Artmaking in Action at Noosa Open Studios
Georgia Beard follows the art trails of Noosa Open Studios from coast to countryside, offering a glimpse of the artists welcoming audiences into their creative environments.
When we study a painting hung on a wall or a sculpture placed on a pedestal, our connection with the work is deeply personal.
We meet a reflection of ourselves on the canvas. We reckon with confronting and captivating recreations of the world around us.
But the artist who chose each colour, engraving and glaze is absent, offering no more than a wall-mounted statement of their messages and mediums.
When Noosa Open Studios returns for its eighth year from 6 to 15 October, we will gain an experience just as valuable as the art itself – the artmaking.
As local creatives will open their studios for the public to explore, we discover the inspiration behind their ideas, the sketches, swatches and rough drafts, every broad stroke and detailed touch coming together in a finished piece – and then we might take it home!
Committee member and participating artist Saren Dobkins says over a third of artists in this year’s exhibition are new participants, enriching the diversity of the local arts landscape.
“The amazing depth of talent is highlighted by the number of our artists who have been working on their artistic pursuits for decades – some for over 40 years,” she says.
“Honing skills and pursuing a creative dream takes commitment and focus. Many of these artists provide mentoring and support to the next generation, and we are so lucky to have them on our art trail and supporting creativity in Noosa.”
This year, over 100 artists can be found along five art trails, meandering from our coastlines to our tight-knit towns to our hinterland hideaways. All studios will be open over two weekends with select studios open each weekday.
We’re invited to choose our own art adventure, unearthing the secrets of each art studio on the Noosa Trail; Beaches Trail; Tinbeerwah to Eumundi Trail; Cooroy Trail; and Pomona Trail.
Stepping inside Saren’s Tewantin studio on the Noosa Trail, we’ll find oil-on-canvas works reflecting the passage of this year’s events and experiences in bold yet intimate imagery.
“I respond to current social and political events, but the intersection between the personal and the universal is the tightrope on which all my work is balanced,” she says.
“My intention is to make the unconscious visible, to show that underneath our humanity we are connected, while asking deeper questions in a time of angst, social uncertainty, and polarisation.
“Visitors are invited to enter conversations with myself and others, as these narrative, expressionist works often provoke questions and engage us on a deeper level.”
As we coast down the Beaches Trail, Charlotte Wensley awaits in her Peregian Beach studio, layering collage, printmaking, drawing and painting in abstract works.
“With landscape as my muse and colour and shape as my companions, each painting unfolds through curiosity, inquiry and a liminal approach,” she says.
“Visitors this year will be the first to see my latest body of work, which has flowed on from my recent Portal Series as a more formal investigation into colour interaction, shape and a diversification of process.”
Among lush bushland along the Tinbeerwah to Eumundi Trail, Dennis Forshaw shapes, fires and glazes award-winning vessels on his pottery wheel.
He shares his studio with partner and abstract expressionist Cheryl McGannon at Evoke Modern, displaying a blend of old and new ceramic works with lustres of gold and silver.
Meandering north on the Cooroy Trail, we’ll encounter Geoff Cook of Crocodile Creek Knives forging ancient Damascus blades for food preparation and hunting in intricate detail.
“My knives are made to last forever with the selection of steels, forging, heat treatment and tempering,” he says. “Then I incorporate quality timbers such as African ebony, Australian hardwoods and deer antler for the hilt.”
As we approach Lake Cooroibah on the Pomona Trail, Noreen Flood invites us to immerse in fluid, impressionist landscapes alongside new cyanotype prints and oil and cold wax works.
“Lake Cooroibah never fails to inspire me with its changing seasons, colours, moods, tides – I endlessly search to capture and express so much of its majestic presence,” she says.
No matter their medium, artists scattered along every art trail are united by the craftsmanship and passion they pour into their work. As we share in that self-expression, we close the gap between maker and receiver.
Launching later in August, the 2023 Art Trail Guide will be available to pick up from Wallace House, the Noosa event hub with an exhibition of artwork from all artists and tips from knowledgeable volunteers.
From 2 to 10 September, Studios 100 art exhibition returns to the Butter Factory Arts Centre in Cooroy, offering a preview of participating artists before you embark on a choose-your-own adventure art trails.
Enjoy the journey of discovery!