Australian Artist's Journey of Reconciliation

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An Australian artist recounts the uneasy alliance of belonging to one's country, in histories past and present, ancestral and cultural. Naomi Howard's 'artist studio' embraces both the intimate and isolated landscape of Tasmania and the open desert of Central Australia. Straddling these opposing landscapes, studio walls become the dreaming place for cultural belonging and personal reconciliation.

Tasmanian painter Naomi Howard returns to The Sidespace Gallery, 77 Salamanca Place Hobart, with "". The exhibition opens on the 5th March at 6pm and is open 10am -5.30pm daily until the 13th March.

Following her ancestors, Naomi Howard served as ship's carpenter during the First Fleet re-enactment aboard the tall ship One And All. On entering Sydney Harbour amidst the Bicentenary celebrations, the artist threw into the water a memorial wreath she had made from Australian native flowers. She knew then that she would enter Aboriginal Australia for the first time. Later, whilst living in remote communities, Naomi painted side by side Aboriginal artist Lorna Fencer Naparrula.

Naomi travels lightly, unrolling a canvas held at four points by found rocks, and painting there and then on the earth. During October and November last year Naomi spent a couple of months camping in the Central desert, impressed by the vast and open stillness, the stark uncluttered exterior. "As if my mind had taken its lid off…"

In "Red Sandhill Horseshoe Bend" local features are striated in simple rhythmic bands. In "Pitjatjantjara Country", blue and green balls roll across copper reds, guarded by two black cockatoos. Repetition of line and form are almost like textiles; Naomi brushmarks distil the land's core elements.

Recently returning to Tasmania the artist turned inwards and turned her cupboards out. While making an effort to de-clutter her home, she found she could enter effortlessly into an interior stillness. In "The Open Window" the details in her canvas pare down to a few colours, a few objects, and those things that are directly in front of her. In "Harvey Street" interior becomes exterior, as the artist's mind expands. Again black cockatoos are vigilant overhead.

Naomi Howard's paintings prompt us to consider how much of nature we are prepared to allow in and simultaneously how much of our own natures inform the landscapes that we live within. Can we be still long enough to find out?

For additional information visit Naomi Howard's "The Artist and Her Studio" link on the Artless Studio and Gallery website, below.

The Sidespace Gallery where Naomi regularly exhibits is upstairs beside the Long Gallery in Salamanca Place Hobart. Alternatively Naomi' s own Artless Studio and Gallery is open to the public every weekend and public holidays.

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Naomi Howard
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