Three artists celebrate the beauty and vigour of Bundjalung National Park.
Christine James’s luminous paintings in oil recall walks along the Park’s sandy tracks through sedgeland and flowering heath. Beth Hatton presents woven and stitched native plant materials, combined with fragments of settler culture to form exuberant assemblages. Janet DeBoos shows handsome wheel-thrown porcelain pots richly decorated with botanical detail.
Now living in the Northern Rivers, Christine James remembers many weekends and vacations spent at the family’s holiday house at Evans Head, particularly accompanying her father and brothers on whole day fishing expeditions. Her father taught her to read ecological marking points as navigational guides in the landscape of the coastal fringe where he so loved to fish, while her mother, who was an honorary ranger, developed her appreciation of the minutiae of heathland flora. James draws on both influences in her paintings of heath and estuaries.
Now Canberra-based, Janet DeBoos often visited Evans Head where her parents owned a motel and restaurant for many years. Janet trained as a botanist before taking up ceramics. Her current work expresses aspects of the Australian landscape through the use of Chinese decorative arts conventions.
She writes: ‘I am transfixed by small flashes of colour in what may sometimes be seen as ‘drab’ country, as they draw me into an examination of the beauty of small things. This is a way to enter into a big landscape and a way to find one’s way in the world.’
Beth Hatton grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan before migrating to Australia in 1976. Although now living in Sydney, she finds herself drawn to aspects of rural life reminiscent of her days on the farm, as well as those Australian landscapes which evoke the vast open spaces of the Canadian prairies.
In exploring Bundjalung Park, some parts of which afforded the expansive views she finds so potent, she was amazed by the Park’s health and diversity. She was also interested to read some social histories of the area. In this show she refers to both of these aspects in a series of works honouring the resilience of the native flora and fauna which are overtaking most traces of earlier mining and farming.