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Blue Mountains News

Rochelle Summerfield – A Wayfarer on the Nepean

Source: Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest
Posted: 21 Apr 2017
At Penrith Regional Gallery & the Lewers Bequest until May 21.

The mighty Nepean River and its Great River Walk has inspired artist Rochelle Summerfield’s latest work, A Wayfarer on the Nepean currently on exhibition at Penrith Regional Gallery & the Lewers Bequest.

From her home base beside the Clarence River in Grafton, the artist finds inspiration in riverscapes, and was strongly drawn to the Nepean – so much so she camped at the nearby riverside caravan park during her three-week professional artist’s residency last December. Each day Rochelle walked or bicycled from the caravan park to The Gallery along the banks of the Nepean River.

Her experience of the Nepean River was one of contradiction and love.

“Every day I walked or rode along the track from the caravan park to Penrith Regional Gallery & the Lewers Bequest.  I explored the river banks and studied various aspects of the river along its track.  I felt the heat and relished the shade of the trees, saw the weeds, recorded the birdlife and swatted the flies.  I observed houses encroaching on the vegetation needed to stabilise the banks.  I felt the violence and sadness of litter arrogantly left behind.  I savoured my time here.  I witnessed the community’s affection and engagement with the river and her banks for picnics, weddings, swimming, skiing, rowing and exercising along this great walking track. I thought about how the Nepean River is so much a part of this city and its identity and yet contradictorily estranged, neglected and controlled by it, as are so many of our rivers.” 
 
Rochelle’s artworks puzzle over ideas on identity and transformation through paradox - “The more we domesticate the landscape the more we search to find connection to the ‘wild’ in ourselves and in nature”.

Her latest exhibition A Wayfarer on the Nepean is no exception. Perhaps a true wayfarer herself – a nomad who travels on foot – Rochelle has allowed herself the time to extend her practices of drawing, collage and animation.

Rochelle’s plucky red-shoed heroine – a recurring protagonist – makes an appearance again, this time situated within the rich, lush riverscape of the Nepean. Her powerful, contemporary female form is far greater than the sum of her collaged parts as she defies body image and injects a cheeky spark of humour into the work.

Working with classic media such as pencil drawing, oil pastel and the cut and paste of collage, Rochelle has played, experimented and combined media with new technologies like photography and digital media and recently animation to create A Wayfarer on the Nepean – currently on show at the Penrith Regional Gallery & the Lewers Bequest.

Open seven days a week 9am – 5pm. Entry is free.


Rochelle Summerfield – A Wayfarer on the Nepean

Date:
Until May 21

Venue: 
Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, 86 River Rd Emu Plains

 
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