Pencil art of a Flower at Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery

Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery Update #4

Art of Human and a animal at Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery
Guests in Mountain wilderness gallery at Cradle Mountain Hotel
Mountains covered with snow near Cradle Mountain Hotel

The Curator’s Blog…

Being alone in the wilderness or on the edge of it is quite a strange and exhilarating experience; certainly one that can aid in the creative process. Comedy genius John Cleese believes that the five factors to creativity are:

  1. Space - to be undisturbed
  2. Time - for play to take place in space
  3. Time – for procrastination
  4. Confidence – to truly be serendipitous
  5. Humour – to aid moving from closed to open

That’s what the Wilderness Gallery AIR (Artist in Resident) program aims to provide…space, time and more time; hopefully with a healthy dose of confidence and humour along the way.

Speaking of humour…published cartoonist, artist and author, Jon Kudelka was the first artist to undertake a residency at the Wilderness Gallery at the end of 2016.

‘Cradle Mountain is a special place and when the opportunity came up to spend some time as a resident artist here, I jumped at the chance. My first response was to focus on the wildlife through paintings on canvas and pyrography on specialty timbers. I’m also working on a book of sketches focusing on people interacting with the World Heritage Area.’

The variable weather gave me the opportunity to split my time walking and working in the studio. One day I swam in Crater Lake in the sunshine and the next I walked into Dove Lake in the snow.’

In February, Phillip England from Tintype Tasmania photographed the people and the place.

‘Nothing is more important to an artist than peace and quiet, time for reflection, inspiring surroundings and a supportive environment. My two-week residency at Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery brought me all these things and more.  I was able to quietly develop and explore creative avenues in the magical wilderness surrounding the Gallery and in the studio space within.’

More recently Noni Howard spent a week taking stock of her past year and what’s next…

‘Usually artists need to write about what they plan to do before they take up a residency.  Being an artist in residence at Cradle Mountain Hotel allowed me to arrive there with an open mind which has in turn given opportunity for me to experience my life in new ways, to contemplate and to set out on new directions in my working life.’

And just finishing a week at Cradle Mountain, well known Tasmanian photographer and drawer, Amanda Walker reflects on her time in this amazing place. 

‘My first glimpse of the mountain with the peak covered in cloud is from the road winding through button grass plains of olive and burnished hues lit with patches of red mountain rocket and beyond, the soft greens of the eucalyptus forests. Nearly there, I know this place since childhood, the creeks winding, tumbling downwards, the tracks criss-crossing, descending into the lush brilliant green of the forests to then clamber upwards again toward the views.

I can walk, drive, or ride a bike from the Gallery toward the mountain. So many people here are the same as me (hi, hallo, isn’t it beautiful, after you, thanks, how long have you been walking) delighted to walk the forest tracks, crossing the little bridges over creeks surrounded by ferns, fagus, pandani, moss and lichens. We are all affected by the sheer beauty of the scenery and not minding the drizzle that gives way momentarily to blue skies and sunshine before closing in again.  

Back at the Gallery I map my shared time outdoors, and from memory other tracks walked, the creeks and tributaries, lakes and tarns. And each day my drawing evolves, reminiscent of veins of a eucalyptus leaf and so I use the detail, patterns and texture of leaves to form ideas of button grass plains, rocky outcrops and forests.

I share my map with visitors to the Gallery; we ignore the official map and trace our way to the Enchanted Walk and Dove Lake area. Visitors enjoy the experience of recognition, that the detail contained in a single leaf can form ideas of the landscape they too are moving through.’

The wonderful thing about these residencies is that visitors to Cradle Mountain and Hotel staff are interacting with artists, sharing stories and observing the habitat together; a shared authentic experience between the arts, tourism and the environment. 

Kylie Eastley

Curator - Cradle Mountain Wilderness Gallery