Shades of Summer hero 2021

Shades of Summer

Deirdre Bean, Janet Dawson Merran Esson, Rachel Fairfax, Jane Gerrish, Rod Holdaway
30 November - 18 December
Opening Saturday 4 December, 3 - 5 (COVID-19 and social distancing aware)

View exhibition | Exhibition catalogue

We round off a strange, dislocated year with the joy and peace of a summer exhibition, in all its varied shades and colours.

DEIRDRE BEAN develops an intimate relationship with her subjects over many hours of close inspection. Although BEAN draws directly on her experience as a natural history illustrator, she maintains a subtle, yet rich layering of meaning in the compositions.  JANET DAWSON’s ongoing desire to explore and expose the resonance of a place emerges through her pastel drawings and watercolours of, often, rural Australian landscapes and the everyday of her still-life such as her delightful studies of eggshells.

Travelling through the Monaro plains of NSW in Autumn, MERRAN ESSON was inspired by the change of colours in the European trees planted in the plains. The resulting works reflect the orange, green and gold tones of the tree change in season. The paring back of forms enables ESSON to distil the trees, as if viewed from multiple perspectives. Drawing from her rural upbringing on the land, ESSON explores the vessel in relation to man-made catchments such as tanks and dams, as well as naturally occurring catchments such as basin shaped areas and drainage networks in nature.

RACHEL FAIRFAX presents sea and landscapes as well as paintings that provide reference to childrens’ play and motherhood. Her sea and landscapes, which start from plein air drawings, refer mainly to Forster and Tuncurry where she grew up, as well as current home around the Coogee area. Inspiration in painting is taken from Ben Nicholson’s early drawings and Richard Diebenkorn’s mid-career landscapes. As the paintings develop, they become more about memory than representational paintings of still objects. Busy brushstrokes reflect movement of the tricycle, and the circular form of the wheels. Simpler than her landscape paintings, these paintings catch a moment in time of how motherhood has impacted her art practice.

As a lifelong coastal dweller, inspiration for JANE GERRISH’s body of work initially came from enjoying the perfection of natural sculptural forms during the isolation of daily Covid lockdown walks. She found observing Nature’s majesty and permanence both immersive and reassuring during the isolation. GERRISH was further inspired when reading the poet Mary Oliver’s poem Breakage. Her words resonated with reflections on journeys, and the beauty of earned imperfection. Another touchstone for thought was Frank Lloyd Wright; the architect was to have said that seashells were nature’s perfect architecture. GERRISH’s drawings of seashells – both whole and fragmented - are a result of this time and reflection.

Collage has been an integral part of ROD HOLDAWAY’s practice since 2014, though this most recent return to including collage in finished paintings links to his work in the 1980s. HOLDAWAY’s practice mimics the movement of light, space, form and shadow in his compositions. The appeal is in the play of making, as he states, “I like the freshness of collage, the way it enables me to chase and capture images from my imagination fast - to bring things to 'plastic' reality immediately. Then there is time for reflection and fine tuning.” Working within the city HOLDAWAY fragments and dissects familiar streetscapes and public parks, with their materiality simultaneously captured and dissolved.

Sydney Scapes

Annabel Butler
1 - 26 February
Opening Saturday 5 February, 3 - 5 (COVID-19 and social distancing aware)

View exhibition | Exhibition catalogue

For ANNABEL BUTLER the impact of the pandemic, with lockdowns, online teaching and home schooling led her to rediscover my love of plein air painting. With her studio confined to the boot of her car ANNABEL BUTLER’s art practice finds itself on the road and unusually mobile. BUTLER travels around, stopping occasionally to capture her new surroundings. Painting en plein air she captures a variety of public places such as parks and beaches that she visits frequently within Sydney.

With confines of space BUTLER’s works adapts to a small – often 9 x 5 – size to accommodate the journey. Working to this small scale, she provides small windows in various settings, distilling them down to their essence of colour and light. This format references the plein air tradition of the Victorian Heidelberg School. Seeking to create a dialogue with the past by exploring continuity and change in the landscape BUTLER paints the same Sydney beachside locations depicted by Tom Roberts and Charles Conder in 1888.

Sydney’s green lung, Centennial Park, offered BUTLER visual respite from the urban environment. The park changed dramatically each season. She captures its beauty, particularly autumn, with its vibrant red and oranges contrasted against swathes of green, mirrored in the still waters of ponds.

These small paintings are energetic and gestural, with quick brushstrokes capturing the movement and tumble of waves on the shorelines or the breeze moving through leaves on a tree. BUTLER’s brush marks are textured and painterly and alive with an energy that quickly soaks up the discourse of colour and light and expels it out onto the painted surface. BUTLER’s mark making is full of energy. Her broad brushstrokes provide an impression of the surroundings, rendering a soft edge and focus to her works by obliterating the details of the scenes captured. There is a soft, scrumbled quality to BUTLER’s paint application that gives some works a soft, hazy, almost dreamy feel. Her textured mark making allows for underpainting to peer through each layer of colour. BUTLER’s palette is soft and paired down to a minimum in capturing the essence of each scene.


Riste Andrievski and Deirdre Bean
1 - 26 March
Opening Saturday 5 March, 3 - 5

Steve Lopes
3 - 28 May
Opening Saturday 7 May, 3 - 5

From the Studio

Trevor Weekes
31 May - 25 June
Opening Saturday 4 June, 3 - 5