Artist profile: Catherine Hewitt

Paper and multimedia artist Catherine Hewitt recently exhibited her work in Remnant Formations at Gallery 1855 during SALA Festival 2016.

Hewitt’s interest in geology and love of nature walks prompted her latest work, part of her ongoing investigation into how landscape formations are interpreted by tourists, collectors or purveyors.

Both natural and manmade materials are used for clash and harmony in her works, to depict ancient landscape formations. Soft and yielding materials like seagrass and cotton rag are used as a foil against grittier elements like copper, steel and rust.

What or who has made a great impression on you?

I have always had a keen interest in art since I was a child – my father in particular encouraged me to paint- he bought me some paints and took me with him when he was out painting (painting for him was a hobby). Whilst studying graphic design in Tasmania I also took courses in photography and printmaking and enjoyed being able to combine these related mediums.  I’ve worked in freelance design and for a number of years had a stall at various markets in Tasmania.  I moved to South Australia at the end of 2004 with my two children.

The following year I started working at the Hahndorf Academy where I met Regine Schwarzer with whom I am currently exhibiting.  We both did the Masters by Coursework at UniSA at the same time and have exhibited together over the last few years.

Your current exhibition at Gallery 1855, Remnant Formations references mineral and rock formations. Is geology a personal area of interest of yours?

Yes! Actually, I would say that science in general is of interest to me – it often provides the grist for my mill!  I like to walk and when I do, sometimes I find things of interest and I like to find out what these things are – where they fit in the ecosystem, what role do they play.

For example the group of handmade paper lanterns in the exhibition titled of a gorgeous nothing are a result of finding a seagrass ball (then hundreds more!) on Goolwa beach.

Likewise the embossing titled Lithos is my interpretation of limestone rock formed from marine particles. Once while walking on North Keppel Island, I found a small disc with a hole in the centre – then I found many more and many years later I found out what they were – Foraminifera.

Lithos III

Image: Lithos III (edition of 5), Photopolymer emboss Fabriano 285 gsm 67 x 54 cm


I do like rocks and the whole geological interconnected process – how mountains are formed, the different types of rocks, the layering, the colours, the erosion that results in beaches.

A few months ago Regine and I both went on a hiking trip to the Flinders Ranges. I had never been there.  Walking through the various gorges and seeing all the striping in the rocks was wonderful. In fact, the oxides that I have used in some of the work come from there.

How did you begin this collection? Was there something in particular that triggered its development?

This collection of work is a continuation of previous work. I am really interested in how our landscape is formed and how we define and delineate that landscape.  I find maps and mapping very interesting.  Previously I had used digital photography to represent this and for this exhibition I wanted to leave the computer and return to something more hands-on.

You say the production processes mimics the natural, in terms of how you have interpreted minerals, rocks and sand in your work. Is this easier to do than it sounds?

It was not something that we set out to do, rather that it was something already happening within our processes.

In nature nothing is wasted, everything is used, transformed, merged; there is erosion, heat, and reforming of materials.  As artists we do the same, working with the materials of our choice. Metals are shaped by applied pressure, cutting and heat; stones are cut and shaped and placed with the metal; paper from plant matter is broken down and reformed.


What would you love to work on in the future, or who would you like to collaborate with?

I will continue with what I am doing at the moment knowing that one thing always leads to another, even if there is a break sometimes. I always enjoy working with Regine and love the way our work sits together.  Another artist I would like to collaborate is metal sculptor, Astra Parker.


Artist profile: Jason Cordero

Gallery 1855 is celebrating the work of six South Australian artists with five distinct and dynamic exhibitions.

Two of these exhibitions feature paintings by Jason Cordero and Talia Dawson.

Among all these works, there seems to be a common theme, or curiosity in nature, and exploring that curiosity, whether real or imagined.

Jason has kindly agreed to be profiled. His gigantic sky landscape paintings are bold and spectacular – including his 3m-long painting, Bridge of Shadows.  Self-taught and painting from his imagination, they invite the viewer to imagine the story behind the image.

We hope you can see Jason’s spectacular paintings at Gallery 1855, on display from now until Saturday 24 September.


 Jason Cordero 

Can you start by providing an introduction about yourself and your professional background? What or who has made a great impression on you?

I am an Australian painter who lives and works in Adelaide and studied at the South Australian School of Art. I don’t really consider any one person a particular influence, but have just looked to my innate love of the natural world. I essentially taught myself how to paint; I haven’t ever had any “this is how you paint” lessons. University was about thought; technique was not considered. I do, though, have a love of 19th century history painting – I have an interest in people like Waterhouse, Alma-Tadema, Leighton. I also have particular interest in ancient history and architecture. These influences are more obvious in my most recent work.

Currently on exhibition at Gallery 1855 are several of your landscapes. Can you tell us more about these paintings? Are you referencing a particular place?

These works have been developing over a few years and were first shown together at BMG Art in an exhibition titled The Mountain. I was interested in the idea of wilderness and the sublime; not place as such but the narratives and sensations places can generate.

The sky is a major feature in your landscapes. A lot of your focus is on the expanse of sky, the light, the shadows and its dominance over all other elements. Is this intentional?

The sky is indeed the major feature. I’ve always been fascinated by the atmosphere and its emotive power. Just from a physical point of view it fascinates as it provides such an amazing display simply from the diffraction and diffusion of light through colourless gasses and liquid. I do intentionally draw attention to the sky and its dominance (certainly as far as scale goes) over the other features of the landscape; after all a mountain top can be an inviting place one moment and deadly the next depending on the movement of the air. Of course, all is intertwined as mountains often create the conditions for dramatic atmospheric phenomena. For example, just this past week has seen here in Adelaide some beautiful orogenic clouds along the hill face – at Tea Tree Gully we had a prolonged heavy down pour with the sun streaming in from the cloudless west. Very beautiful.

Everyone is talking about your colossal painting, The Bridge of Shadows. It looks like a glacial dreamscape. Does it all come from your head? Or is it a combination of places you’ve seen and then reimagined?

The Bridge of Shadows is in form entirely imaginary. It started as gestures in a little sketch with the sweep of the clouds and the impossible peak. Though not a real place, it is none the less playing with memories and experiences of my travels in Australia; just expanded and developed to create something else. Like most of the work from this series, it suggests a narrative, that something is about to happen – what, I can’t say.

Jason Cordero

Jason Cordero, The Bridge of Shadows (detail), oil on linen, 122 x 305cm.

What have been some of your career highlights?

My highlights, I suppose, were the winning of some prizes – the John Leslie Art Prize being the most significant. I also enjoyed the opportunity of having a solo exhibition at the Gippsland Art Gallery – indeed, Bridge of Shadows had its first outing there. It’s been reworked in the meantime though. Of course, I mustn’t forget this year’s three-month Redgate Residency in Beijing; that was an extraordinary experience and I do intend to go back.

What would you love to work on in the future, or is there anyone you would like to collaborate with?

As for the future, I’ve started to incorporate figures and the built environment in my work. My most recent exhibition presented work very different to any I’ve done before. I also want to start producing some sculpture. On a different tack, I’d love to collaborate with the State Opera of South Australia in stage design and there has been some movement in that direction. In the same vein, I’m also exploring the possibility of stage design with the State Theatre – I think it would be a fascinating collaboration.

Gallery 1855 is open from Wednesday to Saturday, from 12-5pm and is located at 2 Haines Road, Tea Tree Gully. 

SALA exhibition opening 9th August 2015

Gallery 1855’s SALA 2015 exhibition opened on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon and welcomed many participating artists and members of our local community and further afield.

A variety of works based on the theme ‘Looking but Seeing….something familiar for the first time‘ will be on display until Saturday 19 September.

Looking but Seeing: SALA 2015

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