Group Exhibition – Titled: “AS IF: When and Now” at Queen Victoria Women’s Centre – Karen Robinson Abstract Artist

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No. 4 of 28 Group Exhibition titled 'AS IF When and Now' Women's Art Register at Queen Victoria Women's Centre Melbourne Photographed by Karen Robinson Abstract Artist 1.10.2015.JPG

No. 4 of 28 Group Exhibition titled ‘AS IF When and Now’ Women’s Art Register at Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Melbourne – Karen Robinson Abstract Artist standing by stand with information about the group exhibition – Photographed by Karen’s Hubby 1.10.2015.JPG

 

INTRODUCTION

Art exhibitions have taught me, that art can be a very powerful way to engage with others; a way to captivate an audience’s attention and convey a story about my inner most personal thoughts and emotions.  For myself especially – exhibiting my paintings has been about being able to communicate a soulful message, to highlight important issues; and to give the viewer something to mull over, well after viewing the art work itself.  Hence exhibiting paintings from my Abstract Art Portfolio, has been an important part of my ‘art for therapy’ journey.  NB:  Am now listed as one of ‘Women’s Art Register’s’ Star Artists

 

No. 16 of 28 Group Exhibition titled 'AS IF When and Now' Women's Art Register at Queen Victoria Women's Centre Melbourne Photographed by Karen Robinson Abstract Artist 1.10.2015.JPG

No. 16 of 28 Group Exhibition titled ‘AS IF When and Now’ Women’s Art Register at Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Melbourne – featuring Karen Robinson’s Abstract Painting ‘A Celebration of Womanhood’ on the far left hand side of photo with Karen Robinson in the background.  Photographed by Karen’s Hubby 1.10.2015.JPG

 

GROUP EXHIBITION TITLED ‘AS IF: WHEN AND NOW’

On Thursday the 1st October, 2015 I had the opportunity to be part of a group exhibition titled AS IF: When and Now – Artists from the Women’s Art register/past and present at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Gallery, Ground Floor, 210 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne – Australia.  The gallery space inhabits this building’s glorious historical tessellated entrance foyer and expansive corridor with soaring ceilings which is amongst women specific organisations.  Thus enabling the gallery space to be most fitting for artists from the Women’s Art Register, to exhibit and celebrate 40 years of insisting that women’s art matters (W.A.R. 2015).  The exhibition was Curated by Gail Stiffe and Rosemary Mangiamele and opens on the 30th September and closes on 30th October 2015.

 

No. 4 of 28 Group Exhibition titled 'AS IF When and Now' Women's Art Register at Queen Victoria Women's Centre Melbourne Photographed by Karen Robinson Abstract Artist 1.10.2015.JPG

No. 4 of 28 Group Exhibition titled ‘AS IF When and Now’ Women’s Art Register at Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Melbourne – Featuring a plague with wording that evokes the importance of recognising the need to make sure women have the ability to enrich their lives….  Photographed by Karen Robinson Abstract Artist 1.10.2015.JPG

 

WHAT DOES ART DO FOR THE ART-MAKER?

This group exhibition focuses on what art does for the art-maker.  Artworks selected were based upon the artist’s response to the question of ‘what does art making mean to you/what role has/does art making play in your life?‘.  My answer to this question was the following:

My name is Karen Robinson and I am a painter, story-teller, photo-taker and blogger. I am a self-taught artist, having taken up my childhood love of painting again, later in my adult life. As inspiration for my artwork, I draw on feelings and emotions evoked by situations experienced throughout my life, such as great family moments, family tragedy, career experiences, travelling adventures, current local and world events. With painting, I explore colour and shape as an intuitive way of conveying my story. Once I have completed a painting, I then write its story, so that the viewer may have a clearer understanding about me as an artist and about the painting itself. Art gave me a voice when words were hard to find, or when I did find the words, too hard to say out loud. It gave me a way of moving forward in the most difficult of times… I came to understand that art can be a very powerful way of communication with others…

 

No. 8 of 28 Group Exhibition titled 'AS IF When and Now' Women's Art Register at Queen Victoria Women's Centre Melbourne Photographed by Hubby of Karen Robinson Abstract Artist 1.10.2015.JPG

No. 8 of 28 Group Exhibition titled ‘AS IF When and Now’ Women’s Art Register at Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Melbourne – Karen Robinson standing beside her painting titled ‘A Celebration of Womanhood’ 2014 Acrylic on Canvas –  Photographed by Hubby of Karen 1.10.2015.JPG

 

ART WORK CHOSEN FOR THE GROUP EXHIBITION

Choosing an abstract painting for this particular exhibition wasn’t difficult when considering the exhibition’s focus.  I decided it would be my abstract painting No. 56 Titled:  ‘A Celebration of Womanhood‘.

Abstract Painting No. 56 Titled 'A Celebration of Womanhood' Acrylic on Canvas 97cms Length x 102cms Wide x 3cms Deep by Karen Robinson Abstract Artist - August 2014.JPG

Abstract Painting No. 56 Titled ‘A Celebration of Womanhood’ Acrylic on Canvas 97cms Length x 102cms Wide x 3cms Deep by Karen Robinson Abstract Artist – August 2014.JPG

 

MY PAINTING STORY

Below is my painting story for the above painting ‘A Celebration of Womanhood‘ which I wrote in August 2014.  It is deeply personal but I feel every woman will be able to relate to, understand and appreciate…

My art journey has been about being able to find meaning and purpose in everyday. Much of my earlier art work has been about very personal feelings, emotions and thoughts about loss and grief. But slowly and surely, art has brought me to a place where I look for joy in each and every day!

This painting story will show that art needs to also be about finding your sense of humour, to have a laugh about yourself, a bit of a giggle – it can put a smile on your face and a skip in your step. So I am hoping that by sharing what this following painting was inspired by, will give you a bit of a giggle too. Don’t be surprised and please know it is done in the best of taste. I really wasn’t sure if I was going to share this painting story but after originally promising myself, when I first started painting that I would always be open and honest about my art journey, I realised there should be no exceptions to that promise to myself.

During a recent visit to The Royal Women’s Hospital with the Women’s Health Clinic for a Urogynaecology consultation, I experienced a pelvic floor examination. Now, to my shame, it had been many years since I had such an examination. It is not exactly what every women looks forward to having done. It can be embarrassing but I thought to myself, well I am too old now to be embarrassed and followed through with what was required of me during my examination. All was good until I saw the look on the women’s face, the face of the consultant. Well I was all ‘au naturale’ and perhaps this was just too much of a shock for her or perhaps when you get on in old age, ones private parts are just not that attractive anymore! After asking me a range of standard Urogynaecology consultant type questions, I felt in some regards relieved and in other regards, mildly disturbed.

It brought to my mind thoughts about what women have to go through just by being a woman. First we grow breasts and get periods, we learn about sex, then it is the incredible experience of pregnancy and the birth of children, then it is menopause and then it’s a – Urogynaecology consultation! Our poor bodies do have to go through many changes throughout our lives.

This must have been playing on my mind because on my return home that day, I decided to start another painting. I got the new white canvas out and began to draw directly onto the canvas as per usual for me. During the process, the lines and swirls began to form an image to me – it looked like a vagina. I thought yes – it is a vagina! I decided that I wanted to paint with all new colours, bright, happy, joyful and beautiful colours; colours that would celebrate women’s womanhood – this strange and interesting journey we embark on throughout the course of our lives…

Written by © Karen Robinson August 2014

 

PHOTO GALLERY OF EXHIBITION

As my husband and I strolled around the gallery space and read the stories that accompanied the art works, I couldn’t help feeling that I was in a special place.  It was just so peaceful and it was easy to become lost in the art work itself.  But in saying this the true star of the exhibition was the building – the very beautiful Queen Victoria Women’s Centre.

 

No. 19 of 28 Group Exhibition titled 'AS IF When and Now' Women's Art Register at Queen Victoria Women's Centre Melbourne Photographed by Hubby of Karen Robinson Abstract Artist 1.10.2015.JPG

No. 19 of 28 Group Exhibition titled ‘AS IF When and Now’ Women’s Art Register at Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Melbourne – Karen Robinson Abstract Artist admiring another artist’s artwork – Photographed by Hubby of Karen 1.10.2015.JPG

No. 5 of 28 Group Exhibition titled 'AS IF When and Now' Women's Art Register at Queen Victoria Women's Centre Melbourne Photographed by Karen Robinson Abstract Artist 1.10.2015.JPG

No. 5 of 28 Group Exhibition titled ‘AS IF When and Now’ Women’s Art Register at Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Melbourne – Karen’s Hubby reading up on the exhibition details in the beautiful entrance of the gallery space.  Photographed by Karen Robinson Abstract Artist 1.10.2015.JPG

 

AFTER THE EXHIBITION IT WAS TIME FOR COFFEE!

After viewing the exhibition my dear husband and I walked towards the back of the magnificent Queen Victoria Women’s Centre only to discover a delightful courtyard surrounded by tall city buildings.  Here we found an irresistible Max Brenner Chocolate Shop where we ordered coffee and sat by the window looking out onto the court-yard, admiring the beautiful Melbourne spring day.

 

No. 27 of 28 Group Exhibition titled 'AS IF When and Now' Women's Art Register at Queen Victoria Women's Centre Melbourne Photographed by Hubby of Karen Robinson Abstract Artist 1.10.2015.JPG

No. 27 of 28 Group Exhibition titled ‘AS IF When and Now’ Women’s Art Register at Queen Victoria Women’s Centre Melbourne – Karen Robinson Abstract Artist looking out from the Chocolate Shop towards the court-yard behind the centre.  Photographed by Hubby of Karen Robinson Abstract Artist 1.10.2015.JPG

CONCLUSION

M‘art for therapy’ journey has once again given me an opportunity to share my experience.  How lucky am I to have had this opportunity to exhibit a of my abstract paintings at the Queen Victoria Women’s Centre with the Women’s Art Register organisation.  And it was a wonderful bonus, in being able to spend, a lovely day with my dear husband, on one of Melbourne’s beautiful spring days!  Art therapy – at its best for sure….

© Karen Robinson, October 2015

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  My Art Therapy JourneyA window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytellingby Karen Robinson

Solo Exhibition – My first titled: “When words are hard to find” at Gee Lee-Wik Doleen Gallery – Karen Robinson Abstract Artist

While you are here – please check out my home page!

 

 

No. 40 - 'When words are hard to find' Solo Exhibition of Karen Robinson 6.5.15 Gallery ready for Opening night at Gee Lee-Wik Doleen Gallery for Exhibition.JPG

No. 40 – ‘When words are hard to find’ Solo Exhibition of Karen Robinson 6.5.15 Gallery ready for Opening night at Gee Lee-Wik Doleen Gallery for Exhibition.JPG

 

INTRODUCTION

 

Art exhibitions have taught me, that art can be a very powerful way to engage with others; a way to captivate an audience’s attention and convey a story about my inner most personal thoughts and emotions.  For myself especially – exhibiting my paintings has been about being able to communicate a soulful message, to highlight important issues; and to give the viewer something to mull over, well after viewing the art work itself.  Hence exhibiting selected pieces of my Abstract Art Portfolio, has been an important part of my ‘art for therapy’ journey.

 

Special Note: Transport Accident Commission Victoria made a short video of myself on the opening night of the exhibition. I talk about how my art has been a form of therapy over the last five years since the death of my son who had been killed in road trauma 5th November 2009. A very big thank you to TAC’s CEO – Janet Dore for seeing the value in spending the time and money in capturing this very special moment in my life. Link: http://www.tac.vic.gov.au

 

On Wednesday the 6th May, 2015 I had my very first solo exhibition titled ‘….When words are hard to find at Gee Lee-Wik Doleen Gallery, Hume Global Learning Centre, Craigieburn, Melbourne – Australia.  It’s a Hume City Council solo exhibition which features 16 of my abstract paintings that ‘offer an intimate perspective of loss and growth, from an impressive collection’ – the Hume Major, Councillor Adem Atmaca had said.  They range from 2008 to 2015 and will be on public display during May and June 2015.  NB:  None of my paintings are for sale, they are just to personal to sell but I hope that by sharing my art work alongside of their painting stories – will help others to understand that using ‘art for therapy’ can help improve ones sense of wellbeing.

 

 

 

 

ART WORK CHOSEN FOR THE SOLO EXHIBITION

 

Choosing which abstract paintings for exhibition was difficult, as I had not had a solo exhibition before, and therefore could choose from my whole collection of some 60 abstract paintings I had completed over the last 7 years, from 2008 to 2015.  After consulting the Gallery Curator – Tobias Hengeveld, I decided to invite him to my home art studio and view all of what I thought to be my best works and see what he thought.  We viewed each abstract painting, discussed its merits and gradually put together a range that both of us were happy with; then reduced the number to just 15 paintings all up for the exhibition.  Later, I added one more, a painting I had just completed and felt it was a good addition.  Once the paintings had arrived at the gallery, three days before the solo exhibition, it became clear to me, that we needed to add in two additional paintings to complete the overall feel and look of the exhibition.  After discussions with Tobias and taking into account the space available, one other painting was withdrawn, which meant, we now had a total of 17 paintings for the solo exhibition.  Below is a slide-show of the paintings currently on exhibition at the Gee Lee-Wik Doleen Gallery – Craigieburn, Melbourne – Australia.  NB:  Abstract painting stories can be found by clicking on Abstract Art Portfolio.

 

 

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PRESENTATION FOLDER FOR OPENING NIGHT – A Keepsake for Viewers!

 

In preparation for my solo exhibition, I was asked if I would be giving anything out to those who came on the opening night. After some reflection, I decided to produce a presentation folder that would make a small statement. I wanted to make sure that the viewers of the art work, would have a deeper understanding about me as an abstract artist, about my ‘art for therapy’ journey and how through my painting stories, I had come from ‘…when words are hard to find’ to ‘finding joy in every day’!

So I set about producing a presentation folder that firstly had an abstract painting on its cover.  Whilst all the covers were the same format, each I painted individually which meant each folder was unique.  Inside the right had side cover, I placed a copy of Hume City Council’s Media Release and an artist’s statement which read:

Hume Artist, Karen Robinson is a painter, story-teller, photo-taker and blogger.  Karen is a self-taught artist, having taken up her childhood love of painting again, later in her adult life.

As inspiration for her artwork, Karen draws on feelings and emotions evoked by situations experienced throughout her life, such as great family moments, family tragedy, career experiences, travelling adventures, current local and world events.

With painting, Karen explores colour and shape as an intuitive way of conveying her story.  Once she has completed a painting, she then writes its story, so that the viewer may have a clearer understanding about her as an artist and about the painting itself.

“…Art gave me a voice when words were hard to find, or when I did find the words, too hard to say out loud.  It gave me a way of moving forward in the most difficult of times…I came to understand that art can be a very powerful way of communication with others…”

In June 2009, Karen took part in a community exhibition called Ways Out – Journeys through Recovery” at Synergy Gallery, Northcote as part of the High Street Northcote Visual Arts Festival.  Karen has also participated in Transport Accident Commission (TAC) Exhibitions called “Picture This” in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.  TAC’s ‘Picture This’ Exhibition provides people who have been affected by road trauma, the opportunity to use artistic expression to share their experiences.

In 2014, Karen was a recipient of a ‘Hume City Council Arts Award’ for ‘Professional development Grant’ in the category of Established Visual Artists.  Hume City Council’s Solo Exhibition of Karen Robinson’s paintings will run from Thursday 7th May to Sunday 26th June 2015.”

 

 

Inside the presentation folder, on the left hand side, I included a single page for every abstract painting being exhibited, along with its painting story.  I felt that each and every person attending on the night would not only be able to read the painting story from their given presentation folder, but would also take away with them, a piece of shared memory of my solo exhibition that they could reflect upon afterwards; they could share with family, friends and work colleagues.

 

 

PREPARATION OF ARTWORK FOR TRANSPORTATION

 

My dear husband prepared all the abstract paintings for transportation.  Each painting was carefully wrapped in bubble wrap, to ensure it would not get damaged during its transportation, nor during the handling process of packing and unpacking of the paintings.

 

 

 

 

PREPARING THE GALLERY FOR OPENING NIGHT

 

Once the abstract paintings had been delivered to gallery – my husband and I went about helping Tobias,the curator, as best we could, in setting up the gallery.  Walls had to be freshened up with paint and some walls completely repainted.  I unwrapped the abstract paintings of their bubble wrap cocoons and lent them against the stark whitish walls.  Tobias worked his magic and decided which should go where within the gallery to ensure each painting complimented the other.  He then masterfully hung each painting, printed up the text captions which under his instructions, I placed below each painting.  Tobias placed onto the wall the name of the exhibition and it was then official – the exhibition of ‘…When words are hard to find’ was now about to happen. I took a moment to reflect!  We vacuumed the flooring and Tobias set about doing the process of considering what lighting needed to be where, to ensure each abstract painting was properly featured and shown at its best.  Then the TV monitor was put in place, so that the TAC video interview of my self back in 2011 about art for therapy, could play continuously in the back ground during the opening night and during the public exhibition hours forthcoming.

 

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GALLERY READY TO GO!

 

After all the work had been completed and with the abstract paintings all hung and lit, it was with some pride and amazement that I felt when standing back and taking a good look at my art work.  I felt very privilege to have had the opportunity to have this solo exhibition, where I was able to share my ‘art for therapy’ journey with family, friends, colleagues, gallery curator Tobias Hengeveld, Jacqueline Grenfell – Arts and Cultural Planner at Hume, Hume City Councillors and other community members within my home region of Hume. Thank you all …

 

 

 

VIDEO BEING SHOWN DURING EXHIBITION ALONG SIDE OF PAINTING TITLED ‘The Life of Our Son Ben’  2010 – Acrylic on Canvas

 

The monitor was strategically placed along side of an abstract painting that I had painted for my only son who had been killed in a single vehicle car crash on the 5th November, 2009 – just before his 26th birthday.  I had to do a painting to celebrate his life; to know that the time Ben was here with us, was a treasure, shared by so many.  Ben was loved and cherished and will be missed so much by all, but mostly by myself – his mum, his dad and his sister.  Each band of colour represents a year of Ben’s life from being a baby, toddler, small child, older child, teenager through to becoming a fully grown young man.   Each colour represents different emotions, feelings, experiences and growth that Ben achieved in his life with us.  The sphere represents the worlds of people he had in his life; his own family, extended family members, work colleagues, girlfriend and best mates.

 

 

 

 

Details in relation to the Video – Transport Accident Commission (TAC) CLIENT VIDEO: Featuring Karen Robinson talking about using ‘art for therapy’ for TAC’s 2011 ‘Picture This’ Exhibition.  It is “now in its fifth year and provides people who have been affected by road trauma to use artistic expression, whether it is drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, photography or textiles, to share their experiences.  The exhibitions showcase artwork by people who have either taken up art since being involved in a  transport accident, or who were artists before their accident“. TAC (2013). Client art exhibition – Picture This 2013. Retrieved from TAC

 

 

 

 

TAC also attended this exhibition and interviewed me, once again and photographed some of the opening night – a big thankyou needs to be extended to Janet Dore – TAC’s CEO for believing that my ‘art for therapy’ journey is worthy of such time, effort and expense…  Hopefully by sharing my story with TAC Clients, will help others find their voice by taking up a passion – “…when words are hard to find’ and reach a place were they can find joy in every day…

 

 

SOLO EXHIBITION OPENING NIGHT EVENT

 

The opening night of the solo exhibition was a very special moment for me.  To be joined by family, friends from Kangan Institute Broadmeadows and work colleagues from Road Trauma Support Services, neighbours, along with Hume City Councillors, TAC media representatives and the gallery curator, my dear husband and my darling daughter and her good husband – was a moment that I will remember well.  Some of these people knew about the fact that I painted, but had not really had the opportunity to view the paintings in such a way, nor had they had the opportunity to read each of these painting stories until this moment.  It was very satisfying to see people take the time to read and view each painting.  I felt I had been given the chance to reveal what I had been thinking, I finally got a change to say out loud what I had been holding in for many years.  I had come from ‘…when words are had to find’ to a place where my voice was being heard through my abstract paintings and my painting stories.  It was a good feeling!

 

 

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A TRIBUTE TO MY DAUGHTER WHO TOOK PHOTOS ON THE OPENING NIGHT

 

A big thank you to my daughter who kindly took photos for me on the opening night of my solo exhibition … thank you.

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

 

It was a humbling experience to have people take time out of their lives to share this moment with me.  I hope they took away an experience that will give them something to ponder about; to get them thinking about the value of ‘art for therapy’

I wish to repeat these words of mine, for they really state it clearly my thoughts about my ‘art for therapy’ journey:-

 

“…Art gave me a voice when words were hard to find, or when I did find the words, too hard to say out loud.  It gave me a way of moving forward in the most difficult of times…I came to understand that art can be a very powerful way of communication with others…”

 

M‘art for therapy’ journey has taken another turn.  My paintings, along with their painting stories are reaching out to others.  How lucky am I to have had Hume City Council give me this opportunity to have my very first solo exhibition.  It does not matter, if there will not be another, just having this one has been most satisfying.  Art therapy at its best for sure….

 

 

Whilst you are here – please check out my home page!  My Art Therapy Journey – A window into the soul of an Abstract Artist through art therapy and storytelling…by Karen Robinson