Local artists make a solid gold effort for HOTA gallery opening

The Gold Coast is a-buzz with excited chatter around the opening of the new HOTA Gallery at the Home of the Arts precinct in Bundall. But amongst all the enthusiasm about the huge opening weekend, funky design, epic concert, new restaurant and rooftop bar, we thought we’d better take a closer look at some of the locally-connected artists whose brand new pieces will be displayed in what is actually the most critical part of the entire shebang – opening exhibition ‘Solid Gold: Artists from Paradise’.

Presented throughout the Gallery and the surrounding HOTA parklands, SOLID GOLD: Artists from Paradise (8 May – 4 July 2021) will include large-scale sculpture, weaving, textiles, ceramics, painting, photography, immersive video and installation.

“You don’t get to call yourself Home of the Arts without having a deep commitment to local artists,” explains HOTA CEO Criena Gehrke. “The Gold Coast has a rich history of innovation and creativity, so it’s absolutely fitting that we’re putting our local talent front and centre in the first ever exhibition in the new Gallery.”

Let’s hear what four of the artists had to say about the upcoming exhibition. 

CJ ANDERSON (pictured)

Can you tell us a little about your piece for the Solid Gold Exhibition and what it represents about your practice in general?

My work for Solid Gold explores themes of inheritance and embedding emotion into material. These are an evolution of my commercial furniture practice exploring conceptual outcomes in the form of sculpture. This work represents a new vein in my practice and is brand new never-before-seen work.

Give us an insight into the process of creating your work and any challenges you have faced and overcome in the process.

The process of developing the work was quite cathartic and therapeutic. I found out a lot about myself during the making of the work and it was a chance to interrogate who I am. Memorable moments have been being able to share having work in the new gallery with my sons. Most of the challenges that I had to overcome were quite personal in nature as this work is a reflection of who I am and gave me agency in the making process.  

ERICA GRAY

Can you tell us a little about your piece for the Solid Gold Exhibition and what it represents about your practice in general? 

My piece ‘Ghosted’, is my interpretation of a sea creature and is displayed in the Solid Gold exhibition, within the courtyard just outside the children’s creative studio.

‘Ghosted’, the title of my sculpture, shares a similarity and a connection to ‘Empathy’, this idea of connecting and sharing a similar emotional feeling with others. A feeling of connection made more prominent by its removal (an emotional void) and I hope my sculpture evokes connection with the viewer, as well as an empathetic connection and understand of what we have to lose if sections of the environments are destroyed and removed.

Give us an insight into the process of creating your work and any challenges you have faced and overcome in the process.

Soft sculpture, also refers to the soft materials used, and the fluffy exterior of my work is made from beads, tulle and Lycra. As well as production techniques such as hand-sewing, beading and crochet have been utilised to create the various textures in this piece. Often my sculptures are a play on human, animal hybrid imagery and I’m very interested in how others see the connection between us, animals and our environment. I’m obsessed with nature and especially the forms and colours of sea creatures and corals.

JASON HAGGERTY

Can you tell us a little about your piece for the Solid Gold Exhibition and what it represents about your practice in general?

My work ‘Humectant Displacement’ is part of an ongoing meditation on the Gold Coast shoreline. Existing as a large video projection, it utilises real-time data to form a visualisation that moves and undulates like the crashing of waves. It is coupled with sound design by Jay Jermyn, who created an expansive soundscape using field recordings from across the Gold Coast.

What does it mean to you to be selected as one of the first exhibiting artists at our spectacular new gallery?

It’s a fantastic opportunity and experience! It feels surreal to be afforded such a platform, especially in a city with so much talent.

What is your connection to the Gold Coast?

I grew up and lived on the Gold Coast until very recently, where I moved south (smack-bang on lockdown). My arts practice was established and fostered on the coast, bouncing between HOTA, The Walls, and the Gold Coast Queensland College of Arts. 

CLAUDIA DE SALVO

Can you tell us a little about your piece for the Solid Gold Exhibition and what it represents about your practice in general? 

My installation for Solid Gold is a reflection on the natural materials used in my daily practice as a ceramicist. Clay, like many of the things in our daily life, comes from mined materials. Through the application of heat and time, it is transformed into ceramic, a material that will last thousands of years. I never want to take this transformative quality for granted, this body of work has allowed me to meditate on the materials and process that allows me to create art objects as well as pieces for everyday use.   

Give us an insight into the process of creating your work and any challenges you have faced and overcome in the process. 

The sheer quantity of pieces needed in this installation meant that the work was fairly labour intensive to create. I started by testing how different shaped vessels would break down when filled with water in order to develop a form that visually conveyed the idea I was trying to get across. I then created variations on that form, throwing over 100 pieces that were then fired to varying temperatures, with some being left green (unfired), some taken all the way to stoneware (fully vitrified ceramic) and many somewhere in between. This means that when the vessels are filled with water, people will be able to see the gradual transformation from clay to ceramic depending on how pots fired to different temperatures break down.  

 

Solid Gold: Artists from Paradise runs at the HOTA Gallery from 8 May to 4 July 2021. Visit hota.com.au for more.

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