Gold Coast artist Rae Saheli is shooting from the hip

Gold Coast artist Rae Saheli is preparing to launch her exhibit Trigger: Cause and Effect at the Woolloongabba Art Gallery from 15 – 19 October

After plying her trade for over twenty years, a recent refocusing of priorities helped Rae think outside of conventional parameters by combining her two passions – shooting and art – together to create a unique and mildly controversial artform that combines weaponry and artistic merit.

“Last year I was drawing on my identity and conceptual planning and it was a progression from there,” she said. “One of my loves is clay target shooting and I thought maybe I should incorporate both loves so I started playing around with mainly gun powder and from there decided to start shooting at stuff and it has been a roller coaster ever since.”

Through experimentation by creating artworks involving action, Rae gradually incorporated other elements to the 12 gauge shotgun, setting fire to materials or randomly pouring and moving wax upon a variety of surfaces including plywood panels, glass, polycarbonate, paper and canvas.

“I’m playing around now with the ideas of intention and random,” she offered, “intention being the shotgun and random being the wax. With the wax, you tend to get a lot of serendipity and happy accidents that can come with that and then the 12 gauge is the intention of actually shooting at something. That being said you still get accidents – maybe not accidents – but you can’t control it. When I pull that piece of timber away things can happen, same as the gunpowder. Once you ignite the powder it’s pretty much left for itself to see where it goes from there so it becomes more of a chaotic, random piece.”

Such is Rae’s creative spark for the project she has had to request additional space for the exhibition, with the initial one room proving inadequate.

“So far I’ve got about sixty pieces, she said proudly. “I have had to ask the gallery if I could have a little bit extra room so now it’s not only upstairs, its also in the back part of the gallery so we have two spaces. Adding to the problem is I’m still producing work as I get closer and I’m having to tell myself to stop (laughs). What people are going to be seeing is a variety of work from wax to 12 gauge, gunpowder, sparklers – I use anything that’s got fire to it.”

Individual pieces will be for sale at the exhibition, but Rae says that for now, she is more concerned with exposing her art to an eager audience that the financial side of things.

“Everything is up for sale,” she nodded. “I will be having pieces that people can touch as well so they can feel the wax. The wax itself has got a beautiful quality so I’m inviting people to feel it for themselves. At this stage, I’m just wanting people to come and experience it and get my work out there for others to view and talk about and hopefully from there it takes it to the next level.”

Trigger: Cause and Effect will be held at the Woolloongabba Art Gallery from 15 – 19 October

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