‘BUSHWALK’ – Nicola Woodcock
17th – 28th June 2020
Wednesday 17th June, 6pm onwards
Saint Cloche Gallery is excited to welcome back Nicola Woodcock, following a sell-out show in 2018.
As we are current living through un-precedented times, life seems a little ‘out of control’. Yet the sky remains calm and beautiful as ever, the birds sing, and the Autumn sunshine has been radiating its healing warmth. Nicola’s pure, unpretentious studies of Australian Native flora are a reminder of the loving compassion and inspiration that comes to us from the natural world constantly. A healing balm for this wild time.
“Like many people who live in Sydney I have direct access to the bush from my street. Where the houses stop, the bush continues – as it always has. I see bits of it in our garden, in the bush rocks that poke out and remind me that less than 50 years ago, this patch of land was no different to the huge swathe of bush that starts, almost on my doorstep, marking the perimeter of Ku Ring Gai National Park.
The backdrop to the creation of this body of work is the current pandemic. The whole world is living through an extraordinary time and our routines have shifted to accommodate a new normal. As a family we are adapting; we seek refuge in daily walks in the bush for our allotted exercise and to fill our lungs with fresh air. It is a new ritual. We go to the wilderness to escape the crazy sense of confinement.
My process begins with walking and taking photos. I use the photos as my starting point in the studio. This differs from my previous practice of working solely from life. My fascination with Australian botanicals continues but now they are depicted in the landscape. In the studio I quickly put aside the photos and allow the work to develop from memory, through exploration of form and colour. I work with oil pastels because they force me to work with bold decisive marks. I don’t erase or rub out ‘mistakes’. I don’t overwork the pastels and rarely overlay colours, preferring to place colours side by side.
This body of work is an expression of gratitude for the tracts of untouched wilderness that we find in our neighbourhood offering us a sense of expansiveness in an otherwise narrowed-down world. I know that others are appreciating their local wilderness too because I meet so many more people on the bushwalking tracks.
Viewers will find comfort and a sense of peace in the familiar motifs and the timeless nature of the Australian Bush.”
– Nicola Woodcock
Originally from the UK, Nicola is now a Sydney based artist. Working in her Terrey Hills studio she draws inspiration from the surrounding bush landscape. She finds Australia’s native flora fascinating and different from the flowers she grew up with – the bold forms and colours are so unique.
The relatively crude nature of oil pastels encourages the focus on simple line and colour and promotes a use of decisive, gestural marks directly placed onto wooden panels. The background is filled last, using it to refine shapes and bring out the negative spaces. Generous and deliberate with her use of oil pastels, the directional strokes of her application of colour and texture bring an inexplicable ‘life-force’ to her works.
Nicola’s still life pieces are usually foraged ‘finds’ from her neighbours’ gardens, from the roadside or local reserves. She has taken part in solo shows, open studios and artist’s trails and loves being involved in the art community in her local area.