Back row: Megan Alice Bouwer, Olive Gill-Hille, Kartika Laili Ahmad, Moira de la Hunty, Kuan Jia, Margaret Dillon, Gabrielle Scott.
Front row: Imogen Kotsoglo, Celene E. Bridge, Jordy Hewitt, Mossy Jade Johnson.
Coinciding with International Women's Day 2023, Dilettante presents 'Veoir', an exhibition featuring the work of twelve remarkable Western Australian artists. Veoir brings together works spanning a wide variety of media, from drawing and sculpture to light installation. We took some time with each artist to discuss their unique approaches and personal practice.
Celene E. Bridge
Can you tell us about the inspiration behind the many worlds you depict in your paintings, and how animals became a recurring subject in your work?
I draw inspiration from my dreams and Greco-Roman mythology, and use painting as an outlet for my thoughts and feelings. I was raised appreciating nature, and that fascination remains. Throughout history, society has been raised by animals in fable, myth and legend. Naturalist Georges-Louis Leclerc de Buffon wrote, “If animals did not exist, man would be even more incomprehensible to himself."
Artwork: The Inevitable Kiss of Light and Dark, 2018. Oil on paper.
Celene wears Uma Wang rust Dana dress.
What inspires the abstract yet familiar forms of your sculptures, and does your choice of materials influence this?
Different artworks stem from different sources of inspiration, sometimes it’s the natural environment and my surroundings that influence me most, whilst other times it might be something smaller like a curve within my own body. I think typically the themes and shapes in my work aren’t exclusive and can stir something in most people or provoke some sort of recognition. Themes and references such as the human body, the natural environment, relationships and life cycles. Even down to the materiality of the work, working in timber, it’s such a known material - it’s a texture and touch that we all recognise and there is something very warm and inviting about wood. Wood is a natural material and in some ways it feels not so far away from our own physicality.
Artwork: Sketch 1, 2023. Salvaged oregon. Sketch 2, 2023. Salvaged oregon. Fold, 2023. Macrocarpa. Courtesy of Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert
Olive wears Ox Blood sleeveless wrap dress and black calf bias skirt by Rick Owens. MM6 Maison Margiela black cut out leather mules.
Moira de la Hunty
As an artist with a background in medicine and an interest in fashion, do you find yourself drawing any similarities between these fields when creating your artwork?
While working as a doctor, I became aware of our mortality and the fragility of our existence. I also think about the similarities of our bodies internally despite different external appearances. These concepts often are apparent in fashion. Fashion can enhance, conceal or reveal the person within.
Reflections, shadows and transparencies are important in my painting, suggesting the lives we live. After many years of painting, themes tend to emerge intuitively but as my work reflects me as the artist, in a sort of self portrait, there will often be hints of medicine and fashion in them.
Artwork: The Same Moon, 2021. Oil on canvas.
Moira wears black taffeta Lido jacket, fuchsia V-neck sleeveless top and silver chain necklace, all by Rick Owens.
Mossy Jade Johnson
How do you find inspiration in abstraction and what draws you to this particular artistic style?
I’ve always been drawn to abstraction because it’s subjective to the viewer, it feels open and could be hybrid - like passing real life through a portal as a means to see differently. Abstraction has become a personal tool, a lens I look through to see my reflection, my body and spaces that I often don’t fit into as a trans woman. To see my body abstractly helps me be kinder to it, as an act of self embrace, preservation, and celebration of what I’ve got. My works are an extension of my abstract reality and a process of world building through paint.
Artwork: Light, 2022. Acrylic and aerosol on canvas.
Mossy wears Rick Owens moss banana long sleeve top with black layered ruffle tutu skirt by Simone Rocha.
Can you speak to your process for selecting colour schemes in your work and how they relate to the themes or ideas you are exploring?
The first thing I do in the studio is mix a lot of colours on a large glass palette. It's a good meditative activity to get me in the zone to paint and it sets me up to not have to change pace for a few hours once I start to lay paint down. I might be thinking about a particular painting I'm working on or I might go on my own general mood. Despite my plans for the colours, they end up where they choose to. When I force a colour somewhere, it's obvious. I don't really explore ideas; starting to paint shows me where to go and I understand themes afterwards, as a coherence appears across a series of work.
Artwork: Chorus IV, 2022. Oil, wax and oilstick on canvas.
Jordy wears the Dalla knot lavender shirt dress by Christian Wijnants with steel bead knitted chain necklace by Jean-François Mimilla. Grey buckle slides by MM6 Maison Margiela.
Megan Alice Bouwer
As someone who studied fashion design and merchandising, how do you think this background has influenced or supported your art?
As a child I nurtured a love for painting, drawing and sewing. In my Fashion studies, I would say that the artistic styles and movements that I appreciate and was exploring within my art, seemed to influence my design sense. Now, however, this seems to be reversed. I feel like my background in fashion informs my approach to the preliminary, conceptual stages of a work. Fashion and art hold a very symbiotic relationship for me.
Artwork: Adumbrate, 2023. Oil on linen.
Megan wears the printed Anaya dress and olive leather ballet shoes by Uma Wang.
Your work seems to be heavily influenced by fashion, photography and cinema. Could you elaborate on how these themes inspire your art?
I have had a fascination with fashion photography since high school. When I started collecting editorial images, I grew a particular fondness for Steven Meisel and Tim Walker’s portfolio of work for Vogue from the early 2000s. It all inspired me to create fashion illustrations that narrate a story with a twist and peculiarity. In an interview, the British artist Grayson Perry said that he finds drawing while listening to the telly to be "greatly therapeutic". For me it’s the same feeling but with films. Once, I was drawing a triptych depicting scenes in the most poetic display of light and shadow from the film 'A Single Man'. It was a transcendental (perhaps a bit nerdy) experience. This captivates me to keep recapturing those cinematic moments infused with unspoken sentiments.
Artwork: A Scene from Lust, Caution, 2017. Watercolour on paper.
Kuan wears Simone Rocha blush sequinned tulle dress with lace trim slip. MM6 Maison Margiela olive court shoe.
Kartika Laili Ahmad
Your light installations are fascinating as they appear delicate yet often incorporate industrial materials, can you discuss your inspiration and approach to working with these contrasting elements?
Light in space as a tangible experience, motivates my overall design approach. I am intrigued by the influence between our emotions and the built environment. Intentional materiality choices are crucial to my practice as they shape and manipulate our experience of light. I think about ways to reflect, absorb, direct and diffuse light into the space - not limited to the piece itself. I like to think of my work as an experience rather than a piece of art - it is something you really miss when it is not there, even though you may not have noticed it in the first place.
LOVE BOX A01-006, 2023. Argon, Tasmanian oak, perspex, stainless steel.
Kartika wears the vanilla zip front lightweight jacket by Rick Owens with Pleats Pleats Issey Miyake charcoal long pleated tank dress. Simone Rocha chain necklace with pearls.
You explore various mediums including sculpture, furniture design and collage. Do you believe that these mediums influence and inform each other in your creative process?
They absolutely do. I’m an interior designer so the notions of scale, light, composition and human experience within my works are all influenced by that background. The transition between each medium is smooth, and often elements of the making process will spark ideas that I can apply immediately in another medium. Working in three dimensions comes most naturally, so I am currently working on a series of works that see collage transferred into large 3D form. Lots of trial and error, but an exciting process.
Artwork: The Silences, 2022. Giclée print mounted on board.
Gabrielle wears the iridescent Athena top by Rick Owens.
Your sculptures feature an interesting combination of concreto and mohair. Can you tell us more about how you arrived at this unique material choice and what kind of message or emotion you aim to convey through it?
The meshing of fibre and fabric with concrete began as a response to the giant theme of connection. The idea of merging what we wear on our bodies with the construction material of our built environment created a transitory composite that was unnatural and slightly “out of order’ and very appealing to me - the durable and the haptic. Concrete has been the foundation of my working palette for three decades now and naturally I like to push it, break the rules and find new ways to deploy it. In this sense it is deeply personal. I could say that my process is an autobiographical response that developed from early childhood when an enormous amount of time was spent playing in paddocks of the family farm. It was there that I developed the techniques of casting, moulding and impregnating the mud with the hair and fur of our dairy cows, dogs and horses. My materials and processes not only give shape to the work's physicality but equally to its meaning.
Artwork: Slim Miss, 2023. Concreto, mohair.
Margaret wears Pleats Please by Issey Miyake black Calla dress. MM6 Maison Margiela painted leather platform boots and Jean-François Mimilla white glass bead necklace.
What inspires you to choose a particular subject to explore in your work?
My art practice is research-based and site specific, almost always underpinned by a fascination surrounding the environmental impact of anthropocentrism. Choosing a particular subject often comes from spending time in a place I feel drawn to, observing its peculiarities, and then researching them obsessively.
Artwork: Phyto, 2020. Archival ink-jet print on Hahnemühle photo rag.
Imogen wears Issey Miyake ME grey mellow knit top and grey cube pleat pants. MM6 Maison Margiela silver court sneaker.
As an artist, you primarily focus on rug making, embroidery and weaving. What inspired you to explore these mediums?
I have always been drawn to traditional textile techniques because of the tactile textures and surfaces. I love it when viewers can touch my work and enjoy the tactility of it. I also find the laborious nature of textile techniques meditative and relaxing. Spending hours with my work allows me to put a lot of love into each piece.
Artwork: Sensational Gradient, 2022. Assorted yarn, monks cloth, recycled felt.
Mariaan wears the black puff sleeve signature dress by Simone Rocha with flame Kiyomi top by Christian Wijnants. MM6 Maison Margiela polished Palladio ball chain earrings.