Living Water 活水
29 October - 9 November
Living Water 活水
29 October – 9 November 2019
Tuesday – Friday 11am to 5pm,
Saturday 11am to 3pm
Whateley explores a little of what it means to belong to Asia; what it means to be a contemporary Australian living alongside East Asian neighbours.
Fuelled by a passion for ink and paper, and intrigued by the rich visual languages of Chinese brush painting and calligraphy, Living Water is Ella Whateley’s response to full immersion in Taiwanese culture during an inspirational residency at National Taiwan University in Arts (NTUA) in 2018. Curious about the metaphysical and cultural significance of all forms of oriental ink art, this four-month period offered Whateley a unique opportunity to research traditional Chinese landscape painting and calligraphy by observing NTUA Masters at work.
In Living Water Whateley encompasses two approaches to subject matter, both of which are an exploration of the exhibition’s title. The first is a abstracted approach and interpretation of imaginary landscapes developed from Daoist concepts of beauty in landscape and natural forms; the second references ancient Chinese calligraphic seal script and involved taking rubbings off manhole covers found on the roads of Taiwan. Both bodies of work bear the indexical markings of Whateley’s journeys across the island.
At the heart of this work are questions about identity and cultural belonging. Growing up in Europe, with an Australian passport and a love of Chinese culture, Whateley explores a little of what it means to belong to Asia; what it means to be a contemporary Australian living alongside East Asian neighbours. Using inks from both the West and the East, with an ambiguous approach to space and format, Whateley creates hybridised ink works that speak of new ways of finding meaning through visiting and reinterpreting cultural mores.
Ella Whateley is an Australian visual artist, living and working between Melbourne and Canberra. She obtained her doctorate in practise led research, Painting, at the Australian National University in 2016 and is currently an Adjunct Research Fellow at Monash University. In 2018 she received a Short-Term Research Award from the Taipei Ministry of Education, and spent 4 months in Taiwan. In 2020 she will go to Indonesia on residency at the Institute of Technology Bandung to further her engagement with Asian cultures.
Whateley exhibits nationally and internationally and her work is held in various national public and private collections.