Essay by Luke Foster
“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.”
― Sylvia Plath
I am just at the Sydney airport on the way home from the 5th studio residency I have done at the BigCi in Bilpin the Blue Mountains.
I find the best aspect that brings me back is the opportunity to be part of an Australian and international art community. I also get to make ambitious size installations and drawings.
This year the artists there were Helena Jackson-Lloyd, Rosie Lloyd-Giblet, Yanni van Zijl, all from Queensland, Arianna Pace from Italy, Amalia Foka from Greece, me and Marcus Tatton from Tasmania.
Highlights of the residency were the three dinner parties we had together, the artist presentation night and open day where we presented the work we had made.
The women from Queensland also collaborate on performances and multi-media installations as a group called EchoTrio and also have their individual art practises making paintings, drawings and sculptures inspired by nature.
Marcus made large scale wooden sculptures from felled trees using a chainsaw sometimes left natural and sometimes painted bright colours. I feel his sculptures are about his personal relationship with nature.
Arianna from Italy is quite young, but wise beyond her years and made a collage of text and images from the Wollemi National Park and from her visit to Uluru and watercolours and drawings inspired by nature and Aboriginal drawings. She won a grant to come to the residency. Arianna has many projects lined up for next year in Europe and inspired me to apply for more international projects.
Amalia is a university professor and digital artist from Greece and she made an amazing ten-minute video of stills from the Blue Mountains nature seamlessly linked together and with sounds from hikes all borrowed from the BigCi host Yuri Bolotin. She also won a grant to come to the BigCi.
Also great thanks to Yuri and Rae Bolotin for being such kind and generous hosts who picked me up and dropped me off from Richmond train station and picked up groceries for me. Rae also knows exactly what to say and not what to say to help you realise your artwork as she is an accomplished international artist who has lived and exhibited in China making metal sculpture that are scattered through the BigCi grounds.
For more images of the artworks that the artists made google BicCi studio residency on Instagram.