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I came across Liz’s work at the exhibition Symbols of Loss and Recovery at Montsalvat. So I hopped in my car yesterday and headed out to her studio at Hurstbridge to meet her.  You can see Sugarloaf from her front gate…beautiful view.

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(detail)

I discovered that many years ago, she trained as a tapestry weaver at the then Victorian Tapestry Workshop. Thereafter she set up her own tapestry workshop.  Her work is in the Canberra and Sydney Houses of Parliament. She says that working in tapestry weaving taught her great patience…I can believe that.  It looks like she applies this to creating the detail in her painting.

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(detail)

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(detail)

Having seen some of her other work in her home and studio (above) I was interested to hear the story of her work in Symbols of Loss and Recovery. The exhibition showcases work of local artists who were directly affected by the Black Saturday fires.  Remember Lloyd Godman from The Red Chair event.  Liz’s work at the Montsalvat exhibition is in two parts.  The detail below is from one of the paintings called Respite Repose. Liz had been casting around for a photo of an appropriate landscape for the work. At the local cemetery she noticed an interesting mud brick monument for Reg  Evans and Angela Brunton, who died in the Black Saturday fires. She had known them years before from a time she worked in reception at Montsalvat.  According to Liz, Reg was a key figure at Montsalvat where he ran a Shakespeare Festival. He also put on Dicken’s Christmas Carol there every year. Notable actors like Helen Morse, Kerry Armstrong, John Wood and Roddy Mullinar were amongst the cast. Montsalvat and it’s people have touched lives throughout the area in many many different ways.

From this monument, Liz could see Sugarloaf very clearly and was moved by the view of the burnt trees. She had found her landscape.  You can see Sugarloaf and the burnt trees in the detail of Respite Repose below.

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Respite and Repose (detail)

It’s a large work and the outer boarder is very detailed (see below). The boarder was an attempt to describe the extent of the damage from an aerial perspective. It’s based on a topographical map and gives the impression of the damage from the fires going on forever, which is how it seemed to Liz, moving around her neighbourhood.

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Respite and Repose (detail)

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Respite and Repose (detail)

The second part of Liz’s work at Montsalvat is called Smoke (below) for obvious reasons. The detail of this piece and the atmosphere it evokes is such a powerful comment on the Black Saturday fire.

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 Liz is surrounded by work in her studio.

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The exhibition Symbols of Loss and Recovery will finish up in just over a week. Tomorrow I’m off to see another artist from that exhibition, Leanne Mooney.

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