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Wagner Contemporary | 6 - 21 November

Explore Sydney Contemporary | 11 - 21 November

Melinda Schawel’s new body of work, Spark, was created after extended  periods exploring areas close to home during the COVID-19 Lockdown - the Bellarine Peninsula, Victorian surf coast, Lake Mountain and neighbouring parks. These areas share a common thread in terms of Schawel’s interest in resilience and recovery in the landscape, but also pose greater questions about the notion of creativity itself. What sparks our imagination and allows it to flourish? The restrictive conditions experienced bring focus to the element of inspiration and the vital role it plays in creative process.

In her statement below, Schawel documents how deep contemplation about our relationship with nature, stimulated by external observation during local walks - contextualised by the isolation of Lockdown - has brought this mesmerising new body of work to fruition:       

"The Covid pandemic is certainly the only truly global occurrence in my lifetime and it has been fascinating to witness what has and will be created around the world in the wake of it. In Melbourne, if you were fortunate enough to have access to green spaces within a 5 km radius, chances are you spent many hours outside, perhaps rekindling a love affair with the natural environment, newly motivated to seek it out, protect it, and hopefully document it in some sort of creative way. 

Interestingly the pandemic conversation continually returns to the negative impact on humans, rather than the overwhelmingly positive effect our absence has had on the plant and animal kingdom. Our reliance on nature has only  become more apparent with every environmental disaster, and affirms the undeniable truth that whatever happens to it, happens to us. Specifically it is this concept of interconnectedness that sparked my creative response for this show.

The resulting compositions are a delicate balancing act, illustrating the challenges ahead, not only in terms of our relationship with the planet, but also my own personal journey as an artist, continually striving to find the optimal place where process, technique and imagery meet".

Melinda Schawel lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. She has exhibited nationally and internationally since 1995 and was recently commissioned by the City of Casey to create an integrated public art project. She is represented in many public and private collections including Artbank, the National Gallery of Australia and Crown Towers (Perth). Melinda Schawel has been a finalist in numerous prizes, including the Fisher's Ghost Art Award, Adelaide Perry Drawing Prize, and, most recently, the Nillimbik Art Prize (2021).

Watch: Interview with Melinda Schawel by Creative Road

Recent News: 

2021: Explore Sydney Contemporary; Nillumbik Art Prize, Finalist 

2020: Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing, Finalist

2020: Feature artist in The Artist Story

2020: Interviewed by Creative Road : Public Artists in Conversation

2019: Public art project - commissioned by The City of Casey, Melbourne

2018: Sydney Contemporary Art Fair Exhibition

2017: Whyalla Art Prize, Finalist

2017: People's Choice Award Winner - Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing

2017: Adelaide Perry Prize For Drawing Finalist

2017: Art Collector Magazine featured artist and exhibition.