Exhibition: Nicola Moss | Plants Give Me Hope
Updated: May 30, 2022
January 2021, Arthouse Gallery, Sydney
installation view of 'Plants give me hope' solo exhibition by Nicola Moss, Arthouse Gallery 2021 image source: https://www.nicolamoss.com.au/home-/plants-give-me-hope
Nicola Moss, Sheltered III acrylic and paper collage on linen 125 x 95 cm (framed) image source: http://www.arthousegallery.com.au/assets/content/artists/moss_nicola/2021/plants_give_me_hope/catalogue/nmoss21_plants_give_me_hope_catalogue.pdf
Nicola and I follow each other in instagram (which is very flattering for me), I greatly admire her work. There are similarities in terms of themes and practice, all of which she does much better: her felt connection to plants and her expression of this through her work, and use of mixed media (painting, paper-cutting collage), which is executed in such a meticulous and refined, yet colour saturated way. Her practice of creating elements of her artworks on site and embedding the site into her work (through frottage for example) also draws similarities to my practice.
An excerpt from the exhibition catalogue: "The artist then works intuitively, assembling her materials until she gets a ‘feel’ for the composition before slowly and intricately building the canvas. The work From the moment we met incorporates graphite frottage of rock surfaces in her garden, while In a land of eternity trees features autumn leaves painted en plein air during a residency in Sweden. In this way, each piece of paper has a synecdochic bond to place – physical and psychological." (Walsh, 2021 p. 3)
I appreciate too, her attitude of hope: "This work – and the exhibition as a whole – echoes the words of American naturalist Henry David Thoreau: ‘I have great faith in a seed’ as Moss harnesses hope from the resilience and adaptability of plants. She reflects, ‘I am being optimistic in this body of work – thinking about each seed planted or tree grown, not each one cut down. Plants are amazing, adaptable, and resilient – we are too’." (Walsh, 2021 p. 3)
This exhibition was a year ago now and was not one I got to see in person but I remember poring over the catalogue (including the text).
I've only just found the video (posted below) though and it is lovely to hear her voice, it adds another element of intimacy and depth to her work which I think is lovely.
Coincidentally, just prior to this discovery I did a post in the art journal part of my website where I recorded some audio and embedded it into a post for the first time. I've added an excerpt of this on instagram and asked for feedback: "I'm not convinced I can convey these narratives in painting alone. Technology is an enticing enabler of connection! Where does an art practice begin and end? Would love to hear your thoughts."
It surprises me somewhat the artists these days might not seek to create work across different disciplines given the media that is readily available (for example, most of us have a smart phone which can generate photography, video, voice recordings, edited digital images and a host of apps that can edit, curate and assist with online dissemination / engagment and display. Why just painting?
Walsh, E, 2021, 'Plants give me hope', Exhibition Catalogue Essay, Arthouse Gallery Exhibition catalogue source: http://www.arthousegallery.com.au/assets/content/artists/moss_nicola/2021/plants_give_me_hope/catalogue/nmoss21_plants_give_me_hope_catalogue.pdf
Video source (via her website): https://www.nicolamoss.com.au/home-/plants-give-me-hope https://vimeo.com/groups/640143/videos/539963920