Denise Keele-bedford – Statement

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BLOOM OF YOUTH Solo Exhibition from Sept.1 to Nov.24, 2013

During a decade of making art in China, Australian artist Denise Keele-bedford has experienced and seen many changes in a country that subtly enticed her and influenced her art making.

Denise has paid homage to Chinese culture whilst introducing aspects of her western culture, combining the two in intriguing artworks that attract in their beauty yet speak volumes about history.

In celebration of a decade of art making in China Denise is showcasing a body of artwork that includes, ceramics, drawing, stitching, textiles and natural elements.

Intrigued with a historic belief that white skin is the superior attraction Denise looks at a wide birth of cultures and their obsession with this belief.  She looks at products and creams developed that successfully whitened the skin in the short term but blackened the life of the user.

In pursuit of beauty, in efforts to have younger looking skin, to want the ‘Bloom of Youth’ when past their prime women died for perfection.

‘Bloom of Youth’ is about beauty, intertwining flora with drawings, stitched works on paper, painting on fabric and the perfection of white glazed ceramics.

In conjunction with the ‘Bloom of Youth’ exhibition Denise Keele-bedford’s celebratory catalogue will be launched.


“ Forest Forms”

My ancestors arrived in Australia from England in 1849. They were pioneers searching for Utopia in a new land believed to be filled with opportunities and a natural beauty beyond imagination.

Indigenous Australians in their Dreamtime Stories talk of the formation of the landscape. Their stories tell of significant places where land, rock and plant forms maintain ancestral spirits. Their lives and belief systems derive from these stories. These people believe that they are the caretakers of their land, that they never own it but are part of the land on which they live.

Although I was born in this country and come from many generations of Australians it has been through traveling and walking on this vast land that I began to understand and experience an intense spirituality that is Australia ‘s natural environment. It is a rugged country, a land of contrasts and I recollect in this series of art works a dichotomy in the beauty and brutality of nature and its affect on the Australian landscape.

This group of works titled “Forest Forms” is an expression of the variety of indigenous trees that survive across Australia . The works are at times a playful interpretation of botanical and common names mixed with ribbon, thread and coloured patterns of paint and ink. These can be seen in ‘Scribbly gum’, ‘Ribbon Gum’ and ‘Diversicolor’.

Although natural storms, floods, fire and drought effect our trees, past generations of white Australians have destroyed vast forests of indigenous trees in the name of ‘progress’. Through using fabrics, some of subtle transparency I endeavour to comment on the disappearance of our forests and bring attention to a fragility within our natural environment that we must consider for future generations.