The metal farm gate swings open in a wide arc, my footsteps crunch as I make my way down the dirt driveway.
I move from one enormous gumtree shadow to another as a sweeping paddock of green grapevines unrolls before me. The outlook from the studio of north-east Victorian linocut artist Fleur Rendell is ridiculously romantic. I feel timeless and untethered to the here and now as I enter the studio and stand amongst tall walls of gorgeous rammed earth, artworks in their own right.
The studio is the enviable size of a small home, an artist’s dream space.
Piles of art books teeter on the shelves and the walls hold a beautiful display of Fleur’s framed prints. The high ceilings and storage are to die for. If left to my own devices I would happily snoop through this little house for hours.
Fleur Rendell is a remarkable contemporary linocut artist.
Her career began at RMIT in Melbourne studying ceramics. It was here that she became enamored with the surface of the form more so than the form itself, thus the exploration into printmaking began.
I have admired Fleur’s work for quite some time and her new body of work lives up to (and beyond) expectation; it is a visual delight of rhythmic movement and colour. ‘Abundance’ is now on at Australian Galleries in Melbourne. It is influenced by both the historical concept of paper cut-outs and her sister Zoe’s music.
Fleur and Zoe are very close and the music places an intimate layer into her working process, feeding the personal motivation whilst increasing the emotional meaning and collaborative content of the senses.
‘Abundance’ is strongly influenced by ‘Spring’, a song from Zoe’s band Luluc’s forthcoming album called ‘Sculpture’. Trace of the song’s emotional force can be seen throughout all the artworks.
I am always intrigued by an artist’s philosophy and how they keep themselves motivated in this solitary activity of art making.
Fleur’s work carries with it the intention to uplift the viewer and indeed herself while she works. She concluded sometime back that if she was going to spend her days making artwork it needed to be positive. This optimism then reverberates through her surrounds and the people she loves.
Whilst caught up in conversation with Fleur we are occasionally interrupted by the peaceful snoring of the family’s precious little Jack Russell, catching his mid-morning snooze in this idyllic space, the perfect place to nap.
The new influence of colourful and bright paper cut-outs embodies Fleur’s optimistic work process, and the Australian bush surrounding the studio encourages the form. Looking at the work I can feel the sun and breeze moving the various shapes upon the paper as the botanical forms appear to dance while the colours tenderly evoke the brightness of the Australian bush and the sense of a clear blue sky above.
Remaining motivated, as an artist, is quite idiosyncratic. Fleur is a true maker and relishes the process of her work - it is therapeutic, and she loves to be lost in a project. Immersed in a concept of activity, she humbly remembers just how miserable she was when she wasn’t making art, and knows there is very little not to love about how she now spends her days.
Fleur has the country creative ability to find inspiration everywhere; Mother Nature is very giving in this way. She creates her own source material from her many photographs of her surroundings that she endlessly documents and is stimulated by. As she walks her youngest child to school she takes many photos as they wander along together through the beautiful bush land.
You have the pleasure of seeing Fleur’s work now at the Australian Galleries in Melbourne until the 18th of March. She will also be showing at ‘Off Centre’ gallery in Millawa at the end of the year.
I definitely need a linocut printmaking class with this talented lady - book me in Fleur!
Kate Swinson of Native Swinson, TLSE Art Contributor