Wednesday, March 10, 2010

art cafe - tanja riese

I've just got back to the creek after a delightful time at the Bega Valley Regional Gallery 'art cafe' lunch time chat by Tanja Riese. Tanja's solo show 'Journey of Arrival' is currently on exhibition. Man is it FANTASTIC - if you are anywhere near the BVRG you should catch the show before it closes on March 20.

(here's Tanja - after the chat and looking thrilled that I'm making her stand for a piccie
and those are two of her larger charcoal drawings - I want them!)

Tanja is the second recipient of the Far South Coast Living Artist Project (phew that's a mouthful - fortunately most of the time its referred to by its acronym - FSCLAP) Hey - did anyone in oz catch 'artscape' on ABC TV a couple of weeks back? - when the 'living artist film' was shown? (what a hoot!) wellllll you would have caught a snippet or two of Tanja - and I'm sure you'd understand why just about everyone down this way was delighted that she received the living artist scholarship..... this exhibition is the result of her time under that scheme.

Tanja gave a delightful, natural and unassuming talk today to a super-packed gallery audience (I've never seen this many folk attend a lunch time chat - they were madly searching for additional chairs from all corners!). It was insightful to hear her speak about the materials and process of creating this body of work. Most folk (myself included) were very taken by her large charcoal drawings - which we discovered were based on natural little treasures that she collected on daily walks. Her large drawings were amazingly controlled and precise and executed on deliciously warm paper. We found out that Tanja coloured her paper with earth pigments (found, ground, sifted, mixed with water and acrylic binder then applied with a brush) and this gave the surface both a lovely blush of pinkish terracotta or ochre and a nice tooth for the charcoal to grab. Yummy work!

Also in the exhibition were numerous prints (Tanja is best known as a printmaker) - but I'm so stooooopid when it comes to printmaking that I'm not game to even try to relate her explanation of process and materials (I got lost after she started talking about etching and acid and something, something mangle, something, something brush..... see! I'm lost!) the massed displays (sorry my piccie didn't' turn out) were really striking

as was the grid arrangement of shellac and graphite 'free' drawings

(hopefully this is the shellac/graphite work - please forgive me Tanja if I've got it wrong!)

 (5 large charcoal works by Tanja - great aren't they)

I can't say enough good things about the work, the gallery talk or the artist herself - a class act all the way - don't miss the show!


  1. WOW. I've heard the name but not really associated it with a body of work - now I can see I was missing something! And I'm SOOOoo envious of what appears to be (although probably isn't) such confidence with working large. I feel very timid at the moment: everything is small and I can't seem to make it larger. Oh well! Inspirational to find out about her work on your blog, Ronnie, Thank you! Sara

  2. Tanja is an absolutely lovely person - one day if you're down this way you'll have to meet up (actually if you were down here over Easter she is holding an open studio.... have you noticed how I'm always coming up with excuses for everyone to visit the far south coast!)

    I wish I could have recorded Tanja's chat for you! - there she was lamenting how hard it was to try to break out of her smaller working format and WORK BIG....

    and although I'm showing a lot of her large drawings she also had some exquisite small prints - some of which she arranged to create larger works

    some of her small prints included wattle gums and other intriguing materials..... gorgeous stuff all of it!

  3. Those drawings are so gorgeous! I LOVE charcoal and shellac and that sort of stuff.
    Seems like you've recovered from your hectic time - enough to attend this anyway. I am jealous!
    Off to google Tanja Riese...

  4. Thanks Ronnie, i work 100 metres away and forget to go. I hope their are some of her tiny etchings there as well. What a talent.

  5. please excuse the spelling of their!!!!


thanks for all your lovely comments - your words are greatly appreciated xx