'Composition in Blue' opening at Belconnen Arts Centre

You’re invited! Please join me from 6pm on Tues evening Nov 20 for the opening celebration of my wall drawing ‘Composition in Blue’ at Belconnen Arts Centre, Canberra, alongside the wonderful exhibition ‘Made of Holes’ by Lucy Irvine @lucy.e.irvine.

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Annika Romeyn Composition in blue, 2018

Gouache and watercolour on gallery wall, dimensions variable


Composition in blue is an abstract arrangement of intersecting organic shapes, inspired by the night sky and the wonder, mystery and dynamism evoked by stars. Drawn directly on the gallery wall with gouache and watercolour, the swirling, ethereal composition evolved organically with constellation-like relationships emerging as layers were added.

The component shapes are inverted, distorted details drawn from my recent monotype prints depicting relatively small-scale earthly subjects, including rock formations and eroded gully walls. Reimagined and reanimated to the music of The Griffyn Ensemble, the fragmented shapes are intended to suggest the broader reoccurrence of patterns in nature, connecting earth and sky, solid and fluid.

In working directly on the curved wall, I aimed to create an immersive experience where viewers could become enveloped by the shifting, spatial and optical qualities of the drawing. Disappearing into the gallery wall, I wanted my drawing to acknowledge that the stars visible to the naked eye are only a minute fraction of those that exist.

For me, the unfathomable sense of scale and distance associated with the stars is a great source of wonder and humility. I pondered over the fact that by the time the light of distant stars reaches us we are looking deep into the past and I was reminded of Rebecca Solnit’s poetic description of ‘the blue of distance’, which informed my choice of colour:

‘I have been moved by the blue at the far edge of what can be seen... the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go.’

(Rebecca Solint, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Viking Penguin, 2005, p.25)


One Sky, Many Stories

One Sky, Many Stories
What do stars mean to you?
A Griffyn Ensemble collaboration

Belconnen Arts Centre

Main Gallery until 16 December 2018

work in progress, 2018, gouache on gallery wall

work in progress, 2018, gouache on gallery wall

It’s been wonderful to participate in a creative development project at Belconnen Arts Centre and to have the time to experiment with new ideas and processes - I’ve been working away at a large-scale composition of abstract organic shapes drawn directly onto the curved gallery wall with gouache. Many thoughts have crossed my mind while letting the drawing evolve one layer/intersection at a time: the swirling dynamism of galaxies, distance and the fading light as we look further into the past, the blue of twilight and new stars, the relationships between points that become constellations… The shapes I have used are inverted, distorted details drawn from my recent monotype prints of relatively small-scale earthly origins - eroded gullies and rock formations. My work and thoughts have also been a response the music of the Griffyn Ensemble who instigated this project.

What do the stars mean to you? The Griffyn Ensemble, directed by Michael Sollis, have been asking this question since they first performed Southern Sky in 2012, and recently travelled to Tennant Creek to discover and create some more stories and songs about the stars. Members of the Griffyn Ensemble joined Arrernte man Warren H. Williams, Tennant Creek musicians and astronomer Fred Watson in August this year in Canberra for development and performance of this work.

One Sky, Many Stories explores western and Indigenous conceptions of the night sky, as well as personal reflections from a diversity of cultures and backgrounds. Interviews from Central Australians relating to the night sky were projected alongside music performed by The Griffyn Ensemble from their iconic Southern Sky, as a springboard to begin creative dialogue and development of new work in the Main Gallery at Belconnen Arts Centre.

The gallery has been transformed into a site for creative exploration with artists working in the space investigating their ideas and responses to the night sky. This is the ‘embryonic’ phase of creative development, intended to open the possibility that ideas and works beginning here will be developed in more depth over the coming year and be featured in the celebrations and launch of the completed Belconnen Arts Centre in early 2020.

Anyone from the broader community is invited to record stories and reflections on the question ‘what do the stars mean to you?’ through written text, video recordings or by adding a woven star wish to our gallery wall; visit us to experience this Inspiring Australia initiative, which is supported by the Australian Government as part of National Science Week.

Non Human Being

It was a pleasure to be part of Tributary Projects Non Human Being exhibition curated by Grace Blake in September. The exhibition featured one of my large-scale monotype prints along-side work by Kai Wasikowski, Mahala Hill and Tristan Jalleh. Non Human Being focused on the way the biosphere, for better or worse, must respond to the legacy left behind by humans, and envisions a post-anthropocene world in which the environment we have created for ourselves serves other species.  

Biennale of Australian Art

Just over 2 weeks left to see my solo exhibition as part of the Biennale of Australian Art (BOAA) in Ballarat. Verge combines drawing and printmaking processes in response to an encounter with shoreline erosion from my perspective as a kayaker and walker exploring the perimeter of Lake Victoria in Gippsland earlier this year. My work is among great company with 150 Australian living artists showing in multiple venues across Ballarat. You’ll find Verge in an amazing historic bacon factory, the George Farmer Building until Nov 6, open daily 10am - 5pm, tickets at https://www.boaa.net.au/

Verge series install, 2018, George Farmer Building, Biennale of Australian Art, Ballarat.