Way out West: Life. Place. Red Dirt

WHEN : 29th April - 15th May
WHERE : Juidth Wright Centre

The ‘Way out West’ exhibition is part of Vast Art’s Artist Development Project, which has endeavoured to give artists in western Queensland with a chance to develop their practice as a professional artist. The project has provided business skills tailored to the art industry, as well as mentoring and interviews with industry professionals, to assist in enhancing the careers of western Queensland artists. This exhibition, curated by Susan Ostling, is the culmination of the Way out West project, and will feature the works of Jennie Bucknell, Sally Campbell, Louise Dean, Nicole Harper, Dawn Head Rose, Lorraine Kath, Penny Langfield, Karen Mayo, Donna Reynolds and Teena Severn.

These artists, from the far west of the State share their inspiration, connection to and presence to the place that they live. Using various mediums including photography, painting, printmaking and words, the artists endeavour to capture the beauty and the harshness of their environment and share their feelings about living and working in one of the most remote areas of our country.

The official opening will be at 6:30pm on Wednesday the 29th of April, 2015, though people may arrive from 6pm onwards. There is free entry, with light refreshments served during the evening. All are welcome to attend.

Life.
The outback and western Queensland is often percieved as a region devoid of rich and diverse life. It is hot, dry, open, endless plains with only the hardiest of living things surviving in it. The people are as dry and as hard as the land.
Look a little deeper and you will find a region that is enchanting and suprising in its array of life. From the smallest wildflower that bursts forth after rain to the family run station with three generations of intuitive and culturally aware families thriving.

Place.
Explore for a moment your sense of place, where do you come from? What anchors you to this place that makes it yours? How do you relate to it and how does it relate to you?
Western Queensland is the anchor for the artists in this exhibition. Many have come to realise that you don’t have to be “born and bred” here to feel like you have always been here and you always will be. Like the red dust seeping into the finest crack, this region is now part of them no matter where they may roam from here. My place.

Red dirt.
The bounty of rain, good seasons, endless beauty in the landscape, strong communities and other miracles of western Queensland can lift you and create a sense of security and importance for ourselves and the part we play in this. Then we are grounded, brought back down to earth and connected once more to the cycle that is life at its barest elements. The people out here know the extreme scale that nature operates on and are grounded by this knowledge. They never lose this sense of connection to the land they have lived on and are the better for it. In good times and bad there is always something you can do to help yourself or others and we are all connected by the red dirt we stand on, no matter what shoes we wear in life.

Cover image courtesy of Lorraine Kath.

Artists: Jennie Bucknell, Sally Campbell, Louise Dean, Dawn Head Rose, Nicole Harper, Lorraine Kath, Penny Langfield, Karen Mayo, Donna Reynolds and Teena Severn.