An exhibition by Yvonne Moloney-Law and Maaret Sinkko
The opening address by Julie Barratt at the White Canvas Gallery
Reconnecting recently in Yeppoon with Yvonne and Maaret to talk about this exhibition after a decade of living in the Northern Rivers of NSW it was not long before I realized that even with the intervening years of me being ‘absent’ from central Queensland, the common bond that we all share is our love for the central Queensland landscape as is evident in these emotive, complex works around us today. In this unique part of Australia spirit speaks loudly and clearly and I know for me personally there is a certain spot on the Rockhampton to Yeppoon road (when I first get a glimpse of Mt Jim Crowe, one of many trachyte plugs in the region… ) that I feel deep in my bones that I am ‘home’ … these places pulse and breathe and live in these two artists and in me.
The many headlands and limestone volcanic trachyte plugs of the Capricorn Coast, Queensland, Australia are the result of volcanic activity during the Cretaceous period (70 million years ago). These are remnants of much older volcanic activity than those of the famous Glasshouse Mountains, Sunshine Coast hinterland. “Thirteen such structures are spread over 80 square kilometres and the steep sided rocky peaks rise between 70m and 300m above the plains between Rockhampton and Yeppoon.
Both artists are representing this country in their own unique ways. Whilst Maaret’s paintings present a thought-provoking interplay between the conceptual and her painterly European-influenced tonal representations of landscape, Yvonne’s experimental, layered intaglio prints play with patterned surface, tone, and ‘layout’.
Yvonne teases apart and rebuilds the landscapes with new perception and vigor in a mosaic of intaglio printmaking. Through scratching, embossing and line making her prints evoke those same marks made by settlement patterns as cartography. A cross between drawing, printmaking and painting, these works reference Yvonne’s strong connection to land and place. Her works bring to mind cartographic maps and are a deliberate attempt to superimpose the traditional custodians’ influences with scientific information pertaining to the geographical areas represented, in an effort to communicate spatial information. They are graphic representations of the landscape, interlacing threads of history with the environmental issues of today to highlight the impact of human activities upon the fragile ecosystems.
Maaret binds the landscape to her Nordic heritage to make a layered story rich in colours and shapes. She relates her growing up in the Brisbane suburb of Inala as a strong influence to her perception of landscapes. She said: “Many Finns lived in the Inala of the 1970s. We foreigners did not quite fit in our neighbourhood but neither did anyone else so we got on fine. We spent our free time running around surrounding bushland and grassy fields. It was quite wild and silent”.
It is finally whilst living in Yeppoon that Maaret really starts to see Australia as ‘home’ and in its surrounding landscape that she starts to feel its spirit….
“when I stop for an hour to sketch a mountain before work on a stretch of Old Byfield Road I discover close up how majestic our landscape really is, the array of birdlife, insects and snakes, the colours of the rock edifices, and the friendliness of locals who will stop to check you are alright. The sense of being alone, vulnerable and of being watched is real. I would work and feel a vibration in a place – sometimes heavy and good. Once the hairs stood up on the back of my neck. It can be a little eerie when you know there is no one there. It is undeniable that these places have a spirit. I feel it is a land spirit, a tree spirit and a rock spirit. In every image we recreate an ancient landscape. Each time we refashion this landscape it is somehow reborn even through its change in real time is slower. In the same way our representation ties that evolution of the landscape, river, estuary, and tree to it’s past and present. It becomes a younger version of itself.”
In a time when our artistic landscape is changing at a national level as funding cuts become the norm and it gets harder and harder to survive financially as professional artists I am in awe of the artistic rigor and output of these two artists and can’t wait to see what their artistic futures hold. Documenting this unique and historic landscape for future generations marks them as keepers of a history at a time when indeed our environmental landscape is also changing rapidly.
I would like to pay tribute to fellow artist, friend, mentor, teacher and former print tutor at CQ TAFE college Peter Indans whose love of experimentation, play, artistic rigor and sharing of ideas, would have a profound influence upon Yvonne artistic thinking and her arts practice; fostering a fascination for experimentation of techniques, materials and ideas. Just as he has fostered these things in my own arts practice. I am privileged to have been invited to open this exhibition … Thank You
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Yvonne Moloney-Law was born Yvonne Ann Elton in 1964 in Rockhampton.
In 2004 she completed a Diploma in Visual Arts, majoring in painting and printmaking. During her studies Yvonne was mentored by artist and teacher Peter Indans. Indans would have a profound influence upon Yvonne’s artistic thinking and her arts practice, fostering a fascination for experimentation of techniques, materials and ideas. This led to the use of P.V.C. plates in her arts practice – engraving and embossing of fine particles, which resulted in mark-making and textures that has become a unique signature of Yvonne’s intaglio images.
One of the few true experimental Printmakers working on the scene in Central Queensland, Yvonne’s work in this series takes the rivers, water catchments, mountains and the estuaries, and depicts the landscape as poetic images by entwining materials, medium and topic to produce images that are unique to her signature.
These works resemble cartographic maps and are a deliberate attempt to superimpose the traditional custodian’s influences with scientific information pertaining to the geographical areas represented.
Yvonne’s recent folio of works have gained selection and awards in major Visual Art competitions throughout Australia.
Irja Maaret Sinkko was born in Brisbane in 1965 to Finnish parents and moved to Central Queensland in 1993. She began printmaking in 2002 at CQ TAFE under her mentor Peter Viktor (Krauklis) Indans (1947- 2011).
Maaret is a respected artist although she is not well known outside of Central Queensland. She completed a Diploma in Visual Art in 2012 majoring in painting and printmaking. Maaret has qualifications in Environmental Science, Education and Town Planning. She was a finalist in the International Award for Artist Books at the East Gippsland Art Gallery, in Bairnsdale Victoria in 2013, CQU Connects Central Queensland University Touring Exhibition in 2014, the Churchie National Emerging Art Prize” (1990 and 1991), and winner of the Corinda Festival of Arts Junior Prize (1980).
Maaret’s work is in public collections in Central Queensland University (Rockhampton Qld), Rockhampton Art Gallery (Rockhampton Qld) and Livingstone Shire Council (Yeppoon Qld).
Current projects include illustrations/screen prints for A Modest Proposal (Swift) by fine art letterpress artist Derek Lamb of Officina Athelstane. Maaret has written for the quarterly journal of the Print Council of Australia (Sinkko, Maaret (2013) IMPRINT, Spring, Vol. 49).
This exhibition was supported by The Livingstone Shire Council and Arts Queensland through an RADF Grant.
All photographs made within the exhibition space. All photographs ©2015 Doug Spowart.
The copyright in all artworks is retained by the artists.