29 October - 30 November 2019
Arthur Boyd shared both home and studio at his property at Bundanon and Riversdale with many artists, including his brother-in-law, the renowned Australian artist, Sidney Nolan. In 1993, Bundanon and other surrounding properties (1100 hectares in all) on the Shoalhaven River were gifted by Arthur Boyd and his wife Yvonne, with the purpose of offering a creative retreat for artists, writers and musicians to be inspired by the land and scenery as they had been.
ASHLEY FROST recently took part in a three week long artists residency through the Bundanon Trust. The opportunity to paint under different skies has resulted in a series of plein air landscapes, interiors of the artist’s residence on the historical property, and portraits during his stay. It was an opportunity to paint and gather a newfound inspiration as many key Australian artists had before. Frost applies his own perceptive eye to capturing the Bundanon region, with subtle nods to Boyd through his engagement.
A finesse for painting en plein air is evident in FROST’s treatment of the landscape, sky and surrounding vistas on the adjoined Bundanon and Riversdale properties. Attention to colour and light is strong in FROST’s work. He captures the vivid fiery tones of the Illawarra flame trees known to the region, against the bright – sometimes harsh – sunlight and vast plains. Other works of Riversdale revel in the cool reflections of over-hanging bushland at the riverbank, or the high contrasts of a silhouetted landscape against the dramatics of a setting sun and fading light during dusky hours.
Observing the shared histories and practices that take place within the land, FROST painted works in response to events such as after a burn at Bundanon by the Mudjingaalbaraga Firesticks team. In doing this FROST memorialised an act of revitalisation and renewal. His paintings of winter poplars are ablaze and energised in response. With attention to light and its movement, the works trace light atop the trees and hills, and exude the vibrancy of the artist’s encounter. FROST’s interiors continue his evocative study of light and its transition. Painting interiors at dusk, or at turning points in the day there is a glow that warms the palette.
In the spirit of Bundanon’s artist legacy FROST invited fellow friends and artists to sit for him. Over a series of sittings FROST painted Painter John Bokor, who he met during his degree at National Art School in the 1990’s; Nicole Kelly who he regularly paints with en plein air around Sydney and Wollongong; and journalist and writer Caroline Buam. The confident mark making, and playful use of colour and tone brings liveliness to the works and subjects. Painted within Bundanon there is a sense that FROST has added new and personal memories in a place that is intrinsically embedded in Australian art history.