Residents

Residents in Spotlight: July 2017
John Galan
“It was not the 14hr flight to Australia from Los Angeles, or driving on the opposite side of the road that shocked my senses to a “new land” but the graceful angel-like wings of a cockatoo fluttering past me while driving into the mountains from Sydney that awakened artistic gaze, into a world full of wonder. After spending an entire month at BigCi you quickly realize the amount of inspiration one receives while living between two national parks, the feelings cannot be contained, and thus the creative process begins. I got to live with people from all over the world, share meals with them, explore the second most diverse place on earth, and paint everything that lives within me. What makes BigCi different from other residencies? The Art Shed, a massive building designed solely for the purpose and creation of artworks. Nestled on 8 acres of land, the residency sits within the forest, just far enough from civilization to see a river of stars (the Milky Way) on a clear night sky. The air fresh and naturally sweet from the eucalyptus trees, the mountains as vast and blue as the ocean, and the sunsets as sweet as pie in the sky. In my efforts to travel and paint I have learnt one thing stands true; there are many beautiful places all around the world, but what makes a place even more beautiful is its people; from their culture to their way of life. The ability to bring meaning into all they do, simply expresses the essence of humanity. This is what BigCi carries with it, the human spirit. It is a sacred place where artists have the opportunity to find themselves by living with others.”

Residents in Spotlight: July 2017
Duly Priced Drink – Katherine Kennedy, Catherine Thickett and Monique Bedwell
Katherine Kennedy and two assisting facilitators, Catherine Thickett and Monique Bedwell, worked together on a social practice arts project called Duly Priced Drink (DPD). This project involved a program of artist talks, workshops, creation of three artists books, a wall installation made up of prints created by the emerging DPD community, and also staging of a socially engaged performance at the BigCi Open Day event. The summary of project outcomes is at https://bigci.org/workshops/ and on Facebook page Duly Priced Drink

Residents in Spotlight: June 2017
Rebecca Waterstone
Blue Mountains artist Rebecca Waterstone says, “I am so grateful to Rae and Yuri Bolotin for this amazing experience, immersing myself in an artist residency on the edge of the Wollemi National Park. This incredible facility and location has been so inspiring. I deliberately didn’t take any art materials with me, or have any preconceived ideas before I got there, deciding to make work from materials I found on the site. I made interlocking circular pieces on the floor in the huge open space of the Art Shed, using bark, stones, plants, seedpods, berries, charcoal from the burnt out trees, and various ochres from the ground. I collected sparkly, jewel-like red resin from the Bloodwood trees (they actually look like they are bleeding when the red sap drips out), and mixed it with water to create a very effective binder to make paint with (using pigment from the ochres and charcoal). I also made some abstracted films by suspending a big ball of rusty wire fencing from a doorway, recording it slowly spinning around in the sunlight and casting delicate shadows on the floor. I later projected these films large scale on the Art Shed wall. The tangled wire was like a drawing in 3 dimensions, and I am excited to further explore the potential of this kind of expanded drawing. I feel being at BigCi, for even this short period, has enabled me to gain some much-needed respite and quiet time, and sparked many ideas that I will follow up in the coming months. I look forward to returning one day soon. ”

Residents in Spotlight: June 2017
Caitlin Casey
Sydney-based artist Caitlin Casey said,
‘BigCi has been integral to me being able to redevelop and rediscover my practice. The setting of BigCi has given me the space to contemplate and to play with ideas in a supportive environment. Furthermore, sharing this space with other lovely residents and different creatives has been a brilliant experience. Though I was only here for a short time, it has been wonderful. Rae and Yuri are generous and welcoming and have created something truly special with BigCi.’

 


Residents in Spotlight: June 2017
Danielle Baldock
Writer Danielle Baldock says, “This time at BigCi has been such a special opportunity to be quiet and still and have a space to create. It’s so beautiful here, the land and the trees and the creative atmosphere. I have so enjoyed my days writing in the dam, surrounded by water, and in the trees, and amongst the rocks. Being part of this creative community has given me the chance to really be The Writer. I will take that away with me, and a new sense of what I can achieve with my words. Many thankyous Rae and Yuri, and of course Lilly (the dog)”

Residents in Spotlight: May-June 2017
Ryo Yamauchi
Japanese video artist Ryo Yamauchi says,
“Thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to take up this residency – it was just wonderful being able to see and experience nature in Wollemi and Blue Mountains. It was very different from Australian landscape that I had seen before.”

 

 

Residents in Spotlight: May-June 2017
Jayne Holsinger
Jayne Holsinger is a visual artist living in New York that paints from photographic references and memory. She says, “At the beginning of my 4-week residency, I embarked on a series of gouache paintings entitled ‘Discovering Oz.’ The idea was simple: respond to the natural environment on a completely different continent. Initially the project entailed collecting and documenting indigenous plants and insect specimens which I rendered through close observation. As the weeks progressed, I moved to larger works, including some of my fellow residents exploring the Wollemi landscape. These are more open and convey a hint of the mystery of this place. I found the entire BigCi environment immersive, stimulating, and supportive of my practice. With the documentation garnered, I continue to work on the series in Manhattan.”

Residents in Spotlight: June 2017
Mark Leacy and Sam Kenna – Hour House
“Hour House came to BigCi to record an album in 2 weeks using the Barn and its surrounds as a recording studio. We found the Barn ideal as living quarters, and it had great versatility as a recording space. At the Open Day, we performed an improvised set based on cassette field recordings we took while at BigCi, mixed with sampled sounds from inside the Barn itself. Enough cannot be said about the inspiration the BigCi grounds and the immediate environment around it provide. And on top of all that, the support and friendly hospitality Rae and Yuri showed us was second to none.”

Residents in Spotlight: May-June 2017
Valerie George
American artist Valerie George explains, “I have been working on a body of work titled “Entropic Force” that examines the intersections of my personal history, cultural history, time, and place at a particular site. While at BigCi, I created site-specific works at the Wollemi National Park (Newnes), Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, and Evans Crown Reserve. While being a perfect base camp to explore these areas, BigCi also provided a unique opportunity to work in a “brick and mortar” space, enjoying a serene uninterrupted studio practice. For Open Day, I created objects and drawings inspired by the overwhelming beauty of the shale oil factory ruins in Newnes, as the Wollemi slowly reclaims it. I am forever grateful to Rae and Yuri for this experience. They are inspiring in their passion for Art and the Wollemi. It seeps out into everyone and everything they touch. It was a privilege to share their beautiful space. I plan to know them, always.”

Residents in Spotlight: May 2017
Linda Seiffert
The Blue Mountains based ceramic artist Linda Seiffert says, “The BigCi Residency was a rare opportunity for me to find solitude, slow down, become present, and experience a true sense of space and place in a world of ever increasing noise, haste and overwhelm. Rae and Yuri have created a most nurturing mood with BigCi. They also invite artists to see this residency as a wholistic experience through the underlying values they hold, which focus on connection with and protection of the local natural environment, connections with the local community, and the cultural and ecological importance of the boundless wilderness that includes the land on which BigCi resides.”

Residents in Spotlight: March-April 2017
Karen Miranda Abel
Toronto-based Karen said, “My residency time was dedicated to field research and development of Postglacial {Botanical storytelling in ice}, a site-specific installation of native flora encased in ice on top of the BigCi rainwater tank. The work references the resilient and robust plant species diversity of the UNESCO World Heritage Greater Blue Mountains, which has changed and evolved dramatically since the ice age. During a beautiful sunny day in April, the gleaming ice forms slowly melted away. Upon reflection, in some ways this culminating project is a symbol of my extraordinary time at BigCi; intense and illuminating, and over much too soon.
Being immersed in this unique residency setting was akin to finding a second home for my art practice. Rae’s gentle and inspiring commitment to offering space, support and community as integral tools in deepening one’s artistic process is thoughtfully reflected in every aspect of the residency design. I went on exhilarating off-track bushwalks with Yuri and his group of wilderness explorers, spanning three national parks and numerous unprotected wilderness areas. His passion for the region’s natural heritage and dedication to sharing it with others made it possible for me to visit an impressive array of caves including the majestic Michelangelo Cave in Gardens of Stone where I spent all day as an intimate study of place. Few people have been fortunate enough to visit these enigmatic and commanding places and I’m truly grateful for this gift.
My experience at BigCi enriched and confirmed my practice in such immeasurable ways—surely to be revealed for many years to come and that alone is inspirational. I hope to return for more transformative adventures. All my best to Rae and Yuri with much gratitude, admiration and respect.”

Residents in Spotlight: January-April 2017
Johanne Laache

Norwegian artist Johanne Laache said, “I spent ten whole weeks in Bilpin as a resident, completing a project I don’t believe I could have conceived of in any other place. With invaluable support from Rae, Yuri and the other residents I undertook what felt like a durational performance that culminated in a kinetic installation presented at our Open Day. This residency let me have the time, space and concentration to make this piece, titled No One Should Be Alone in Their Old Age, which feels like a pivotal project for me. Bilpin and BigCi are far from the big city and from noise and distraction, and for me this offered the best possible environment to work in. Moreover, I made lasting friends both at the residency and in the community at large. I never thought I’d go to Australia before I decided to come here, and now I cannot imagine not going back there as soon as I possibly can.”

Residents in Spotlight: January-April 2017
Rachel Chicaguala
New York based Rachel Chicaguala said, “My residency at BigCi has been instrumental to the growth of my practice. The time spent here without distraction allowed for experimentation I would not have considered at home. This in addition to the generosity of Rae and Yuri, as well as the citizens of Bilpin made this one of my best art making experiences to date. I would recommend a residency here to anyone in need of inspiration or rejuvenation in their work. The space is truly special and I know I am not the only artist who hopes to return some day.”

Residents in Spotlight: January-April 2017
Wolfe Girardin

Wolfe Girardin is a multidisciplinary artist from Montreal. During his 10-week residency at BigCi he developed a charcoal drawing series entitled #ubiquity, depicting Snapchat and Instagram story screenshots. The project addressed both the potential and shortcomings of social media in maintaining meaningful relationships in an increasingly mobile world. He says about his residency: “I loved my time at BigCi! I made so many kind, inspiring and funny friends. Rae and Yuri were such great hosts. They welcomed each new resident in their home with a group dinner and show-and-tell – a small gesture that meant a whole lot to me. Rae was always there when I needed some advice or just to have a chat. With Yuri, I got to go bushwalking and see some of the most beautiful canyons and aboriginal sites that I would have otherwise never have had access to. Besides showing us a pretty view, he also dropped a whole lot of knowledge on the rich vegetation, history and geology of the area. Working in the Art Shed was great, it’s spacious and extremely versatile. I made good use of the magnetic walls. With writing workshops, ongoing critiques and our group exhibition, my time at BigCi has greatly benefited my professional development, miss you already!”

Residents in Spotlight: March 2017
Jacqueline Spedding
Blue Mountains artist Jacqueline Spedding said, “I came to BigCi to work on a site-specific installation for Field Trip, an exhibition curated by Sabrina Roesner. As a local artist familiar with the landscape I wasn’t sure what the residency would hold for me. The grounds and brand-new Art Shed rooms were immediately inspiring and restful. I spent my time visiting my site, developing pieces for the exhibition, discussing ideas with the other resident artists and enjoying convivial evenings cooking and talking. The residency allowed me to immerse myself in my practice and take time to reflect, while swimming in the dam or listening out for the arrival of the rare and beautiful black cockatoos that frequently visit. Rae and Yuri have created an extraordinary environment for artists to share – every day I have spent here has been a gift.”

Residents in Spotlight: March 2017
Sylvia Rimat and Cat Jones
London-based German artist Sylvia Rimat and Sydney-based artist and curator Cat Jones said, “We came to BigCi to establish our working collaboration and to embark together on a new work, ‘Tree’, that delves into the depths of our imagination, drawing on Neuroscience, plant signaling, the symbology of forests and on our very personal imagined stories, related to the woods. It will take the form of an audio walk and also lead to a book project published alongside. BigCi was a perfect location to start this project, tucked away in the scenic Blue Mountains, surrounded by bushland. It was great to work in company with other (inter)national artists, and Rae and Yuri were very welcoming and helpful. Yuri took us on an introductory walk, to introduce us to the local landscape and tree species which was really useful for our project.”

Residents in Spotlight: March 2017
Margaret and Jennifer Mills
Margaret Mills has been painting the bushland around Sydney for most of her life. Her daughter, author Jennifer Mills, is a novelist, short story writer and essayist who often writes about climate change and the environment. As Margaret has turned her eyes to the beautiful landscape at BigCi, Jennifer has been writing an essay about landscapes and what it means to make art in the Anthropocene.

Residents in Spotlight: January 2017
Karen Power
karen-power-20170118_143845_001Karen, an electroacoustic composer from Ireland and the co-winner of the 2016 BigCi Environmental Award, created an inside/outside multichannel ‘living’ sound installation that fuses local memory, foreign illusion of memory and place. The ‘living’ element was an improvised performance, in which other real world sonic spaces were introduced to this environment and therefore altered the way we hear everything within the space – both during and long afterwards.

Residents in Spotlight: January 2017
Lisa Hirmer
lisa-presentingLisa, a Canadian artist and the co-winner of the 2016 BigCi Environmental Award, worked with the local community and presented a multi-faceted project that focussed on the idea of biodiversity, both celebrating the notion of non-human multiplicity and probing the limits of it as a bio-political tool. She is particularly interested in the many ways human lives are entangled with those of other species. Like much of her work, the intention was to uncover and make visible the barriers to change within human ecologies.

Residents in Spotlight: November 2016, January 2017
Nathalie Hartog-Gautier
20170108_103918Nathalie said, “The residency at BigCi allowed me to explore new territory physically and mentally. Yuri has a deep knowledge of the environment and a love to share it. We talked about the different environmental issues with the greater Blue Mountains that are under threat from coal mining and not protected.  A walk with Yuri in unprotected area, such as the Garden of Stone, provided me with the base for a body of works. All this work wouldn’t be possible without Rae’s kindness and readiness to help. I would love to come back.”

Residents in Spotlight: November 2016
Renata Buziak
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Brisbane based Renata said, “BigCi artist residency and Rae and Yuri’s vision and support allowed me to immerse in natural environment of the beautiful BigCi property and national parks surrounding the area, explore possibilities and ideas. It didn’t take long to pick bush tucker as the focus of my residency. Building on my previous medicinal plants research, I enjoyed creating a new body of work, a series of bush tucker lumen prints, and a series of biochromes, which will continue to develop after the residency is completed. The residency also provided very enjoyable and priceless place for meeting, sharing, working and discussions with other artists.”

Residents in Spotlight: September, November 2016
Jenny Pollak

Jenny says, “I consider the time that I spent at BigCi an invaluable boost and stimulus to my artistic practice. In the first half of my residency, I researched my subject and collected footage and still images of two waterfalls threatened by the ongoing effects of mining. The second half of my residency involved editing and organising my footage into a video installation, as well as creating the physical surfaces onto which my footage would be projected.
During my residency, I also continued my writing practice, using the walls of the kitchen on which to write a daily poem. During the time between the two halves of my residency, and informed by the experience of my walk to the waterfalls, I wrote the poem ‘A preventable death’, and it is this poem that formed the underlying platform for my video installation.
Having the use of the brand new projection room at BigCi was a terrific advantage in creating this work, and I am certain that having space and time dedicated to this purpose has allowed me to accelerate the development of my work as a video artist. The support that I received at BigCi was invaluable in the creation of this work.”

Residents in Spotlight: September, November 2016
Nicole Welch
20161127_125359_002Nicole says, “BigCi was the perfect base from which I could explore and research new locations for a new body of work titled ‘Wildēornes Land’, which will be exhibited at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre and CEMENTA in April 2017. In September I went on daily excursions around the wider Blue Mountains Region to see and record significant areas, cataloguing these sites for future installation work. In November I returned for 3 weeks to undertake intensive photoshoots in the bush that responded thematically to the unique history and ecology of the region with an emphasis on the inherent loss and uncertainty we now face for our natural environment.
The experience has enriched my knowledge and understanding of this unique and precious region, and I am full of gratitude for the space and time to develop my work. I also thoroughly enjoyed the fun times spent with the other amazing artists in residence.”

Residents in Spotlight: September-October 2016
Clancy Warner
20160926_110450_001Clancy said, “After winning my residency as part of the 2016 Palmer Sculpture Biennial award for my sculpture “Whitewashing History”, I arrived at BigCi with no expectations. What a fantastic journey it has been. Bushland walks and day trips to see majestic waterfalls, grand landscapes and rock formations, and a drive to visit the Hawkesbury River where I grew up. Being in this landscape again was so inspirational, bringing back memories of my youth and a freer time in my life. On days when I wasn’t exploring I let the inspiration flow, and by tapping into the energy of the flora and fauna I discovered new ideas and developed concepts that I am excited to turn into a new body of work for my first solo exhibition in 2017. I shared this residency with three other diverse women, women from different disciplines and different places, and honestly this residency wouldn’t have been the same without them! Great inspiration, conversations, camaraderie and laughs! ”

Residents in Spotlight: September-October 2016
Wendy Hack
wendy-1Wendy Hack is a German artist, based in Bonn. She said, “My artist residence was like a big puzzle with the many pieces falling into place. I came to Bilpin to explore my country of birth, to respond to the Australian Bush and rediscover the wide open skies, the dynamic clouds and the unique landscapes. I found a wonderful place to work on my installation „Soul Rest“ and an opportunity to respond and exchange ideas and to share joyful and inspirational conversation around the open fire with other inspiring artists.”

Residents in Spotlight: August – September 2016
Kim Joon
kim-joon-sKorean sound artist Kim Joon says, “At BigCi, I had everything I needed. My project was a soundscape with a site specific art installation. Bilpin, where BigCi is located, is a good quiet place, and being there was an opportunity for me to focus on the sound. Every day was a mystery of diverse natural experiences that gave me inspiration to make new sound installations. I hope I can visit BigCi again. Thank you, Yuri and Rae.”

Residents in Spotlight: August – September 2016
Marylin Schneider
20160903_155051_001Marylin Schneider, a Sydney artist, says, “I came to the BigCi at the end of an Asialink reciprocal residency at MMCA in Seoul. I spent two weeks with Joon Kim, a Korean artist who had just spent ten weeks at Artspace. We were very lucky to have this time to exchange thoughts and information about our residency experiences. This opportunity was unique and very valuable to me. In the two weeks that I was here, I reflected upon the research that I had gathered in Seoul and developed ideas for a future body of work. Having this time away, surrounded by beautiful nature and architecture I was able to focus without the usual everyday distractions. Rae and Yuri were very helpful and generous with their knowledge and their time and provided us with everything we needed.”

Residents in Spotlight: August – September 2016
Han Qing
han-qing-wheeny-gap-dsc06380Beijing based artist Han Qing, represented by Red Gate Gallery, returned to BigCi for another successful residence. During his stay, he created a new body of work – a 5-painting series, ‘Birds on the Tree’. He also took part in several bushwalk adventures in the Wollemi and Gardens of Stone.

 


Residents in Spotlight: August 2016
Jiang Wentao
Jiang-sShanghai based artist Jiang Wentao says, “Thank you Rae and Yuri for giving me a chance to come to Australia and to spend time in BigCi and the National Park. The time was short but impressive. The rocks were eye-catching, and the flowers and trees gave me many inspirations and made me feel deeply about the influence that nature has on artistic work. So, beyond all questions, this experience was unforgettable. I think these are some of the best memories of my life and my creative work.”

Residents in Spotlight: July-August 2016
Lani Asuncion
Lani-with masks-s3 SISTERS: Dreamtime |Cat’s Cradle and the Lost Bone [Stolen Dreams]
This multimedia work by artist Lani Asuncion, from New Haven, Connecticut (USA) is part of a three-part series 3 SISTERS. The work is referenced from Native American and Australian Aboriginal three sisters stories. It aims to bring focus and respect to oral traditions through a contemporary perspective. In the work done at BigCi, Lani worked with local performers and used elements of the environment to create the costumes, sculptural relics for the videos. You can watch the videos of this series and find out more about Asuncion’s work at http://www.laniasuncion.net/3-sisters-series/

Residents in Spotlight: July 2016
Tania Bowers and Clare Britton
20160721_145256sWe came together last year to collaborate on the music video for the song I See you Tiger from Tania’s album Via Tania and the Tomorrow Music Orchestra. Our experience creating this video and the resonances between our practices led to our residency at BigCi in Bilpin. Over the next couple of years, we are creating a body of work that traverses music, jewellery and installation. We were so happy to have the time and space to create the foundations of our project. The Barn at BigCi and the hospitality of Rae and Yuri provided a beautiful context for our conversations, tests and ideas – thanks!

Resident in Spotlight: June-July 2016
Jody Graham
Jody smallJody Graham, from Sydney, said, “After a few weeks into my 4-week residency, I had an extraordinary day. This day was unplanned and organic, and gave me the space and time to let my mind wander, unravel and create. It was a day of a bit of this and a bit of that, as I moved freely between different creative projects that were already bubbling up around me. I didn’t seem to make any concrete decision about what I was going to do but, rather, just did things as I felt like it. What a treat! There were no other commitments other than to explore my own creativity -Magic!
It was a breakthrough day because it was the day I realised the creative potential of my natural surroundings. I was outside looking for material to make natural brushes and tools when I noticed a pile of rotting hardwood. Without even thinking about it too much, I began arranging the woodpile and was quickly excited by the results. The attraction I had to surface, texture and colour in the hardwood went on to inspire my interest in other natural materials, including working with whiskey grass.
Prior to my time with BigCi I was significantly inspired by the urban environment. Now, I feel a desire to connect and represent the natural environment as well as the urban in my work. My artist residency with BigCi has further developed and enhanced my practice.”

Resident in Spotlight: June-July 2016
Cosima Scales
Cosima smallBrisbane-based artist Cosima Scales says, “I came to BigCi interested in the idea of wilderness and wanting to paint the dense walls of trees surrounding the residency. What ended up happening was a big shift in my painting practice. During my time here I developed a new method in my work using drawing, stencils and building the surface over many different layers. This residency has been the perfect opportunity to spend time with and walk in the landscape, and to let that direct experience guide the work. Big thanks to Rae and Yuri for their hospitality, support and for their help in discovering this beautiful place.”

Resident in Spotlight: May 2016
Eunice Lim
Eunice LimSingapore artist Eunice Lim says, “Being overwhelmed by such organic beauty, the experience in BigCi has propelled me to create a new series of work. Growing up in the city, I was never really exposed to nature at such scale and serenity. I felt inspired from the strong presence which the Blue Mountains emit and was aspired to capture that vast manifestation through an installation of blue eucalyptus tree barks. The trees encountered during bush walks too stimulated me to create sculptures of a fictional species of trees that appear to be communicating messages to mankind. All in all, I believe the time and space at BigCi has allowed me to develop as an artist; the flexibility of space along with its location created a timeless season for me. Heartfelt thanks to Rae and Yuri.”

Resident in Spotlight: May 2016
Natalie Scholtz

WA based  Natalie says, “I applied for the BigCi to observe the effect the Wollemi and broader Blue Mountains would have on my practice. I am a drawer and painter who draws inspiration on my immediate environment, yet previous to the residency I had not attempted landscape. The luxury of having a month where in waking up I saw trees that stand like lords every day, without even leaving the BigCi grounds, allowed the idea of ’landscape’ to become my everyday; in turn I could learn my interpretation of a landscape. I loved observing the effect of colours found in the overall Blue Mountains scape and details of the natural debris on my palette. Thank you, Rae for providing the space and support to create, and Yuri for the wondrous hikes into the unknown.”

Resident in Spotlight: April 2016
Helen Sturgess
Helen SturgessHelen Sturgess, Blue Mountains based artist, says, “I came to BigCi to carry out paper casting of rocks and vegetation for a specific project and I was under time pressure to do so. Waiting for paper to dry is an enforced slow down, which was fortunate as I would have missed so much otherwise. I owe much to Yuri for walking me into the landscape. I felt as if I were in the iconic McCubbin painting of pioneers in the bush. It was the first time I had walked in bushland that wasn’t following a marked trail and it removed much of the sense of danger I had always associated with my homeland’s wilderness. You just have to be prepared and respect the environment you are in. I played with paper in the elements and was inspired to a new body of work based on the walking. Rae provided useful insights, for which I am grateful and, together with my fellow residents, contributed much to the convivial atmosphere. Residency at the BigCi has given me the opportunity to know and understand my own country better. What a amazing gift.”

Resident in Spotlight: March 2016
Magda Wegrzyn
MagdaMagda Wegrzyn, Polish artist and curator, is the winner of the inaugural Blue Mountains World Heritage Award – a collaboration between BigCi and the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre. Magda says about her 6 weeks at BigCi, “The residency in BigCi is one of its kind, and to understand it, one cannot do anything else but to experience it. For me the residency was not only a mind opener, but also a time allowing to focus on my artistic research and practice. During six weeks of residency, I was not only more productive, but also more certain about decisions which I made. I allowed myself to re -think, re – work, and re- fresh my everyday practices. I came for the residency to investigate the history of the crossing made by three explorers in 1813 in the Blue Mountains, however what I found and had learned was far more than collecting facts, it was a real experience which wouldn’t be possible in any other place. Yuri’s bushwalks and Rae’s kind help, advice and deep understanding of artistic practice are special and unique. The residency was a time when I met wonderful people, among these artists, passionate about their work with whom I shared my time and thoughts. I wish anyone to have an opportunity to stay in such wonderful place.”

Resident in Spotlight: March 2016
Marie Craig
MarieMarie Craig, from Massachusetts, USA, says, “I came to BigCi in search of an opportunity to look inward and focus my attention on the creation of new work. What I found was a supportive community of creative individuals, surrounded by some of the most incredible wild beauty imaginable. I have long been fascinated by the flora of Australia, particularly the leaves, blossoms and seed-pods of native species. I used cyanotype, an alternative photography process, to combine botanical elements with digital negatives, with an eye to creating blended panoramas that explore the juncture of civilization and wild places. BigCi gave me the much-needed time and space to immerse myself in my work, and the freedom to take risks and explore new ways of working. I am especially grateful to Rae and Yuri, and my fellow artists, for their generous spirit, good conversations, and great company.”

Resident in Spotlight: March 2016
Sunim Koh
Sunim
Seoul-based artist Sunim Koh spent 6 weeks at BigCi. Sunim says, “I didn’t know what to do before I came here. But on the second day Yuri took me bush walking, and I was amazed by everything that I saw, especially the blood woods, bark of trees and untouched nature.
I had never seen such things in my life. I was impressed by the colour of the sap from blood woods, trees and rocks. It changed my mind completely. Every day I had new experiences of seeing. It was a wonderful experience. I will never forget the time that I have spent here.”


Resident in Spotlight: March 2016
Charwei Tsai
20160229_161435Sydney Biennale 2016 artist Charwei Tsai, from Taiwan, spent time at BigCi preparing her exhibit. She collected fallen bark from the beautiful Angophora trees and inscripted it with Tibetian mantras. She also did several bushwalks, including the spectacular Birrabang Canyon. Her works can be viewed during the Sydney Biennale, at the Embassy of Transition, Regent Street, Chippendale.

Resident in Spotlight: January – February 2016
Gauri Torgalkar
Gauri_atwork_1-WebsiteAfter working on landscape drawings and paintings depicting the urban open space in and around Sydney, I was looking for an opportunity to work in the Australian bush in an immersive environment. BigCi offered me just that! During my residency Yuri introduced me to the pagoda rock formations in the Gardens of Stone National Park & Wollemi National Park, which were fascinating and greatly inspiring. Although imposing and majestic, these unique rock forms are fragile and in dire need of conservation as they can be easily damaged by illegal trail biking and mining activities. Almost all of the work during my residency focused on the form, character and the meditative quality of pagoda country. I am planning to continue this work for my upcoming exhibition later this year at Art Est Gallery in Leichhardt. I am very thankful to Rae and Yuri for being generous with their time and assistance throughout my stay at the BigCi and for introducing me to the pagodas!”

Resident in Spotlight: January 2016
Daniela Diaz
Daniela DiazSydney artist Daniela Diaz says, “My time at BigCi was an enlightening experience, having time to reflect I learnt a lot about myself and my art practice, mainly in regards to pushing my boundaries with new materials and subjects and having faith in my creative expression. My work is inspired by the natural environment and its human connection, being at BigCi surrounded by nature made it easy to immerse myself in my work. I was intuitively drawn in by the beautiful angophora tree and its peeling bark and begun a large scale mixed media drawing installation. I spent time walking everyday collecting bark and taking many photographs. Rae and Yuri have been wonderful encouraging hosts and this residency will be a time I will never forget.”

Residents in Spotlight: January 2016
Erica Aronsten and Zana Dare
20160109_174943_smallFor Sydney writers and artists, Erica Aronsten and Zana Dare, a residency at BigCi was an opportunity to devote time to current projects, and indulge in some ‘creative play’ – free from the distractions of city life. The magnetic boards in the kitchen of the Art Shed proved to be a real attraction for the two writers as they ‘mapped out’ a final draft of their publication ‘The Creative Pulse’ – a guide for writers and artists, highlighting the links between art and health. Time was also devoted to preparing for an exhibition and teaching assignment as ‘Artists in Residence’ for Oceania Cruises, sailing from Sydney to Los Angeles in May, 2016. In this regard, BigCi was the perfect setting, providing the inspiration for a new series of collage works ‘Between the Lines’, based on the calligraphy of the Australian bush. Many thanks for Rae and Yuri for their hospitality and the opportunities they offer to artists both here and overseas.

Resident in Spotlight: December 2015
Jess Rotherham
Jess-Website-20151213_113243_001_resizedUK artist Jess Rotherham says, “My practice is comprised of different projects, most of which will last my lifetime. What The Most People Saw is a depiction of the most popular online news from one day, taken from all 193 countries of the world, repeated on the same day annually. This project began in 2012, and will continue annually til my death. The news images are always depicted onto clear glass panes, so that the years can become layered on top of one another and one can notice potential differences as time moves on, intending to probe the relevance or irrelevance of important information in the face of one’s mortality.
I have made my 2015 painting whilst on residency. I was struck by the beauty and resilience of the surrounding area, and the slowness of life here. It has allowed me much needed time to asses my practice and to explore future plans. Thank you Rae and Yuri.”

Resident in Spotlight: December 2015
Meaghan Potter
Meaghan-Website-20151213_112749_resizedBlue Mountains-based artist Meaghan Potter says, “I came to the BigCi ready to be inspired and given direction by the natural environment of Bilpin. After just a few hours of exploration on the first day of arrival I was inspired; everywhere I looked I could see an interesting composition, texture, colour or feature in the wilderness. This feeling of constant intrigue into the surroundings of the BigCi endured throughout my time in the residency and was the fuel behind the bunch of big drawings I ended up making. My large acacia drawing, the largest artwork I have created to this date, resulted from a combination of my own curiosity into larger work as well as Rae’s wise advice to ‘rebel against your own artwork’. By the end of my residency at the BigCi I had created a body of artworks that reflected not only the flora and fauna in Bilpin but also the meditative and explorative side of my artists practice that I found at the BigCi.”

Resident in Spotlight: November – December 2015
Vanessa Macedo
Vanessa-1Vanessa Macedo, a filmmaker from New Jersey, says, “I was very fortunate to be granted the BigCi Directors Choice Environmental Award and decided to create a short advocacy video. This was an incredible opportunity to highlight an important local issue and to be given the support to raise environmental awareness about this issue to achieve social change through the medium of video advocacy. I am very thankful to Rae and Yuri for their mentorship and BIG heart throughout my time. It is a friendship and place that I’ll embrace forever. ”

Resident in Spotlight: November 2015
Ro Murray
DSC02813-RoSydney artist Ro Murray says, “My residency at BigCi gave me the opportunity to commence work on two major new installation works. BLACK a series of large drawings in powdered charcoal which explores the walks mapping The Gardens of Stone, to help conserve this Wilderness area against the destruction and the pollution caused by coal mining. The other installation “homesweethome” was to identify our cultural backgrounds and celebrate our differences in the light of the refuge crisis in Europe and our offshore detention centres for asylum seekers.”

Resident in Spotlight: November 2015
Mairead O’hEocha
DSC02798-MaireadDublin-based Mairead O’hEocha says, “At BigCi I found extraordinary sounds and smells, birds, frogs, trees, flowers, rocks, trees, canyons, fierce sun and fantastic thunderstorms. Rae is a generous and natural host who creates a relaxed and supportive artist residency. Yuri brought us on inspiring bush walks, providing magical and memorable encounters with remote and inaccessible areas of the National Park. BigCi was perfect for allowing space and time for making work.”

Resident in Spotlight: August-September 2015
Hae-Young, SEO
Hae-YoungKorean artist Hae-Young says, “It was a very important and meaningful experience for me to make art in a different environment. I’ve never left my motherland for art, so being in the different cultural, historical and social context of Australia allowed me to understand more about myself and my art. I could focus on what I like, what I pursue and what I want, in my art and my life. I have met diverse people who are artists and have interests in art. Though I figured out artists’ lives are difficult and unstable everywhere, I thought that the Australian residencies, BigCi and Artspace, are very systematic and helpful to artists. In the City, I experienced different cultures, people and the contemporary Australian art. In Bilpin, I could meet local artisans and Australia’s beautiful nature. Artistic Director Rae Bolotin’s support in particular made me more creative and open-minded. The open studio (Lunch with the Artists) in BigCi was a great memory. Showing my results from this residency and having a discussion with the audience was very useful and productive, as I have not done it before. I feel that invisible changes came to my mind, and I believe that these changes will positively influence my art and my life.”

Resident in Spotlight: August-September 2015
Kevin Platt
KevinKevin says, “I was lucky enough to participate in a BigCi residency at the tail end of an Asialink residency to Korea.  The opportunity to meet with my Korean counterpart and to share accounts of our experiences abroad (in a beautiful setting nonetheless) helped us to reflect upon the work we had produced and encountered on our respective residencies.  The BigCi residency also made it possible to showcase the work that I made in Korea, through a hosted forum-like event.  Showing and discussing my work helped me to gain valuable insight into the how my new work was perceived, and into how my practice has shifted through my Asialink and BigCi residency.  The ultimate benefit of my BigCi residency is that is has helped me develop, and understand, the future direction of my practice in the wake of my residency in Korea.”

Residents in Spotlight: July 2015
Karl and Christine Chilcott

Swedish sculptor Karl Chilcott says, “The main aim of our project was to come closer to this beautiful landscape that we never had seen before. We have mainly worked around the North Atlantic so far, but this time we wanted the sun to come from the North. To make Art in Nature, become a part of the place and find a language to express my feelings – that is what I get from the place. Sometimes the language of a place is hidden. But here I felt a resonance in my soul to translate some words. This was great. There were some aspects of our approach that differed from our previous projects. First and foremost that this landscape in a very certain and sublime way is connected to humans and culture. We became deeply touched by seeing Aboriginal Art and feeling the balance in their way to live with the land. They came to a place with open mind and empty hands and created art, which was in size, expression, colour and language a natural part of the whole. This feels for me close to the concept of art in nature in a significant way.”

Resident in Spotlight: July 2015
Sophia Kaschowitz

The German artist Sophia Kaschowitz says, “Exploring the surrounding landscapes was very inspiring! I have seen wide opened eyes and windows in the immense rock formations; I have seen long, jagged tree branches trying to touch each other, but never reaching; I have seen leaves and flowers in rows and circles showing me small hidden tracks. I have seen seeds of fragile plants flying lightly through the landscape like my thoughts and day- dreams. I have seen panoramic landscapes so stunning that I was completely taken by them; I have seen trees and leaves dancing to the sound of the fresh air. I have seen mosses creating paintings on tree trunks. I have seen the rebirth of black burned trees. What I have seen here, I want to make it visible through my artworks and I want to remain awake for these natural miracles that are everywhere.”

Resident in Spotlight: July 2015
Anna Jaaniste
Anna JaanisteAnna says, “I arrived at BigCi with no intentions except to respond with honesty and curiosity to the place. My work was a dialogue with the land in the present – everything that encompasses. I listened and conversed with the place – it exposed things to me through my work processes. I stayed in the moment and with the material encounters I had – all my senses open and awake. Sound in particular became a new material for me – I noticed sound in new ways. My encounters were buzzing and prolific. The horizon was an ever present wonder – the daily meeting point that melts lightness and darkness into one.”

Resident in Spotlight: June 2015
Rhona Eve Clews
Rhona Eve ClewsUK artist Rhona Eve Clews’ daily walks in the area around BigCi provided rich material for her experiments with cameraless photography and light sensitive papers. During her residency, Rhona made use of a photography lab created for her at BigCi. Rhona’s experimental processes echo early nineteenth century photographic practices and are driven by a desire to interrogate and penetrate the essential alchemical potential of the photograph. Often using nature as her darkroom, she propels herself into experiential performances which place her in direct physical relationship with the elements so that sunlight, moonlight, fire, and ocean interact with the work. She attempts to challenge notions of photographic stability, reproduction and representation, knowingly referencing painting, drawing and performance art histories.

Resident in Spotlight: June 2015
Sarah Fuller
Sarah Fuller at Art shedCanadian artist Sarah Fuller says, “While at BigCi, I explored new methods for creating video installation by stitching together multiple videos to create video panoramas. The aim of these video works was to make an immersive environment that mimics nature, while also creating a meditative experience. I was also very influenced by the birds’ sounds and the idea of the “dawn chorus” – the 20 minute period in the morning when all the birds call to each other. I recorded sound early in the morning that was later paired with the panoramic videos. My time at BigCi was immensely productive and I feel I will be processing and thinking about the experience for some time. Thank you Rae and Yuri!”

Resident in Spotlight: May 2015
Kath Fries
Kath FriesKath says, “My art practice involves working with tactile materials to engage our senses with our surroundings, which in turn reflects on the passage of time and fragility of life. At BigCi I’ve been exploring in the landscape and water catchments, and have been particularly intrigued by the hanging swamps in the rocky escarpments. I’ve collected sandstone shards and branches from the area, and dripped them with beeswax to echo the layered interconnections of the Blue Mountains ecosystems.”

Resident in Spotlight: March 2015
Leo Bersamina

Leo Bersamina, a US-based artist and lecturer, says, “In my work I look for patterns we create through our living: relationships with forces (and elements) of nature, models created through encounters with other people, travel, shelter, struggle, and habit.
While at BigCi, I tried to touch upon each of these elements and work them into my studio practice: encounters with the landscape, focused state of making things, and a deepened investigation of place. As a result, I feel that I had a densely productive and inspiring time while working at the BigCi art residency.”

Resident in Spotlight: March 2015
Marie van Elder

Belgian-born, US-based artist Marie van Elder says, “Part of my art practice is translating nature-based observation into a personal painted experience and inner contemplation of life, its cycles, fragility, resilience and beauty.
BigCi ‘s surrounding wilderness  (including wonderful hikes with Yuri) provided endless visual stimulation, with fascinating new shapes, changing light and rainy skies, exotic colors, bizarre rock formations, post fire charred pods and ancient spirit traces.
The renewed exuberance of this very productive residency as well as the responsibility for our environment will be carried on into my home studio practice and new work for sure! Thank you Rae and Yuri!”

Resident in Spotlight: March 2015
Denise Reichenbach

Brisbane artist Denise Reichenbach says, “My time at BigCi was filled with many positive shifts, regarding my art practice. I did many drawings, small studies and sketches in the bush to get to know the flora and fauna. This then informed my main work, created during the residency both in the art shed and in the barn. The residency was completed with an End of Residency Exhibition in the Art Shed. I loved the interaction with other artists from Australia and overseas, it is so enriching to see other people’s work.
I was very influenced by the ancient landscape of the Blue Mountains, it is such a special place and I loved going on exploratory walks with Yuri. There is so much which has inspired and changed me during my time at BigCi, it is hard to put it all into words. I feel that being at BigCi has helped to consolidate my art practice and venture into a new direction with my work.”

Resident in Spotlight: March 2015
Jeff McCann
DSC06927sSydney-based designer, illustrator and maker Jeff McCann explored ideas of miniature worlds and the connections that exist within them during his stay. He says, “I became fascinated with the idea of a large rock or moss covered logs being seen as small scale worlds or landscapes. I was also influenced by trees and how they are continually adapting to their surroundings to survive in the bush.”

Residents in Spotlight: February-March 2015
Cath Barcan, Anne Graham, Astra Howard, Daniel Kojta and Honi Ryan
GroupThese five artists had their residency at BigCi as part of the preparation for the “Strange Embrace” exhibition at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre later this year. Here they are photographed together with Nicholas Tsoutas of Sydney College of the Arts, the Exhibition Curator Rilka Oakley and Rae Bolotin of BigCi, discussing their proposals for the exhibition.

Residents in Spotlight: February 2015
The Sticks
SticksThe Sticks is a Sydney-based live electronic act revolving around a new gestural electronic drum kit invented by Alon Ilsar. The other band members are Daniel Pliner on synths and Josh Ahearn on electric bass.

Alon says, “We wanted a place to set up our equipment and record improvisations in an open space. A space where we could improvise to films and be inspired by our surroundings. A space where we could also listen over our improvisations and rearrange more composed pieces. As a result of staying at BigCi, we have now enough material for an entire album; a marriage of instrumental skill and technological innovation drawn from a wide range of influences, from complex IDM to 8-bit video game soundtracks.”

Resident in the Spotlight: January-February 2015
Claudia Lueke
DSC06628-WebsiteGerman artist Claudia Lueke was our artist-in-residence last year, when she first started to explore the Australian bush. She has returned to BigCi this year to enrich her vocabulary of lines, forms and colour. Claudia says, “For me, it is an encounter between the structures of the industrial area I am familiar with (my “natural habitat”) and a fascinating new world full of a new organic language”.

Resident in the Spotlight: January-February 2015
Dust Lancaster
DSC06612-WebsiteThe paintings that a Sydney-based artist Dust Lancaster has created at BigCi are about systems and elements working together to give an overall impression of the environment around her. Dust has been experimenting with different materials, techniques and scale, with the view of incorporating a keen interest she has for conservation into the works.

Resident in the Spotlight: January-February 2015
Jackie Terrett
DSC06629-WebsiteWhilst at BigCi, Sydney-based artist Jackie Terrett has been investigating readily available natural materials combined with recycled materials to examine themes of the environment and the body, and the idea of respect and social responsibility. During her residency, she was introduced to local craftsmen, enabling her to incorporate traditional weaving and eco – dying techniques into her new body of work.

Resident in the Spotlight: November 2014
Nandita Mukand
DSC06264Artist Nandita Mukand from Singapore said, “The abundance of plant life was what captivated me from the beginning. I was out everyday sketching amongst the trees and rocks, collecting dead plants and leaves and of course clicking photographs. All this fed into the creation of 2 large scale installations at BigCi. Beyond this, I intend to use the material collected to develop an entire body of work when I return home. Working in these surroundings benefited my practice immensely. Being in such close contact with nature was truly rejuvenating and provided ample opportunity for reflection and contemplation. Rae and Yuri’s warmth and enthusiasm and the wonderful interactions with other residents made this an extremely fulfilling experience.”

Resident in the Spotlight: November 2014
Aime Lou
DSC06294Sydney based Aime Lou says, “It is hard to put such a profoundly beautiful experience into a small paragraph. After one month living and working in Art Shed, I leave feeling so full. I have accessed new ways of working, and this space, BigCi, has provided the environment for this to happen. I have made beautiful drawings that are an extension of the landscape. I seek to create a raw harmony and balance through my drawings. I do not know what that looks like until I can see them and this is the most natural, intense, sublime and often confronting process. Like the way the light reveals the colours of the rocks throughout the day, or the way the night can play tricks on you or the way the trees return after a fire. I do not think that art and nature are separate.”

Resident in the Spotlight: November 2014
Nicola Kinloch
DSC06353Melbourne photographic artist Nicola Kinloch said, “My time at the BigCi was used to capture animals and the natural environment with the use of scouting (surveillance) cameras. The results were surprising, and it pushed my practice in new directions. The experience was much more immersive and inclusive in comparison to capturing using a digital SLR camera, where I tend to stand back much more as an observer. In contrast, the Scouting cameras forced me to get much more involved directly with the surrounding environment. The incredible space created by the grounds of the BigCi and the inviting warmth of Rae and Yuri makes time spent here invaluable.”

Resident in the Spotlight: November 2014
Ann-Marie Bäckström
IMG_3372Ann-Marie Bäckström from Sweden said:  “My stay at the BigCi art residency was a truly special experience. I met incredibly amazing people in a most tranquil and inspiring environment. To me the place is very spiritual and therefore it also gave me inspiration and an urge to not only paint but also to write which I haven’t felt for quite some time. The environment really caught me in its beauty and it will for sure inspire my upcoming work to something I didn’t have in mind before I left my home country.”

Resident in the Spotlight: September 2014
Han Qing

Beijing based Han Qing is the recipient of BigCi 2014 Environmental Award. During his residency at BigCi, he created a new body of work about environmental issues in this part of Australia from a Chinese artist’s point of view. His artworks and the artist talk were a special feature of the BigCi Environmental Day. Whilst at BigCi, Han Qing also enjoyed several bushwalks in the areas around us.

Resident in the Spotlight: August 2014
Anna Tregloan
DSC05068aSydney-based installation artist Anna Tregloan is the recipient of a reciprocal residency program facilitated by Asialink; it is a collaboration between the Goyang Art Studio, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea; Artspace Sydney; and BigCi.
Anna said, “My time at BigCi followed two months of intensive work and research in South Korea and was an opportunity to decompress all of that information and reimagine it in an entirely new setting. By improvising space and reframing both the previously produced works and the detailed research process, I was able to evolve, expand and clarify the project and am now looking forward to seeing it progress to the next level”

Resident in the Spotlight: August 2014
Mijin Kim
DSC05070Korean artist Mijin Kim  is the recipient of a reciprocal residency program facilitated by Asialink; it is a collaboration between the Goyang Art Studio, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea; Artspace Sydney; and BigCi. Mijin said, “Great moments often happen here. The Art Shed offers a handsome studio to live and to work in. I had a lot of great inspiration there. Bushwalks, the Aboriginal caves around BigCi – these experiences and adventures also fed my imagination. Amazing mountains and beautiful people.”

Resident in the Spotlight: August 2014
Lisa McDonell
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Lisa is a Sydney based choreographer and dancer. She said, “Part of what I’m really interested in exploring is the effect that the place in which I make work has on the actual outcome. So with this in mind, I began my time at BigCi without a theme or driving idea, apart from that of responding intuitively to this place. For the first time, I created the sound and movement for this work simultaneously. One feeding off the other and both feeding off what I initially thought was the physical landscape of BigCi and the surrounding area, but what I later recognised to be the change in my inner landscape as a result of being in the quietness and solitude of the residency.”

Resident in the Spotlight: July 2014
Alex Bishop-Thorpe 

Alex Bishop-Thorpe is an emerging South Australian Photographic Artist working with a range of experimental and antiquarian techniques and materials. Using the road trip as a research method to explore the utility of the photographic artefact as a prop in the performance of possession and belonging, Alex investigated a number of local scenic lookouts and made collodion glass plate negatives with an improvised darkroom in the boot of his car. Alex is one of the co-founders of The Analogue Laboratory, a photographic facility and darkroom in Adelaide. Here is an article he wrote about his work at BigCi http://www.analoguelab.com.au/2014/08/03/taking-the-show-on-the-road-wet-plate-in-the-field/

Residents in the Spotlight: July 2014
Chris Dolman and Paul Williams

Paul and Chris returned to BigCi to collaborate, experiment, bush walk, and prepare for their upcoming ceramic works exhibition in Adelaide.

Residents in the Spotlight: June 2014
Crisia Miroiu and Andrei Miroiu

Website-andre and crisiaFor their artistic residency, Crisia Miroiu, an international visual artist, teamed with Andrei Miroiu, historian and international relations scholar with a strong academic background and passion for cartography, and undertook a collaborative photographic and counter-mapping project with writing elements –
The Emotional Map of BigCi.
They wrote, “Focusing less on the traditional politics of cartography, but on the politics of emotions, our project redefines and reinforces both natural and manufactured characteristics of the space (such as the bush land, but also the Art Shed, the Studio, or the House) as emotional and creative (in)visible territories, inspiring and influencing the artists living and working at BigCi…”

Resident in the Spotlight: May – June 2014
Hye Weon Shim

Hye Weon Shim, a Korean artist, said, “I use my work to find another space in the world via installations with the empty vessel form through incongruous placement, and I see serene motions growing in harmony with environment.” She exhibited her installation “Between Two Breaths” at BigCi Open Day, June 2014.

Resident in the Spotlight: May – June 2014
Monica Eckert

Monica Eckert is an emerging minimalist Canadian artist who experimented with encaustic technique, exploring composition and colour harmony. She created a series of abstract and semi abstract paintings during her residency at BigCi. She has also enjoyed several walks to the Gardens of Stone guided by Yuri.

Resident in the Spotlight: May – June 2014
Clare Jackson

Clare Jackson, a Canberra based artist, worked on a series of drawings and ceramic objects mapping the connections between natural life forms, both corporeal and organic. She created her installation “to touch, to hold” based on her ideas concerning place and it’s impact on our perception of time and memory, using mark making/drawing as a way of exploring these concepts.

Resident in the Spotlight: February – March 2014
Keith Chidzey

Sydney artist Keith Chidzey says, “The opportunity to remove oneself from the day-to-day responsibilities, to immerse yourself and concentrate fully on one’s creative work should never be underestimated. BigCi not only provides that function with wonderful secluded bush facilities, but the hosts, Rae & Yuri, are generous to a fault. Knowing when to assist and when to leave me create made this 2 weeks not only productive, but reinvigorated my enthusiasm to create. Simply brilliant.”

Residents in the Spotlight: February 2014
Catherine O’Donnell, Locust Jones, Kellie O’Dempsey and Talitha Kennedy
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This group of artists came to BigCi to draw, film, perform, think, walk, explore and be inspired in preparation for their ‘A general map of caves’ exhibition at the Hawkesbury Regional Gallery later this year.

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Resident in the Spotlight: January – February 2014
Lorraine Burke

Lorraine in Romeo Grotto-070214Lorraine Burke came to BigCi from the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Lorraine reflects, ” I choose this residency to start a new body of work that I will develop over the course of 2014. I was drawn to the light and renewal of the bush, of epicormic shoots emerging from charcoal. Using old photographic slides, the light leaked through the edges, the light here is important and I have a large selection of negatives to work with on my return home to North Uist.”


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Resident in the Spotlight: January – February 2014
Claudia Lueke

DSC00177German artist Claudia Lueke says, “My previous artwork was created in an industrial area and was concerned with structures and influenced by straight lines, cool colours, metal. All this now contrasted with organic lines, the warm and sunny ochre and blood red from “bleeding” trees in Bilpin bush. So the residence and the artworks it inspired reflected the encounter between my personal experience of a constructed and also the organic world.”

Resident in the Spotlight: November – December 2013
Anna Borrie

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New Zealand artist Anna Borrie is one of the two recipients of the Very Terry Reid Award. Anna says, “I had the fantastic opportunity of being an artist in residence at BigCi thanks to the Very Terry Reid Award. A combination of the recent bushfires, local Bilpin post office and a local building site led to the creation of work with a political postal twist.”

Resident in the Spotlight: October 2013
Tracey Sarsfield
IMG_2337Tracey says, “While at BigCi, I worked towards an exhibition called “Something familiar” held in Canberra.  BigCi provided time to really engage with the work and develop new aesthetics of line which responded to strata within the environment, these lines encapsulated the figures I sculpted earlier.  The lines suggest movement of weaving, strata, sound waves and hints at a macro and micro matrix which we exist within.”

Resident in the Spotlight: October 2013
Genevieve Swifte
IMG_2387Genevieve writes, “During my residency at BigCi I was mesmerised by the sound of cicadas and the shimmering light that dances on the floor of the Wollemi National Park. I incorporated this experience of the place into my drawing and photography, creating imagery that reflects on the behaviour of light and the excessive qualities of the Australian wilderness.”

Resident in the Spotlight: August 2013
AñA Wojak
IMG_2016AñA Wojak is one of the two recipients of our Very Terry Reid Mail Art Award. She came to stay in BigCi for two weeks and to create her performance, sincerely yours, based on hundreds of handwritten love letters that were posted to her, c/o Bilpin Post Office. AñA performed sincerely yours, in our new (still under construction) Art Shed, for a large audience. She has just come back to Australia after touring this performance to Indonesia and Malaysia.

Resident in the Spotlight: July 2013
Claire Nakazawa
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Claire completed a degree in painting at the College of Fine Arts in 2007 and has since been exhibiting and performing nationally at galleries and festivals and painting murals around Sydney. She is a member of  ‘Sketch the Rhyme’, a multimedia performance group, established in 2008. Recently, performing ‘Speak of the Devil’ with Hermitude has encouraged her to develop her writing. She spent her time at BigCi working on demos, painting, reading and clearing her mind to make space for new ideas, energy and inspiration.

Resident in the Spotlight: July 2013
René Norwie
IMG_1911-websiteRené Norwie is a Sydney based visual artist working with photography. Her artistic explorations are driven by an insatiable curiosity in social ideologies. During her BigCi residency she worked with various photographic forms, including the use of digital, pinhole and medium-format twin-lens cameras. Approaching the residency without any preconceived outcomes and working intuitively with the different photographic forms created opportunities for unexpected perspectives and encounters. BigCi and the surrounding Blue Mountains region provided a unique setting and landscape for collecting material and creating images that further explore René’s ongoing interest in the tension between the allure and fear of the unknown.

Resident in the Spotlight: July 2013
Katrina Stamatopoulos
katrina
Katrina Stamatopoulos is a Sydney based artist working predominantly with photomedia, film and video. At Big Ci, Katrina worked with Rene Norwie on ideas for a collaborative project involving pinhole photography and sound. Katrina also spent time editing 16mm found footage, walking and picking up rocks and making sound recordings collected in different areas of Bilpin.

Resident in the Spotlight: June – July 2013
Bonnie Mitchell
Bonnie M
Bonnie Mitchell in an artist based in Maine and Ohio, United States.  Her research and creative interests include interactive immersive installation art, experimental animation, 3D particle and dynamics systems and special effects, artistic mobile web app development (network art), photography, and cross-disciplinary collaboration.
Bonnie’s artworks explore spatial and experiential relationships to our physical, social, cultural and psychological environment through interaction and immersion.  Bonnie Mitchell often collaborates with Elainie Lillios, an internationally renowned electro-acoustic composer to create sensory experiences that psychologically alter the viewer.
While at BigCi, Bonnie Mitchell begun a new experimental animation using the local natural environment as inspiration.  She also took over a thousand photos, exploring the textures, colours and patterns of the Wollemi National Park flora and stone formations.

Residents in the Spotlight: April 2013
Paul Williams and Chris Dolman
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During their residency period, Chris and Paul developed key concepts and commenced work for a proposed exhibition ‘Pipe Down’, which will be an exhibition consisting of a painting, a print work, ready-made and sculpted objects, artist made tea towels and a two-channel video, which reinvent studio by-products and aesthetic preoccupations through the collaborative process.

This collaborative effort will see Dolman and Williams utilise high and lowbrow materials and ad-hoc methods to examine studio practices and celebrate everyday failure.

By probing the history of non-traditional self-portraiture and blending intimacy with the absurd, this show pokes fun at the artists as the ‘ever emerging’ embracing their own devolution.

Resident in the Spotlight: January – February 2013
Samantha Heydt
SamSam Heydt is a New York-based fine art photographer, writer, graphic designer and documentary filmmaker with strong academic background – the result of study at universities abroad, such as La Sorbonne, La Universidad de Buenos Aires and Universiteit van Amsterdam.

As a fine art photographer, she has been exhibited twice in the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, Russia, as well as in a constellation of galleries and museums throughout New York, LA and Europe. In the Autumn of 2012, she was inducted into MoMa’s elite foundation of artists: “The Contemporaries”, exhibiting shortly after at Miami Art Basel as one of the youngest female photographers.

During Sam’s time at BigCi, her work continued to explore the phenomenology of the present and mythology of the past.

Residents in the Spotlight: November 2012 – January 2013
Yessen Group (Aerin Kim, Min Young Woo, Seyoon Choi)
yessen and pavilionYessen is a group of talented Korean musicians selected by the Korean Traditional Performance Arts Foundation to do a 10 week residency in BigCi. During that time they were able to perform for a wide range of audiences (about 13 performances in total) and to introduce Korean traditional music to the Australian public. Their performances, many of which BigCi assisted in organising, ranged from a concert for Bilpin school children to playing to the audience of over 400 at a Red Cross function.

They also collaborated with contemporary Australian musicians and demonstrated a fine ability to improvise and create new contemporary music that was a strong part of their professional development and an important aspect of their BigCi residency program. The location of BigCi on the edge of Wollemi National Park in Blue Mountains had influenced Yessen so much that they even composed new music based on their experience of the unique nature around BigCi.

Resident in the Spotlight: November – December 2012
Celina Jeffery
CelinaCelina Jeffery is Associate Professor of Art History and Theory at the University of Ottawa and an independent curator.
During her BigCi residency, she had been working on a text and exhibition proposal relating to the following: ‘What are the artistic practices interfacing questions about contemporary ecology as local and global communities grapple with the challenges of sustaining an unsustainable culture of perpetual consumption and energy crises; and what possible practices, processes and methodologies are there within the visual arts to address this?’
It’s been a really useful context for Celina to experience this region, with its staggering vistas, unique, striking geology and dense untouched forests, while she was developing this research.

Residents in the Spotlight: October 2012
Monique Tippett and Rae Clarkson
Monique
Monique Tippett and Rae Clarkson are Western Australian artists whose predominant media is wood. After the completion of a number of large public commissions, Monique was keen to experience the process of working ephemeraly in nature. She and Rae specially flew from Dwellingup, WA to participate in the land art workshop in BigCi and to put in practice their skills, newly acquired during the BigCi artist residency.

Resident in the Spotlight: September – October 2012
Nicola Moss
Nicola MossNicola Moss is a visual artist from Queensland. Her art practice observes and interprets the ecology of Australian landscapes. In BigCi she continued this research with a focus on issues of biodiversity, connectivity, conservation, sustainability and responding to community values. As she was keen to experience and gain some understanding of environments and regions recognised as biodiversity ‘hot spots’ within Australia, BigCi introduced Nicola to local enviromentalists. During her residency she was able to work on her artworks and to take part in specially organised for her by BigCi bushwalks in Wollemi and Gardens of Stone National Parks.

Resident in the Spotlight: August – September 2012

Matt Tierney
Melbourne based multimedia artist Matt is a recipient of numerous grants and rewards including 2012 Jump Mentoring Program that helped him, between other things, to do residency at BigCi. Fresh from life performances in NYC, USA, Matt was enjoying the contrast of being in BigCi with its natural sounds of the bush as well as collecting images for his future work.

Resident in the Spotlight: April 2012
Jessica Birk
Aboriginal artist Jessica Birk (pictured with her mum Lois) came to BigCi in preparation for her solo show “Resilience” that was staged at the Incenerator Art Space 22nd of August till 16th  September 2012. Jessica’s three week artist residency program was supported by the Incinerator Art Space and Willoughby Council.


Resident in the Spotlight: April 2012
Ochre Lawson

At the end of her residency Ochre wrote:

“At the BigCi I realised again how finishing a painting within the environment is a direct process that is integral to a fulfilling practice. The process of recurring light at a certain time of day, trying to attain the shimmering of the forest, finding textures, the form of trees and plants and the rhythm of angles and curves and the personal emotion I feel when creating within the landscape, is a process I find exhilirating.”                       .

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Resident in the Spotlight: March – April 2012
Wally McGregor
WallyMcGregor

Wally McGregor (pictured during an historic moment of installing our first street sign) was the recipient of the BigCi Scholarship for the National Art School BFA (honours) graduate. At the Open Day Wally talked about his residency experience.                          .

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Resident in the Spotlight: March – April 2012
Carlotta Brunetti

Internationally renowned Italian born German land artist Carlotta Brunetti created a site specific installation for BigCi. Carlotta also delivered a fascinating lecture about colour and light in landscape at the first BigCi open day. To see Carlotta’s work and other images from the Open Day go to News.             .

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Residents in the Spotlight: November – December 2011
Alistair Watts, Marian Tubbs and Amilia Groom

Marian Tubbs, Alistair Watts and Amelia Groom took part in the group residency in BigCi. They worked on their individual projects. Marian was writing her PhD on sculpture and making some art work. Alistair had two areas of skill and interest that he was keen to investigate merging in a project.   Broadly, these were spatial design and dance.  Amelia was doing research and writing her dissertation on Japanese aesthetics.

Resident in the Spotlight: November 2011
Lauren Carroll Harris

Lauren Carroll Harris, an emerging artist from COFA will be at BigCi from 14 – 27 November, focusing on a new body of work for her upcoming solo exhibition at ‘Seventh Gallery’ in Melbourne. She will explore the relationship and sometimes disconnection between the natural world and the human built world. Lauren hopes that the natural setting of BigCi will allow her to develop a direct relationship with the land and explore the contrast between urban living and nature and how it influences us as individuals.

Resident in the Spotlight: October 2009
Mark Bolotin
IMG_0284Mark Bolotin is an award-winning director, multimedia practitioner and the founder and artistic director of Synarcade Audio-Visuals (www.synarcade.com.au). He has created numerous large-scale interactive work including “Emergence: Build Your Own Being” (2007, Sydney Opera House, Melbourne Arts House, Canberra Street Theatre). Mark’s current new multimedia work is a twelve-headed, holographic band called “The Lumiphonic Creature Choir” which was showcased in venues across New York City in 2012. As BigCi’s first artist-in-resident, Mark spent a month on the property writing music and lyrics for the Creatures.