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In this exhibition the artist is responding to Australian nature - her admiration for it and engagement and identification with it, both in the grandness of its landscape and the intricate delicacy of its botanical forms. From macroscopic to microscopic, and, as we know, this is one of the extraordinary things about Australia – it holds a grand natural beauty – enormous rock formations, mountains, break-aways, clay pans and lakes, distant horizons and deserts. And then one is surprised by the seeming fragility of minute flowers growing out of its harsh and rugged terrain.

Patricia Hines shows the beneficial freedom of ageing, with decades of skills in her bag and with nothing to lose by experimenting with them all – gouache, crayon, pencil, paint, printmaking, Strobili (stalks and cones of Pinus radiata), embroidery cotton and collage. Often people ask me – I work in Japingka Gallery – how long would it have taken the artist to paint this painting? My answer to that question here would be – oh, 4 to 5 decades. This artist is at the height of her artistic career, and will never stop experimenting and this experimentation has decades of discipline and skill behind it.

The challenge that Patricia has set herself– is a challenge that I find very exciting. It is to make the transition from design, used in a functional way, to a purer form of art using all her skills – design, printmaking, painting, three-dimensional work – she is also a ceramicist – and mixing these skills together to create unique contemporary artworks. And due to this rich base of skills, there are so many layers to her works. If we look at the large canvas on the back wall – the problem she has set herself to resolve in this work is to find a way of depicting the devastating effect of fire on her much-loved bushland

She feels a very close identification with her natural surroundings. The sinuous and sensual form of the burnt tree in the centre anchors the work and her use of many different mediums – crayons, paint, print – evokes the drift of smoke and the ashen, burnt out landscape. She has worked over and over it, creating a kind of palimpsest effect. The beautiful, elegant works on the left wall are made up of paper, already existing screen-printed mesh she had in a drawer, and the Strobili – pine cones she found at the base of Pinus radiata trees that had been very neatly stripped by the black cockatoos for seeds to, inadvertently, reveal their beautiful Fibinacci spiral pattern. These skeletons of cones she has wrapped in embroidery cotton, leaving enough gaps to celebrate the pattern, elegant and unrepeatable artworks..

Jody Fitzhardinge, 11 July 2019

photography by Russell Ord Photography, Photo courtesy of Visit Mandurah

(photography by Russell Ord Photography, Photo courtesy of Visit Mandurah)