Moree Gallery May exhibition showcases bush-racing, garden art and peaceful still-life: Opens May 6

By Georgina Poole

IT will be a festival of celebration come Mothers’ Day weekend in Moree, with the first cork to be popped at The Moree Gallery exhibition opening.

The Friday evening event kicks off the Moree on a Plate Festival, and this year the gallery has even further cause for cheer as it celebrates 20 years under the impeccably stylish helm of owner Gig Moses.

The exhibition includes nationally acclaimed artist Catherine Stewart along with gallery newcomers Sally Hawthorne and Anna Smith.

Catherine Stewart’s expressive eye-capturing works are well known within the district, with this to be her third exhibition at The Moree Gallery.

Catherine Stewart Bush Picnics 152 x 122cms

Catherine Stewart’s Bush Picnics, mixed media on Belgian linen.

“I have a very loyal following in the Moree region and I’m always very appreciative of their support and extremely grateful to Gig as she has been instrumental in kick-starting my career as a full-time artist and helping me to sustain it,” Catherine said.

Her fresh approach primarily involves drawing, painting and mixed media works on paper and canvas, inspired by organic and regional rustic themes.

Describing the process as a confident, expressive use of colour, line and texture, her work captures the beauty of everyday rural Australia in a unique and contemporary style.

Still-life and bird studies remain Catherine’s main subject matter, however she has recently introduced a ‘bush races’ theme.

“It’s been challenging but enjoyable, as I only paint personal experiences of things that I love – it also sounds like it could be quite a timely exhibition with the Moree district’s Golden Triangle racing festival coming up,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to exhibiting with Sally and Anna; our combined works will really complement the diversity of talents that Gig represents.

“Good quality country galleries are hard to come by and Gig should be very proud to mark 20 years in art retail – I can’t wait to visit Moree again, it is one of my favourite Australian destinations.”

Nyngan’s Anna Smith of Andrena Sculptures will also exhibit her unique works.

Inspired by her own personal frustration of wire litter, shared no doubt by scores of local graziers, Anna has converted this pet hate into tangible artworks of beauty and creativity.

Andrena 1

Anna Smith of Andrena Sculptures’ unique wire works will be on display at the exhibition.

“With my children now left home I am now my husband’s jillaroo on our sheep grazing property and am still silly enough to muster on a two-wheeler,” Anna said.

“I often get terribly caught up in wire and I simply hate waste, which is where the idea for my sculptural art began.”

Soon, rusted paddock wire was being craftily transformed into a garden fence, with eye-catching urns and jugs soon to follow.

As her skills developed, scrap wire evolved into animals and abstract sculptures and Anna now incorporates ceramics, glass, copper, aluminium and netting into her large-scale works.

“I concentrate on wire-work as it’s easy to throw into the back of the ute, and I think the rustic finish is in keeping with our rural landscape,” she said.

Predominantly garden art, each piece is hand-made, with no two sculptures the same.

“My work is imperfect and totally individual and the beauty of garden art is that it provides a totally unique focal point in the garden, and one that doesn’t require water or maintenance which is a bonus!”

Still-life artist Sally Hawthorne, of Headland Park, is also excited to be exhibiting for the first time at The Moree Gallery.

“I’ve never been to Moree before and I’m thrilled to be included in this exhibition – in fact I am bringing a car full of girlfriends to the opening and making it a real road trip!” Sally laughed.

Sally Hawthorne 1

Sally Hawthorne’s Yellow confit with Aubergines, oil on linen.

Sally’s artistic path has been dominated by a love of calm, tranquil and peaceful still-life portrayals, the desire to create images that evoke a feeling of serenity and nostalgia based on the simplicity, stillness and quietness of everyday objects.

Having enjoyed a career in design, running her own custom-made stationary business, Sally later took time out to travel extensively with her husband and son.

However, the past ten years has been dedicated to her craft.

“I’ve taken varied courses in art history, drawing and painting, my love of art emerging from a strong desire to be an active participant rather than just a spectator,” she said.

“My still-life paintings emerge from a focus on my memory recall of details of familiar objects, and exploring ways to capture the sensation of nostalgia and moodiness through the use of light and shadow, using a limited palette.”

The exhibition opens Friday, May 6 at 10am with drinks with the artist at the Gallery from 6pm.

The exhibition can be previewed from Monday 2nd May at but sales from 10am only on May 6.

Exhibition concludes 6th June 2016.