Back to Where I Came From – Dec, 2013

Here are all the pictures from the exhibition. When viewing them you can access a larger version of a particular work by clicking on it.

The exhibition opening night on November 22nd, 2013 was a happy occasion, and you can read more about that in my post for the occasion by clicking here.

As you will see from the captions for each piece of work, the exhibition tells a little of my story. I have described that more fully in my artist’s statement. A copy of that statement appears at the end of this page, and you can also access it by clicking here

Mt Tabby Cat Oil 120x72 cm There was a mysterious hill next to our house, and it was out of bounds or too scary to visit. Probably because a feral cat had once been seen there it became known as ‘Mount Tabbycat’.

Mt Tabby Cat
Oil
120×72 cm
There was a mysterious hill next to our house, and it was out of bounds or too scary to visit. Probably because a feral cat had once been seen there it became known as ‘Mount Tabbycat’.

Breath of Barossa Acrylic and paper on board 120cmx72cm Turning onto the Tanunda road from the Sturt Highway is where you begin to sense the soft shapes, patterns of vines, and brilliant colours of the Barossa.

Breath of Barossa
Acrylic and paper on board
120cmx72cm
Turning onto the Tanunda road from the Sturt Highway is where you begin to sense the soft shapes, patterns of vines, and brilliant colours of the Barossa.

Vine Oil paint and oil stick on linen 90x60cm

Vine
Oil paint and oil stick on linen
90x60cm
The rich red background reflects the colour taken from the grapes. The leaves are golden to signify the value of the wine industry to the whole culture of the Barossa Valley

Nanna's Noodles Air dry clay, plaster, & mixed media on board 54cmx41cm My grandmother always made her own noodles for chicken soup. I remember once accidentally stepping into a sheet of dough as it dried in the sun. Nanna sent me this recipe when we lived in Tasmania. Note she says to ‘dry in the sun—if there is any !’

Nanna’s Noodles
Air dry clay, plaster, & mixed media on board
54cmx41cm
My grandmother always made her own noodles for chicken soup. I remember once accidentally stepping into a sheet of dough as it dried in the sun.
Nanna sent me this recipe when we lived in Tasmania. Note she says to ‘dry in the sun—if there is any !’

Honey Biscuits & Holy Things Plaster, vine and photo transfer on board 54cmx41cm

Honey Biscuits & Holy Things
Plaster, vine and photo transfer on board
54cmx41cm
Visiting relatives in the Barossa usually involved going to church first.
The biscuits came later!
Just like the game of noughts and crosses depicted, I wonder which was the more important aspect of the culture: the spiritual or physical food?

Eggs or Else! Acrylic on linen 76cmx51cm Chicken for dinner was a luxury, and only if a chook did not perform could we eat one with a clear conscience.

Eggs or Else!
Acrylic on linen
76cmx51cm
Chicken for dinner was a luxury, and only if a chook did not perform could we eat one with a clear conscience.

Just a Geranium
Acrylic and paper collage on linen
51cmx41cm
The humble geranium grew in nearly every garden, often overlooked, but thriving anyway.

Broad Beans Acrylic and paper collage on linen 51cmx41cm We ate the whole bean, sliced and served in its grey glory. I loved them! [Note the early 40s’ news about vegetables for the war effort in Papua New Guinea.]

Broad Beans
Acrylic and paper collage on linen
51cmx41cm
We ate the whole bean, sliced and served in its grey glory. I loved them!
[Note the early 40s’ news about vegetables for the war effort in Papua New Guinea.]

Birthday Bonuses Acrylic on canvas 71cmx36cm Dad kept a keg of ‘tokay’ for the parents’ occasional pre-dinner drink. We children were allowed to have a tiny bit when about 7-years old. This increased slightly with each birthday. [The printed pattern is from my grandmother’s table cloth.]

Birthday Bonuses
Acrylic on canvas
71cmx36cm
Dad kept a keg of ‘tokay’ for the parents’ occasional pre-dinner drink. We children were allowed to have a tiny bit when about 7-years old.
This increased slightly with each birthday.
[The printed pattern is from my grandmother’s table cloth.]

This Little Piggy Acrylic on linen 46cmx46cm We heard stories of the great pig killing days, and despite knowing exactly what was in the various resulting sausages, we thoroughly enjoyed them.

This Little Piggy
Acrylic on linen
46cmx46cm
We heard stories of the great pig killing days, and despite knowing exactly what was in the various resulting sausages, we
thoroughly enjoyed them.

Tiny Treats Acrylic on linen 51cmx51cm We would catch the Glen Osmond tram at the Fisher Street corner where there was a deli that sold icecream in little cones for one penny each.

Tiny Treats
Acrylic on linen
51cmx51cm
We would catch the Glen Osmond tram at the Fisher Street corner where there was a deli that sold icecream in little cones for one penny each.

If I Had a Golden Umbrella Acrylic on canvas 76cmx76cm This umbrella belonged to my mother when she was a little girl. It reminds me of the old song, ‘If I had a golden umbrella’.

If I Had a Golden Umbrella
Acrylic on canvas
76cmx76cm
This umbrella belonged to my mother when she was a little girl. It reminds me of the old song, ‘If I had a golden umbrella’.

Eric Pastel 59cmx62cm Kangaroos and emus came out of the scrub to graze in the evening and early morning. Emus are blessed with an incorrigible curiosity.

Eric
Pastel
59cmx62cm
Kangaroos and emus came out of the scrub to graze in the evening and early morning. Emus are blessed with an incorrigible curiosity.

Baby Blue Gum Acrylic on linen 51cmx76cm Blue gum was only really ‘blue’ as new shoots appeared, from old stumps.

Baby Blue Gum
Acrylic on linen
51cmx76cm
Blue gum was only really ‘blue’ as new shoots appeared, from old stumps.

Ti-Tree Time Acrylic on linen 51cmx76cm Wild flowers smothered the scrub in season, especially white Ti—Tree, which we gathered in big bunches.

Ti-Tree Time
Acrylic on linen
51cmx76cm
Wild flowers smothered the scrub in season, especially white Ti—Tree, which we gathered in big bunches.

Mum

Ruby
35x30cm
Oil
Already in her 90’s, Mum was still very skilled with many handcrafts. Tatting was one of her specialities. She made this example for her portrait, going from large to small for perspective.

Sunday Shoes Paper collage and coloured pencil 51cmx61cm Used mostly for church on a Sunday afternoon, these patent leather shoes had to last a long time. I can remember them pinching my toes, so I used an old newspaper clipping to show what I was probably thinking about during the service.

Sunday Shoes
Paper collage and coloured pencil
51cmx61cm
Used mostly for church on a Sunday afternoon, these patent leather shoes had to last a long time. I can remember them pinching my toes, so I used an old newspaper clipping to show what I was probably thinking about during the service.

Pyjamas then Prayers Paper collage and coloured pencil 51cmx61cm I still remember my first prayers, as well as those of my brother, as we slept in the same room.

Pyjamas then Prayers
Paper collage and coloured pencil
51cmx61cm
I still remember my first prayers, as well as those of my brother, as we slept in the same room.

First Friend Coloured pencil, collage & photo transfer on canvas 61cmx51cm Geoffrey Donald (3-years old in this picture) was the eldest of my three younger brothers, and only 13 months younger than myself. He was totally absorbed in anything mechanical, and his first drawings were of electrical circuits. Here he is in his favourite place, dad’s ‘scrap metal heap’. The circuit here is traced from an original, and the paper is from 1946. Just before his 21st birthday Geoff was killed in a road accident.

First Friend
Coloured pencil, collage & photo transfer on canvas
61cmx51cm
Geoffrey Donald (3-years old in this picture) was the eldest of my three younger brothers, and only 13 months younger than myself. He was totally absorbed in anything mechanical, and his first drawings were of electrical circuits. Here he is in his favourite place, dad’s ‘scrap metal heap’. The circuit here is traced from an original, and the paper is from 1946.
Just before his 21st birthday Geoff was killed in a road accident.

Occ Health & Safety Officer Mo 1 Oil stick on canvas 51cmx61cm As most children of the time we were often told to ‘go outside and play’. Angels must have been hovering as we climbed trees, ‘shot’ kangaroos, rode the tractor and seeder, roamed far into the bush, dodged snakes, and generally were allowed to take risks.

Occ Health & Safety Officer No 1
Oil stick on canvas
51cmx61cm
As most children of the time we were often told to ‘go outside and play’. Angels must have been hovering as we climbed trees, ‘shot’ kangaroos, rode the tractor and seeder, roamed far into the bush, dodged snakes, and generally were allowed to take risks.

Occ Health & Safety Officer No 2 Oil stick on canvas [See Occ Health & Safety Officer No 1]

Occ Health & Safety Officer No 2
Oil stick on canvas
[See Occ Health & Safety Officer No 1]

Syd and Perc Oil and photo transfer on linen 34cmx59cm My father and Uncle Syd as children.

Syd and Perc
Oil and photo transfer on linen
34cmx59cm
My father and Uncle Syd as children.

Alan and Ruby Oil and photo transfer on linen 34cmx59cm My mother and Uncle Alan as children.

Alan and Ruby
Oil and photo transfer on linen
34cmx59cm
My mother and Uncle Alan as children.

Only Daughter Acrylic on raw linen 91cmx61cm This is a painting of the actual dress my mother, Ruby, is wearing in the portrait of her and Uncle Alan. Grace wore the dress on opening night.

Only Daughter
Acrylic on raw linen
91cmx61cm
This is a painting of the actual dress my mother, Ruby, is wearing in the portrait of her and Uncle Alan.
Grace wore the dress on opening night.

Back Garden

No 19 (Back Garden)
Water colour
Dad would drift to sleep in a chair under the shade of a huge bougainvillea in the back garden. His working hours were spent in his shed, which was densely packed with machinery and hoardings. He was always able to fix anything.

19 Fashoda St

No 19 (interior)
Ink and paper
The family home in Hyde Park was sold after dad died. This is a diagrammatic drawing of the familiar rooms and décor, with original wallpaper as the background.

White Collar Worker Pastel 75cmx62cm The scarecrow in Josie’s and Simon’s Rosedale garden did little to discourage the bird population.

White Collar Worker
Pastel
75cmx62cm
The scarecrow in Josie’s and Simon’s Rosedale garden did little to discourage the bird population.

Drawings:

Charcoal Pencil

Garden Corner
Charcoal

Still Life Ink brush

Still Life
Ink brush

Fresh Vegies Oil pastel

Fresh Vegies
Oil pastel

Lamps and Stone Jars Oil pastel and graphite

Lamps and Stone Jars
Oil pastel and graphite

Cleaning Up Conte

Cleaning Up
Conte

 

Artist’s Statement:

My art education and teacher training have influenced a multi-disciplinary approach to my work. Just as art students are encouraged to experiment with a variety of media, so I enjoy the challenge of exploring and discovering my own techniques and ways of working in the same way.

Drawing has always been my first preference, as I regard constant drawing from observation as the basis for all art works, both realistic and abstract.  Drawing gives me an immediate and spontaneous interpretation of my world, or of an idea. The choice of media such as soft graphite, oil stick, pastel and charcoal for me are the most suitable means for a bold visual statement.

This exhibition features drawings and paintings in which I have worked with oil, acrylics, pastels and photo transfer.

In these works I have chosen to focus on the narrative rather than the artistic content. This narrative emphasis is a reflection on my early childhood environments and experiences: the immediate post-war years when my father cleared land in the South East of South Australia, and occasional visits to numerous relatives in the Barossa Valley.

My mother and grandmother brought an appreciation of traditional German food and culture into our lives. My father loved the bush, and taught us a comfortable familiarity among and with the various plants and creatures that surrounded our home.

Both parents were originally from the Barossa valley, loyal Lutherans, one from each ‘side’ of the church at that time. Consequently, we were brought up with after dinner bible reading and regular Sunday church attendance (even though that was 18 miles, initially on a dirt road, squashed into a truck!).

In these works I have attempted to catch glimpses of this time past. The techniques used reflect the character of the experience; e.g. the scratchiness of the bush in Ti-Tree Time, the rare and controlled pleasure in Tiny Treats, and the strength of age in Vine.

Since retiring from teaching art from Years 8-12, I have enjoyed working in my studio at home, and intend to explore further the infinite possibilities and variety of expression waiting to be discovered.

I would like to thank my weekly painting group of friends – Hannah Bushaway, Maggie Cecchin, Sue Colyer, and Helen Sidoryn – for their support and encouragement, and for the fun times we have together. We have been working as a group for three years, and without them this particular celebration of my 70th birthday would probably not have happened.

Above all, I thank God for my past and present family and friends, and for the rich and happy experiences that give me such precious memories.

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3 thoughts on “Back to Where I Came From – Dec, 2013

  1. Pingback: BACK TO WHERE I CAME FROM – OPENING – Nov 2013 | Rae Kempe

  2. Hi Rae, after talking to you today at Steve’s funeral, I looked up your blog, and just wanted to say that you are a very talented lady!! I spent quite a bit of time looking at your past & present work, and enjoyed seeing the different mediums you use. I wish we could have come along to see your exhibition in person – oh well, we’ll just have to have a look at what’s left when we’re over in Adelaide again (hopefully early next year). I particularly enjoyed the Vine, & Just Geraniums, but there were many others as well.
    Great to see you and Bob today – safe travelling home, and we’ll talk to you soon.

  3. Finally viewing this Rae as I listen to music on New Year’s Day. The range of media you have used is staggering. Found it deeply moving to view the works with the narrative which is so succinct. Thank you so much for giving this gift on your 70th birthday to us all. Belated congratulations for the day

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