-yellows, depicting the diversity of plant life.Painting with Sarah(November 2010) is a scene painted on site on the river bank, of the grass and vegetation, and bands of earth. Water Silk, painted in December 2010, looks just as it is titled, flowing waters depicted in wavy bands of creamy and sepia hues, silky and silty water, cooling and restful to look at. There is also support material in the display case: Prue's palette, brushes and paints, brochures on the Bunyip river and the Great Swamp at Westernport, and photographs of the artist painting by the Bunyip river.
The three oil paintings hanging on the library wall represent the Westernport Bay water catchment area. In A Year After Fire, life goes on, following the fire in the Bunyip State Forest. The blackened tree forms are covered and surrounded by new growth, in bands and flecks of rich green tones.
Tea Tree, Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp (in Tooradin) is a very peaceful, gauze-like work; the delicate shades of pinks, greens and blues are detailed with a myriad of blue-green and white flecks and dots, very restful and pleasing. French Island is in Westernport Bay. It was proclaimed a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2002. The painting is an aerial view, showing the land mass surrounded by the flowing waters.
Through the paintings in this exhibition, one can appreciate Prue’s connection to the land, and her concern for the environment.
Report by Rosemary Mangiamele