It is through drawing and painting you get to know the bones of a place
Neridah Stockley, 2018
Neridah Stockley: A Secular View is an exhibition spanning twenty-five years of sustained practice by Northern Territory based artist Neridah Stockley and was curated by Gillean Shaw, Art Curator, University of Newcastle Art Gallery. Whist Stockley is best known as a painter, this survey reveals the diversity of her practice including drawings, collage, dry point etchings and a growing body of ceramic work.
The idea of a ‘survey’ plays on the notion of surveying the landscape, whether urban, rural or domestic. Through numerous en plein air encounters Stockley creates a personal record that is later reworked and resolved in the studio. This relationship to space and returning to place was etched in the artist’s mind travelling between Dubbo and the Blue Mountains as a child, and later between Central Australia and New South Wales.
Stockley’s work is characterised by abstracted compositions that hint at narrative or symbolic content, traversing memory and experience in an ongoing dialogue with visual interpretation. Domestic in scale, she invites the viewer to encounter a section of surveyed and deconstructed landscape, through a process of re-visioning the natural and manufactured world into linear and geometric planes and forms.
The exhibition explores the depth of the artist’s oeuvre, presenting Stockley’s individual approach to abstraction, gestural mark-making and lyrical style to create a distinctive visual vernacular.
My work is about relationship to place and space … urban, remote, coastal and domestic; these are long standing motifs. I am not interested in thesis about place. I am intensely interested in historical narratives but not bound by them. Everything is up for re-evaluation and deconstruction … my own ideas included.
My eye likes to travel around and through forms … tanks, buildings, walls, sheds, parks, corners, hills and clouds. I look for the aesthetic value in plain and prosaic things; the grey sacrament of the mundane. Making ‘art’ often happens in strange and unexpected places.
The concerns / the subject / the themes remain the same … but get addressed in new ways of looking and responding. I like the tension between the purity of colour and the ‘absence’ of colour. ‘Raw material’ is a term I think about often, the physicality of paint, timber, paper, pencil, pastel and clay … the way in which materials are handled and resolved.
Neridah Stockley, 2018
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Curator & Artists
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Gillean Shaw With a history of teaching in photo-media and art theory at Newcastle Art School and the University of Newcastle, Gillean Shaw returned to an earlier career in gallery management, working as an independent art curator and artist. In 2007 she launched a very successful artist run initiative, Podspace.
Shaw was also a Director of Field ARI in Newcastle, and has worked with the Maritime Museum and Newcastle Council for contemporary displays of historic content. She completed an MFA in 2002 on the reinterpretation of material culture in an era of the ‘post-museum’ and has curated many group exhibitions. She is currently Chair of the Board for the Newcastle Historic Land Managers and was a lead director of a redevelopment for the old gaol, the Lockup, which become a contemporary arts hub ensuring that historic crown properties are used for community purposes.
Currently the Art Curator for the University of Newcastle, Shaw manages the University Gallery on the university’s main campus as well as Watt Space Gallery, the university’s student gallery in the city. University Art Curator entails management of the university’s extensive art collection that includes nearly 600 Indigenous works of art, and a small museum of Indigenous and Oceanic artefacts which she has co-designed and curated.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Neridah Stockley spent her childhood growing up in Dubbo and Orange, Central NSW and the Blue Mountains, NSW. Stockley studied at the National Arts School in Sydney before moving to the Northern Territory in 1997 living for a year in Darwin and later moving to Alice Springs where she has lived and worked since 2001. Stockley is represented in national and international collections including: Araluen Collection, NT; Newcastle Regional Gallery, NSW; City of Fremantle Collection, WA; Kerry Stokes Collection, WA; Charles Darwin University Collection, NT; and the collection of Parliament House, Canberra, ACT.
The daughter of a civil engineer/draughtsman, Stockley grew up with a curiosity and love for paper and drawing, inspired by her father’s studio environment. Recalling her first experience of painting at the age of three, the ‘physicality and plasticity’ of paint and the ability to ‘build’ a three-dimensional image on a two-dimensional support captured her imagination. At ten years of age, Stockley learnt the concept and techniques of Renaissance perspective, discovering ‘vanishing points’ in the landscape. Constructing ‘windows into space’ through drawing compositions of buildings, bridges, cross-bars and streets was a youthful obsession coupled with an early ambition to become an architect.
Curious about arid landscapes from a young age, Stockley was attracted to ‘space’ and knew she would live in the desert one day. In 1995 and 1999 Stockley first visited the Central Australian desert on art school road trips and later relocated to Alice Springs in 2001. Initially Stockley worked as a remote area art tutor for Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (Nyrrpi), a studio coordinator at Bindi Arts (Alice Springs) and a field officer for Papunya Tula Artists (Kintore & Kiwirrkurra). In 2003, Stockley refocused her attention to her own painting practice. Stockley’s discipline and dedication were acknowledged with her first solo exhibition of paintings and drawings in 2005 at Araluen Galleries, Alice Springs. Institutional acquisitions followed with successful solo shows at commercial galleries in Darwin, Sydney and Alice Springs and preselection for annual national and regional art prizes.
Whilst continually making work of and about Central Australia, from 2008 Stockley has regularly travelled, enabling her practice to respond in-situ to built and natural environments. She has undertaken numerous interstate residencies including Falmouth (2007), King Island (2009) and Wardlaws Point (2011) in Tasmania, The Pilbara (2008) and Fremantle (2013, 2016 & 2018) in Western Australia, Newcastle (2011 and 2016), Hill End (2014) and Hazelhurst (2014) in New South Wales and most recently spent three months in Israel, Palestine and Morocco (2017–18).
Biographical material sourced from “Seeing with the senses: the art of Neridah Stockley”, Anita Angel, Curator, Charles Darwin University Collection and Art Gallery, November 2014, pp. 3–8
Stockley has developed a unique pictorial language that is driven by intuition. This is an approach to painting unshackled from the expectations of technical and academic methodologies. The resulting compositions take up residence somewhere in our subconscious. Each work finds an ongoing resonance; a pleasing and lasting harmony.Michael Reid Sydney, 2017
Neridah Stockley’s paintings are felt as well as seen – trees cast long shadows over a sun-baked campground or fine telegraph wires stretch across dove grey skies. Looking at one of Stockley’s landscapes is like accompanying her on a painting expedition.Michael Reid Sydney, 2017
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