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​Penelope Sai, Edward Wray-Bliss & Philip Hammial

Exhibition opening  - Saturday 14 May  2-4pm

Exhibition on view: 7 May to 5 June 2022




'Medley' -

Penelope Sai, Edward Wray-Bliss & Philip Hammial

Penelope Sai is an emerging Australian artist currently residing in the Blue Mountains. She works in mixed media and her paintings, with their unexpected and lush palette, reflect her love of the Australian landscape’s changing moods in light and colour.

Penelope’s background is in music and she has enjoyed an International career in the jazz world with 5 album releases to date. As a younger woman, she travelled the globe working for more than a decade as an international, high fashion model. 

On canvas, there is vibrancy and movement in Penelope’s work which, like jazz, comes from her spontaneity, her love of improvisation and her deep personal connections to people and places around her. We see the mountains and the Australian landscape yet there are influences from her other lives lived in Paris, Casablanca, London and Munich. Home is found in these paintings but so too the influence of colour and energy from her many recent travels to Rajasthan, Louisiana, Spain and other fascinating and mystical locations. 

Edward Wray-Bliss

The Burnt Gold series of sculptures respond to the catastrophic Australian bush fires. Each of the works in the Burnt Gold series feature a black metal gnarled tree form, a burnt wooden plinth, and singed gold acrylics and/or gold leaf.  These combinations convey a somber but beautiful mood - simultaneously marking the tragedy of the fires and the glimmering knowledge that people and nature will rebuild. 

In Burnt Gold #3 the blackened gnarled-wire tree sinuously emerges from a knot in the burnt wood form. The hollowed-out center of the wooden structure is layered with gold acrylics, which have also been licked by flame. The piece has an ageless quality, evoking a strong sense of solidity and timelessness. 

Burnt Gold #4 - the intricate gnarled-wire tree emerges from a blackened burnt wood plinth, which has been burnished and lacquered to a deep, and beautifully-tactile, gloss. Cracks and fire-scorched scars in this wooden base are subtly inlaid with gold leaf and gold acrylic paint, which have also been licked by flame. 

In Burnt Gold #5 an intricate gnarled-wire tree cascades from and angles towards a glossy burnt wood plinth. A deep rift in the wooden plinth reveals a golden interior, also burnt and bronzed by flame.

Burnt Gold #6 - the blackened gnarled-wire tree wishes to reach beyond the confines of the plinth, evoking a strong sense of movement and refusal of confinement. The plinth has been layered with gold acrylics and subjected to flame, burnishing the ground from which the tree emerges.

The sculpture Cross Purposes utilizes two gnarled wire tree form to evoke a psychological moment: specifically misrecognition - those times that we, like the tree forms, can be proximate to others, and outwardly similar, but blown by our personal histories or characters in opposing directions.    

Windswept - this small tree form explores the gestural. The sweeping, curling branches of the piece give it a strong sense of movement. This tree is a subject curled around itself, a windswept dramatic moment, captured.

Philip Hammial

Why I make sculpture

I didn’t start making sculpture seriously until 1968 & then only because I had a serious accident. While trying to get down to a wrecked fishing boat on a small beach in Sausalito (California) just below the Golden Gate Bridge, I fell from a thirty-five foot high cliff. The object was to remove the compass and other pieces of brass from the pilot house. But the cliff was unstable; I went down in a landslide & managed to break my leg into three pieces, dislocate an arm and rip my chest open.

Lucky to be alive, I was rescued by the Coastguard who had been called by two painters working on the bridge. To make a long story short, I ended up in a body cast from chest to waist to right foot. As I was taking pain killers and was weak from the injuries, I wasn’t able to write poetry (an obsessive and prolific writer) and consequently was feeling frustrated. What to do?

One day two friends loaded me into my big Plymouth 4-door sedan and we drove out to a nearby tip. With me saying Yes or No to objects they pulled from the tip, they filled the boot and, returning to my house in San Francisco, placed them on a large table in the cellar.

Hobbling around on crutches, in two months I made forty pieces of sculpture and have been making it ever since.