Thursday, March 31, 2016

Gallery 1
24 March - 10 April
Well Connected

Elsie Randall

Elsie in Gallery 1 with her work done in collaboration with her daughter Tayla
The NAS gallery is going from strength to strength curating and providing opportunities for our vast community of artists.  I managed to catch up with two exhibiting artists over the Easter weekend.  Elsie Randall is an Aboriginal artist clearly passionate about art and Australian indigenous families. Her paternal connection is to the Yaegl people (Maclean/Yamba regions) and Bundjalung people (Ballina/Tweed region) on her maternal side. Her life has seen her fulfil commitments to family from an early age and she continues working across indigenous communities.  Elsie has worked in hairdressing, law enforcement, juvenile justice, Department of Community Services, Aboriginal family support services and as a private Consultant -  training, liaising, producing training manuals to assist with effective and positive engagement with the aboriginal community, children and families.

Elsie is the owner and operator of Free Spirit Art Gallery located at Shop 1/90 Maitland Road, Mayfield West, 2304, specialising in Aboriginal art.  Currently the gallery supports 70 local Aboriginal artists, 30 who live within other areas in NSW and 6 outside of the state.  A major project being undertaken is the development of an Art Foundation aimed at bringing Mutitjulu artists from Uluru for an exhibition in Newcastle later this year.

Elsie says her work is essentially about healing and shared stories.  Some works in the gallery have been undertaken collaboratively with her children, Leigh, Tayla and Kolby and her niece Ebony.  Elsie talked of loading the implement with acrylic paint and dripping the acrylic paint onto the surface.  The paint falls under its own momentum forming beautiful, complete raised dots on the material.  This is Elsie’s signature mark.  The process allows for ‘slowing down’ of the body, taking respite from the outside world, and engaging with the medium and pattern-making story telling.  The tactility of the surface is significant and important.  Elsie attaches her own personal developed colour palette to the works, with individual colours representing states of emotion.  It is a meditative process allowing for discussion and interaction between the artist and the colour and between collaborators.  Each work carries the story on the wall below.

If you are interested in contributing to the Uluru artists’ exhibition project, or talking to Elsie about her work, art or consultancy business in general, contact her at or phone directly on 0401580789.

Gallery 1
 24 March - 10 April
Healing Hands

Jasmine Craciun

There is also a collection of Healing Hands which are ceramic works by Jasmine Craciun on display. Jasmine is an eighteen year old Newcastle local from the Barkindji and Malyangapa people of western NSW.  Jasmine is currently undertakin a Visual Communication and Design course at the University of Newcastle.  Having a love and interest of art since a young child, Jasmine makes her debut entrance onto the exhibiting stage with her work Healing Hands.  Jasmine has drawn inspiration from the stories told to her by artist Elsie Randall.  Her five sculptures tell of the women of the bundjalung nation and their healing hands.  "Healing Hands" represents not only the power in the hands of the bundjalung women but also the culture and history that runs  through the veins of all indigenous people.
Gallery 2
24 March - 10 April

Along the Way with You 
Hannah Simonovich
Hannah in the gallery with her work

Hannah is a Newcastle artist currently living in Maitland.  She has a Bachelor Fine Art from Newcastle University with a double major in painting and photography and is currently studying interior design.  This is her first solo exhibition. The oil on canvas works in this exhibition are the result of travelling with her husband Andrew to California and Arizona in 2014.  Hannah described her process as being about returning and later reconnecting to her experience of being in each space through her visual and emotional memory.  Hannah does not use drawings or photographs as reference, just her personal recollections.

Hannah is always looking at contemporary art and lists J W Turner and the colour palette in Georgia O’Keefe’s works as key influences.  Hannah has several commissions and can be contacted directly if interested in talking to her about a new commission, project or opportunity. Email:  and her website can be found at:

Gallery 2
24 March - 10 April

Someone’s Home

Jeremy Robinson
Work by Jeremy Robinson on display in the entrance to Gallery 2

Artist Statement

Jeremy Robinson’s use of metal and steel to communicate themes of presence and place is both nostalgic and poetic.  Jeremy’s sensitivity and expertise in working his material is evident in his exhibition Someone’s Home.  This Melbourne hailed artist and blacksmith is masterful in this manipulation of metal with his current exhibition a testament to the many years spent refining and perfecting his art practice.  Scaled in the miniature, these narrative objects focus the mind on a world that can’t really be placed, yet is undeniably familiar.  Perhaps drawn from the ocean of Jeremy’s Victorian childhood, or from some iconic story contained within the pages of classic literature, so universally understood is this motif Robinson portrays, of a distinctly coastal way of life.  Presence and place are integral in Robinson’s work who reflects upon the place of the self within these dwellings and in so invites the view to consider their presence amongst the motions of everyday life.

Robinson who primarily works in timber, stone and forged steel explores the materiality of his medium with his recent work incorporating pilaster, marble, lime, shell and scale.  He relishes the deterioration of material, the flaking of paint on a timber wharf, the scale and the rust in the steel structures that reside precariously on our coastline.

Jeremy Robinson undertook training with Bernhard Wyearsch at ArtMetal Work, Melbourne, after which he joined Red Falcon Ironworks, Melbourne.  In 1993 he established his own company Bent Metal for the design and fabrication of domestic architectural steelwork.  He has worked as an industrial blacksmith for Loft & Sons Blacksmiths, Melbourne, and Dumbrell Forge, Wallsend, NSW.  He established an artmetal studio, Fe26 in Newcastle in 2000 and over the past fifteen years has produced a range of public and private commissions.  He is the Design and Technology teacher at the Newcastle Waldorf School.

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