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: Talia Dawson

Talia Dawson

Talia Dawson’s paintings are being shown at Gallery 1855 as part of the 2016 SALA Festival.

Colourful, cheery yet delicate, Talia’s works celebrate the native flora of South Australia. Flowers and plants are her endless inspiration. She regularly travels around her home state to see native species up close and record their features for new works. Talia is in her final year at the University of South Australia, as she works towards becoming an art teacher.

Talia’s paintings will be on display at Gallery 1855  until Saturday 24 September 2016.

What’s your artistic background? What or who has made a great impression on you?

My love of art; of painting, drawing and creating stems from my childhood, a passion inspired by my mother at a very young age. Over the years my mum has watched my artistic talents grow, constantly teaching and encouraging, allowing my abilities to bloom.

I am now pursuing an artistic career in teaching – a pathway that’s been seeding in my mind for years – currently completing my final year in a Bachelor of Visual Arts at UniSA.

Talia Dawson
‘Equally Beautiful’, Talia Dawson, 2016. Acrylic on canvas. 91cm x 60.5cm.

Your current exhibition at Gallery 1855 features several of your contemporary floral paintings. How did you begin this collection? Was there something in particular that triggered its development?

I’ve always been inspired by nature, influenced particularly by our beautiful South Australian landscape. So naturally, I was drawn to the flora our state has to offer, amazed and intrigued by the patterns, colours, workings and general organic abstractions of nature. There are so many hidden gems, the individual details of the landscape often more intriguing than the land as a whole. Exploring this beautiful state that I call home, I have gathered a compilation of fascinating photographs; photos that greatly influence my final creations.

What do you hope people take away when they see your work?

Through my work I aim to encourage others to observe the often overlooked, to be puzzled and captivated by nature’s abstractions, and to discover for themselves the beauty hidden within the South Australian landscape. I wish for people to look through my eyes, to see the ordinary in an unusual way, and to appreciate these obscurities like never before.

Purple and pink features strongly in your paintings, why is that?
The colour theme just seemed to happen naturally. I guess I want to bring happiness and joy to people’s lives, and the bright pinks and purples allowed me to do this, while also tying my body of work together as a whole.

What have been some of your career highlights?
I’ve exhibited in a couple of exhibitions prior to the current Gallery 1855 exhibition, however I consider my career to be only just starting! At the conclusion of Year 12 I was involved in the SACE Art Show. That was probably when the addiction first started, the hunger to continue painting and creating, to further exhibit my artworks for others to see and appreciate.

What would you love to work on in the future?
The future daunts me. I think it’s something I will just have to wait for and see what happens. I believe I will however always centre my practice around nature, immersing myself in the ‘art world’ of SA and beyond and bringing beauty to all that appreciate my work.


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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Local artist profile: Susan Long

One of Gallery 1855’s featured artists in this year’s SALA 2015 exhibition, Susan Long, says her featured work, Evening Glow’, was initially a work she had cast to the side in her studio, without a second thought.

But seeing an artist scraping through layers of paint during a visit Gallery 1855 created a desire to return to her work.

‘It was a complete surprise because it was a work I had finished and thought I was done with, but not long afterwards I saw an artist scraping through layers on a painting at Gallery 1855 and I knew I had to go home straight away and start working on it again,’ Susan says.

‘I had to get going and working on it very quickly, as the hands and mind must work together when inspiration strikes. I tend to work in layers and bright colours and when I started to scrape through the painting, it started to reveal itself to me.

‘But I’ve also learned to stop, wait and step back from a painting and read it and see what it’s saying. Paintings do have their own mind!’

Susan’s work, titled ‘Evening Glow’, depicts a sole tree in the middle of an undefined landscape, allowing the viewer to imagine where it could be.

‘To me it is a Tree of Life…and it could be anywhere, it could be on a farm, by water, it doesn’t matter. This tree is very grounding and by painting it, it has helped me to ground myself in the landscape and identify with landscapes I have been in.’

SLong_Evening Glow v2.0
Image: Susan Long, Evening Glow, Acrylic, 2015.

‘Often when I start a painting I have no idea where it is going to go.  I have to get into the rhythm of painting and then allow the creative process to take over.

Describing herself as a ‘colourist’, Susan approaches her work with a bold and colourful brush technique.

‘Vibrant tones always feature in my work, especially orange, which is my favourite colour and you will always see it somewhere in my works.’

Susan is a regular exhibitor at Gallery 1855 and local resident of the area. She has held careers in cooking, teaching and now focuses full-time on her work as an artist and freelance food writer.

Her work is included in Gallery 1855’s SALA exhibition, titled ‘Looking but seeing…something familiar for the first time’, which opens Sunday 9 August. Other featured Adelaide artists include Jane Greet, Amy Herrmann, Judith Rolevink, Greg Geraghty and Talia Dawson.

‘I think it’s a great time to be an artist in Adelaide, with the support of councils and their involvement in the SALA Festival.’

During the 2015 SALA Festival, Susan’s work will also be on display at the Pepper Street Arts Centre, The Red House Member’s Group Exhibition and  is part of a pop-up artist open day on Walkerville Terrace on Friday 28 August.

Looking but Seeing’…something familiar for the first time’  runs from Wednesday 12 August until Saturday 19 September.

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

For more information visit the Gallery 1855 website or phone 8397 7333.

See the full list of venues and exhibitions in this year’s SALA Festival.

‘Looking but Seeing’ ~ SALA 2015 exhibition at Gallery 1855

Looking but seeing features 25 South Australian artists using various media to respond to the experience of seeing something familiar for the first time.

There is no other festival like the South Australian Living Artists Festival (SALA) in Australia or the rest of the world. SALA embraces professional and aspiring artists at all levels and interests, while helping to grow the broader public’s awareness and curiosity in visual art.

During the month of August this state-wide festival encourages South Australians to go and visit (in addition to galleries) a whole lot of different venues (hospitals, restaurants cafes) to see visual art.

At Gallery 1855 we provide a platform from which our community can engage with the visual arts and we think this approach connects well with SALA’s ethos of inclusivity.

We’ve all experienced a difference or momentary strangeness in a familiar environment, object or person. These experiences can be unsettling but they can arouse one’s curiosity and call for deeper interpretations.

Looking but seeing proposes the importance of looking deeply, visually excavating and actually seeing or attempting to understand through the process of making art.

Opens: Sunday 9 August, 2pm
Where: Gallery 1855, 2 Haines Road, Tea Tree Gully

Exhibition dates: 12 August – 19 September

Bente Andermahr, Gary Campbell, Annette Dawson, Talia Dawson, Ed Douglas, Greg Geraghty, Robert Habel, Amy Herrman, Margie Kenny, Cat Lennard, Susan Long, Sally March, Bridgette Minuzzo, Megan O’Hara, Ken Orchard, Christine Pyman, Amalia Ranisau, Judith Rolevink, Betty Smart, Chris Thiel, Di Vanstone

Amy Herrmann
Image: Amy Herrmann, untitled, 2015, Giclee print on photo rag, 100 x 75cm
Greg Geraghty
Image: Greg Geraghty, Hide & Seek 2014, Hiding. Oil on plywood 84 x 100.
Ed Douglas, Gateway of the manifold secrets: for David Nash, Archival pigment print, 76 x 100
Ed Douglas, Gateway of the manifold secrets: for David Nash, Archival pigment print, 76 x 100

Read more about the history of the SALA Festival in this article from The Conversation, where Gallery 1855 and Tea Tree Gully have been featured.