Stuart Whitelaw & Gillian Wilde At Gallery Bodalla

Treasury, reflections on gold mining and the Deua River by Stuart Whitelaw, and recent watercolours and collage by Gillian Wilde are on exhibition at Gallery Bodalla through to 2 April.

Flowing through wilderness and National Park, the Deua River provides our coastal communities with water for households and food growing. Gold mining has had a profound effect on the river since the mid nineteenth century, causing erosion and siltation. Stuart’s outstanding pastels on canvas explore and celebrate the Deua’s treasury, and contemplate the true price of gold’s toxic legacy.

Stuart said, “When I was camping with family at Bakers Flat on the Deua River, I got chatting with the Parks Ranger. He told me this section of the river was where David Attenborough's film crew got their famous footage of wild platypus feeding and entering their burrows. At home the next morning the local news led with the story of work starting on the enlarged tailings dam at the Dargue's Reef gold mine. The dam will be full of the mining residues and it sits near Major's creek within the Deua catchment. This conjunction was 'a bit of a wakeup call'. I decided to once again investigate this beautiful river and landscape, not as some sort of protest, but just to look at what is at stake.”

Gillian Wilde joins the show with her beautiful, sensitive watercolour and collage birds. As she explores her passion for the natural world, Gillian seeks to catch fleeting yet instantly recognisable moments of delight. The tensions are underlined by the use of space, unusual angles and viewpoints, allowing the subject to flow beyond boundaries. She took part in the Australasian Seabird Group’s artist in residence programme with stints on The Tollgates, Montague Island and other offshore islands, and won the River of Art Eurobodalla prize in 2014.

“My creative world does not exist the wrong side of the looking glass, but in the light of the treetops, the brightness of the sea, sand and salt spray, and the flight of birds. A life filled with adventure and travel has taken me from hitch hiking the Sahara to living and working inside a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. My art has been a constant life-long companion,” Gillian said.

Gallery Bodalla is open Thursday to Sunday 10.30am-4pm or by appointment ph. 0421238174 heritage post office, 66a Princes Hwy, Bodalla.

For further information: Valerie Faber

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