Shorelines opens at 6-8pm on 19 February 2015 and continues until 15 March 2015. Nicola is also running two workshops in February 2015:
Printed Repeats for functional fabrics – 14-16th February
Looking at colour – 21-22 February
The wild and beautiful coastline around the village of Laurieton on the NSW mid-north coast inspired an uplifting exhibition by Irish-based textile artist Nicola Henley opening at Newcastle’s Timeless Textiles Gallery in February.
“Coming from Ireland, the scale and expanse, intensity of colour and variety of what I saw rolled over me like a wave,” Henley said. “I tried to make some sense if it by drawing and collecting images, capturing some of the aspects of what was affecting me.”
The resulting Shorelines exhibition depicts birds and their movement, with particular emphasis on the dynamics of their spacial relationship within the natural landscape. Henley’s works draw our attention to the delicate balance of nature and to connections between ourselves and the environment.
“Being immersed in such a powerful new landscape I focused, as always, on the birds, and tried to depict the way in which they fitted into the environment, like actors in a vast stage of natural beauty,” she explains. “My focus was on where sky meets land, sea meets sky and land meets sea.”
These sketches and studies later led to larger works in textiles, created by Henley back in her studio in Ireland.
“Trying to hold on to the essence of Laurieton from my drawings throughout the following year, I have created a body of work that represents these memories and their lingering effect on me as an artist. They are pieces that evoke for me the intense moments of observation, my connection with place and nature. I hope that they can give something of this to the viewer in this exhibition.”
In Shorelines, the artist uses a broad range of techniques from dyeing, screen-printing and painting with pigments onto cotton calico, and then collaging the surface using both hand and machine stitch. The change of scale, from bold printing and painting to the intimacy of close stitching, helps to convey the contrasting elements of near detail within the vast open spaces of the surrounding environment.
Nicola Henley completed a degree in Fine Art Textiles at Goldsmith’s College, London in 1984. She has worked as a textile artist since then, exhibiting widely in the UK, Ireland, Spain, Japan, Australia and the USA. Born in Bristol, England she moved to County Clare, Ireland in 1991 to set up a studio and continue working on large-scale textile art pieces.
She completed a short residency in Laurieton last year and is currently in Australia for the solo Shorelines exhibition at Timeless Textiles, Newcastle.