Women in transience: soul searching in Gippsland via Open ABC

Sculptor Clive Murray White and painter Bill Young capture the contemplative nature of women who come to Gippsland via two very different art forms.

On a recent visit to Cowwarr, I caught up with two very different artists, marble sculptor Clive Murray White and Gippsland painter Bill Young.

First of all, hiding out in the back shed was Clive, possibly Gippsland's answer to Michael Angelo, chipping away at a marble mass which had been carved into the face of a woman. It is not often you see an everyday person immortalised in such a grand marble statue, an art form historically reserved for governors, Greek gods, religious and mythological figures.

The subject's name was Iris, a contemporary Israeli writer who had spent time in Gippsland. Clive's intention was to capture her in thought, a state of mind that you don't often find with the voluptuous naked nymphettes of renaissance marble sculpture. We discussed that pivotal moment of when a block of marble becomes a person, when the soul enters the work.

On the topic of contemplative women lost in a moment of thought in Gippsland the Gippsland landscape, I was intrigued to see the work of artist in residence Bill Young. Amongst the animated dairy hills and cypress trees of Bill's bulbous iconographic South Gippsland scenes, was a reoccurring motif of a woman pondering the Gippsland landscape before her inevitable departure.

These `songs' of transience and leaving raised an interesting observation on Bill's part, on a specifically female experience of isolation in Gippsland. Why do we come here? What are we looking for? Why do we stay and why do we leave?

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Rachael Lucas

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Rachael Lucas