Cover Story

By Annie Sebel

As skilled with a pair of secateurs as she is a paintbrush, Laura Jones’ past moonlighting as a florist, while she studied at COFA, has informed her still-life paintings. Jones collects flowers, vases and sets up little vignettes for her observation- based studio practice. There’s an ease to her arrangements and composition, which is offset with vibrant colours and energetic marks that bring a liveliness to her work, moving it into the contemporary. A talented portrait painter, Jones says she was drawn back to flowers for her ‘Wildflower’ exhibition due to their symbolism. “We hold a nostalgic attachment to the European flowers that have been with us since early white settlement,” says Jones. “Our fondness for them comes from a romantic ideal of ‘home’, still visible in our own gardens, detached from the bush… So in contrast to the reverence for the rose, we claim the wildflower when we want to identify ourselves as Australian, they are expressions of our Australian-ness, a tool to differentiate ourselves from the rest of the world.”

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Saturday 11 July - 20 August 2015

Gallery Ecosse, Exeter, NSW

Featuring: Abdul Abdullah, Clara Adolphs, Giles Alexander, Glenn Barkley, Jason Benjamin, Dean Brown, Tamara Dean, McLean Edwards, Stuart Fleming, Ian Grant, David Griggs, Sarah Hendy, Alan Jones, Laura Jones, Michael Kempson, James Kerr, Juz Kitson, Jasper Knight, Michael Lindeman, Tony Lloyd, Euan Macleod, Guy Maestri, Tara Marynowsky, Julian Meagher, Lara Merrett, Daniel Morse, James Powditch, Ben Quilty, Leslie Rice, Paul Ryan, David Ryrie, Luke Sciberras, Peter Sharp, Wendy Sharpe, Ben Smith, Alex Standen, Tim Storrier, Pam Tippett, Craig Waddell, Oliver Watts, Mirra Whale, Paul White, Julian Wolkenstein, Heidi Yardley


‘Laura Jones- Still Life’, a solo exhibition at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery

10 April 2015 – 24 May 2015

Hawkesbury Regional Gallery

300 George Street, Deerubbin Centre

Windsor NSW 2756

Catalogue essay by Kathleen von Witt:

There is something inherently pleasing about still life paintings. Flower arrangements, especially. The combination of capturing the colours, the form and the transience of cut flowers in paint has an almost universal appeal. When people discuss the ‘death of painting’, I think they should add a caveat ‘except flowers’.

Flowers in art bring to mind the long history of painting, as well as the long history of gardening, of botany, the sociology of the home, and even the expansion of Europe with the bringing exotic species from around the world to be cultivated for our pleasure. From Giotto to Van Gogh flowers have had a central presence in art. Sometimes they can be allegorical, making claims of romance or piety, courage or fidelity; other times as scientific, botanical documentation of species types, and indication of wealth – the Dutch tulips spring to mind; or the exotic, like the fynbos of South Africa and the coastal health of western Australia with their Ericas, Salvias and Proteaceae. Notwithstanding the joyousness of painting to capture the colour and essence of flowers – such as Van Gogh’s sunflowers, and Matisse’s fauvist arrangements. Such paintings radiate out from the canvas a brightness, a joyousness that captures the essence of the flowers, from the sunlight and the ground that is more than just their form.

Laura Jones’ paintings have come from these robust traditional platforms and yet bring a bright contemporaneousness to them as well. As a young artist who has worked as a florist, she brings a tangible femininity to the works, as well as a strong painterly eye. She isn’t afraid of bright colours, of strong compositions and of interesting angles. Combined with a confidence and spontaneity of brushstroke and technique her still lifes are more than the sum of their parts.

Bold composition with contrasting background highlights the floral imagery and draws the eye to the flowers in a way different to those more formal arrangements of flowers by artists such as Margaret Preston, and Cressida Campbell.

Although Laura Jones’ pictures are not intended as botanical illustrations, they all contain the essence of the plant or flower: the soft sensuous petals of her roses, the bright reds and orange of the Zinnias as though in the full sun of their native Africa, contrasted with a black background to enhance the colour.

Colour is the key to Jones’ painting, and the artist has an eye for the exact nuance of colour exemplifying a plant, such as a flowering gum, or the leaves of a grevillea. The compositions are delightful in their fresh and exuberant nature: the three vases Durian and Flannel Flower Still Life, and the joyful juxtaposition of species are enchanting.

This exhibition lifts the spirits as a walk through the bush or garden filled with flowers would, and invites the viewer to enjoy these delightful works. Jones’ progression as an artist exemplifies the importance of having a dedicated studio practice and Hawkesbury Regional Gallery is honoured to be able to show her work.

Kathleen von Witt


Hawkesbury Regional Gallery​



Shadow and Soul

By Lucy Feagins

Photos by Rachel Kara

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Words by Lucy Kaldor

On the morning of my mother’s funeral, I had an altercation over Eucalyptus macrocarpa. It was a baking hot Christmas eve in Perth – you could’ve roasted the yuletide chook in the glovebox of our car – and I was wearing a watermelon coloured, crocheted cotton top, property of the deceased.

We’d been trawling the streets along the train line for a suitable flower to place on her coffin. I can’t remember exactly why I was so determined to snaffle some Eucalyptus macrocarpa that morning, since the casket flowers (ordered from the florist by me) were to be peonies – the most expensive flower I could think of (I wasn’t paying), and quite a contrast to the Eucalyptus.

I do remember, though, that macrocarpa was first pointed out to me by mum on one of many dusky neighbourhood walks during my childhood in Perth, and it struck me as the archetype of West Australian flora: structurally unusual and bloody outstandingly beautiful. And my mother, if not structurally unusual, was certainly unusual, as well as being outstandingly beautiful. Perhaps my subconscious found them to be a good match.

We drove up onto the verge (people do that in Perth) near Cottesloe station, where I’d located a big macrocarpa specimen. If you knew the plant, you’d know that the base of each fat flower is attached directly to the branch (or is it a trunk?) making them tricky to pick. After considering my options carefully, I set about plucking my chosen bloom, which was perfect, pink and frothy.

While I was studiously trying to dislocate the flower from its tough stem, a middle-aged couple with a sandy dog emerged from behind a large clump of Geraldton wax ten or so metres away. I suppose they’d been walking their dog back from the beach, although they could’ve been doing anything behind that giant waxflower. As they passed us on their way along the line, the man made a slight detour in our direction and offered me a reprimand. ‘They look pretty nice on the tree’, he said, throwing his voice through the baking hot air.

This, of course, was true, but I couldn’t have the whole tree, could I? So I shot back with the acid tongue of the bereaved and said ‘Yeah, and this one’ll look pretty bloody nice on my mother’s coffin.’

Duly chastened, he mumbled an apology, tripped over his feet and hurried off to rejoin his wife and labrador. As for the flower, I took it along to the funeral and plonked it into onto the casket at the designated time, where it was promptly swallowed by a clutch of hungry peonies. Most unceremonious.

It’ll be 10 years this December, and I’ve asked my friend Laura Jones to paint me a picture of macrocarpas, so that I won’t forget.

Post script 20/06/14
Laura Jones has kindly sent us a pic of the finished work. Check it out below. Such a beauty!

See the original article here:

Macrocarpa (To Not Forget) 2014, oil on linen, 115 x 135 cm

Some recent articles on ‘Light is Fugitive’ at Gallery Ecosse:

The Design Files

Broadsheet Sydney

Laurajones-portrait by Carine Thevenau

“Less about face value, more about state of mind”

By Alex Speed

Autoportrait, a self-portrait feature is the 26th exhibition held by Gallery Ecosse which showcases a select group of represented and invited artists including some Highlands based names, most notably Archibald Prize winner and AGNSW Trustee Ben Quilty. Self-portraits have been made by artists since the earliest times, in many cases becoming an integral part of an artists practice. A self-portrait can reveal so much about an artist, from moral and psychological issues through to a strong form of narrative taken from the artists life-experience. Dominic Knight discusses the exhibition in his foreword text in the Autoportrait catalogue

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