During November of 2015 the Kimberley Training Institute (KTI) held its annual Student Art Exhibition in the Multi Purpose hall of Notre Dame. The exhibition contained almost three hundred individual works of art by multiple artists. At a time when the arts seems under attack from all quarters, the KTI remains only one of two TAFE training institutes to offer a visual arts program anywhere in Western Australia. The exhibition left you in no doubt about the magnitude of artistic talent surging through the veins of Broome.
There was an abundance of art strategically curated throughout the hall. It was as if art was spilling off the walls and demanding the attention of the standing room only crowd.
However one work sat unobtrusively at one end of the great hall, it was displayed on an easel and could have been easily missed except for the compelling use of colour and composition that drew you to it. It was number 161 on the program, one of a small body of work by Heike Radzevicius titled “County”. It instantly connected you to the iconic Broome land/seascape. Radzevicius created a drama of contrast by snaking the turquoise blue of Broome water through the red oxides and cadmiums of pindan country. This place is nowhere, yet everywhere known to us all.
The scene of saltwater country was executed using encaustic wax, an old technique dating back to 100 AD Egypt and enjoying a small resurgence among contemporary artists.
The technique requires the layering of waxes, pigments and resins which are all manipulated on the substrate with heat. Layer upon layer with heat being applied and mediums unwillingly manipulated around the composition with painting knives and stiff brushes. It’s a combination of painting, shaping and carving. It’s as if Radzevicius recreated “Country” using the same techniques that nature herself uses in her own creations of Australian country, heat, pressure, layering, manipulation.
For me “Country” was the standout work of this exhibition. If you can’t yet pronounce her name, you’ll soon master it, as local collectors scramble to add a Radzevicius to their collections of unique and must have Kimberley Art.
Originally Published as "Work Evokes our Landscape" in the Broome Advertiser 3 February 2016.