Exhibition opens: Material Obsession

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Above: Olivia O'Connor, Eagles Above My Parents Place, fallen Victoria blackwood and reclaimed redgum.

When it’s as much about the process as the finished work... Earth, clay and wood come together in Material Obsession, as we celebrate and share our passion for natural materials. This is a group exhibition between woodcarver Olivia O'Connor, ceramicist Laura Dortmans and earth painter Lucy Hersey where they explore their local landscape (South Gippsland, Vic) through natural materials.

The exhibition runs until June 26 at Cook Street Collective Gallery in Flinders, Victoria.

Olivia O’Connor is a woodcarver and sculptor whose studio is nestled amongst the rolling green hills of South Gippsland, Victoria. Her practice focuses on woodcarving, working mostly with timber and natural materials, where possible sourcing locally. Olivia's work takes inspiration from the landscape and animals around her studio and from long seaside walks.

Olivia is an established traditional woodcarver and restoration expert. She is excited to be applying her traditional skill set towards non-traditional forms and patterns as she explores contemporary works. Olivia’s practice focuses around a sense of nostalgia and recognition, triggering a memory in both figurative and abstract pieces for both maker and viewer. Olivia studied Furniture Design and Construction at RMIT, has a BA from NIDA in Prop Making and Scenic Art and is a Fellow of the International Specialised Skills Institute for woodcarving and painting.

Lucy Hersey is a painter from Loch in South Gippsland. She works in plant and earth pigments which she grows and forages locally, processing in her garden studio. 2022 has already been a busy year for Lucy, with a solo show in January and group shows in several states, she was also shortlisted for the Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize.

Laura Dortmans makes sculptural and functional ceramics from her studio in the rolling green hills of South Gippsland. Laura has spent extensive periods working in Japan and the USA to develop her expertise in atmospheric firing. In 2021 Laura built two kilns - one gas and one wood fired - to further her exploration of reduction firing and the aesthetics of natural wood ash glaze.

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