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Meet the artists behind Solid Gold: People in Place

23 Apr 2021

Meet the artists behind Solid Gold: People in Place

As we approach the opening of the new HOTA Gallery, we’re taking this opportunity to introduce the 19 artists and collectives who are bringing to life the first major exhibition, SOLID GOLD: Artists in Paradise. The exhibition will welcome Gold Coasters to their HOTA Gallery for the first time.

The talented curators at the HOTA Gallery have found the common ground that brings together our artists. A difficult task, considering their individuality in expression, artform, and platform.

The artists below find their inspiration from the world around them. Finding the joy, meaning, emotion, and memory locked within those around us, objects, our environment, and the world’s we inhabit. They celebrate, educate, protect, and create, drawing on the natural sources around them along the way.

You can also read more about some of the other artists involved in SOLID GOLD here, here, and here.


Abbey McCullough

Named one of Australia’s 50 most collectable artists three years straight, Abbey McCulloch’s creations continually intrigue and capture the attention of audiences. A three time Archibald Prize finalist, she’s known for her depictions of a generalised ‘everywoman’, her work has recently become more specific, drawing on personal experiences to examine societal norms and convey a unique perspective on issues.

Kirsty Bruce

Kirsty Bruce creates precise, rich in detail artworks. Beginning with a drawing and finishing with a multilayered, painstakingly detailed work, Bruce commits to a slow, but enthralling process allowing her to capture the essence of her subject. Her meticulous and methodical process remains a fascinating feature of her work.

mary elizabeth barron SOLID GOLD HOTA GALLERY

Mary Elizabeth Barron

Mary Elizabeth Barron combines traditional craft techniques with her innovative use of recycled materials. Focusing primarily on recycling household waste materials into works of art, she incorporates basketry, papermaking, bobbin lacemaking, and sewing techniques to successfully marry traditional crafting with her future-focused use of recycled materials.

JIL Studios 

Brothers Jacob, Isaac, and Lachlan Hough combine their talents and expertise to create thought-provoking and multi-layered installations dedicated to the beauty of Australia. Recognising the impact of society on our environment, the brothers aim to provide spaces dedicated to the contemplation of how our lifestyle is depleting the world’s native wonders.


Quick bite with Kirsty Bruce and JIL Studios

Kirsty Bruce

What attracts you to your subjects? Is there anything in particular you search for when looking for your inspirations?

I enjoy painting people and the natural world. The people I choose to portray express a range of sentiments and express emotions that we all feel in our lives; for example, we can all relate to feelings of vulnerability, joy, confidence, shyness, awkwardness, fear, mystery, peace or despair and I wanted to represent all of these different emotions on the wall. Most importantly, on one level or another, I can relate personally to each selected image, and elements of myself are imprinted in each one. In addition, I am in awe of the natural world around me, and I love to paint small detailed studies of some of my favourite natural creatures (birds, leaves, butterflies ect.). Also, for Solid Gold, I wanted to include a number of colourful abstract shapes within the installation, in order to add another layer of inquiry and mystery, to the overall composition.

Can you describe why your process is important to your art? In the sense that it’s an insanely worthwhile process considering the detail you’re able to capture, have you found that it’s become more of a ritual?

The painting process is so important; I always produce slowly, drawing the image is the starting point, and next, a considerable amount of time is spent filling in all the features, layering acrylic paint as a base, and then ultimately refining the details using watercolour pencils.  I also enjoy using a tiny pair of scissors to cut out and around some of my subjects.  I have been working in this way for decades, and it is has become a daily ritual (it is just something that I do)!  I absolutely love working small scale and capturing fine details – I could never imagine myself with a large paintbrush in my land and randomly brushing paint around on canvas!

What do you hope audiences experience when viewing Wonderwall?

For me personally, scale is a relative concept – It is not about size or a single image, but ultimately is about how one image relates to another and how collectively, these images / figures seem to come together as they fall apart.  Some figures procure the feeling of being trapped (hermetically sealed) in moments of introspection, isolation, self-questioning or melancholy.  Other figures attempt to interact with others in the installation; while there are others that are obviously caught up in the process of posing for the camera: they stare straight out at the viewer and are intensely aware of being watched.  I always consider each painting to be individual and separate (little private stories), yet to exist as a fragment contained within a whole.  My paintings are not meant to be viewed independently or separately, with each one implicating its own symbolic, fixed meaning; rather in essence, each painting characterises an interpretation which is “unintentional” (seemingly unfinished or open-ended), and thus susceptible to an endless array of supplementary readings when juxtaposed with additional paintings.  In bringing these separate, diverse images together, I am interested in how they indirectly relate to one another, ask questions and create ambiguous, open-ended narratives.  Consequently, I delight in leaving the responsibility of interpretation with the viewer; thus (through ambiguity) I allow the viewer to imagine his / her own version of the work.


JIL Studio

How does it feel to be a part of the first major exhibition at the new HOTA Gallery? 

It still feels a bit surreal, but we are super excited to be part of the exhibition. It’s humbling to be exhibited with so many great artists and we can’t wait to see everyone’s work.

As brothers did the three of you always have a shared interest in the environment and conservation?

I think growing up where we did on the tweed gave us an appreciation for the beauty of the Australian landscape, we were really fortunate to have parents that fostered this through their own interests in conservation as well. We have each ended up in different places in terms of our work, but the overriding theme of place and how the natural environment informs that is something that we still share and believe in strongly.

How do you hope visitors use the space you’re creating with Lost Topography?

We would love it if people found it a nice place to sit. We would also be stoked if people recognised/liked some of the native plants used in the installation, and hopefully this starts a thought process about the use of native planting and how we approach our natural environment.

What was the motivation behind the three Hough brothers joining forces and talents as JIL Studios?

We had talked about working together for a while and the open call from HOTA seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally combine our interests and explore how that could work as something cohesive. Working together for us is also a way to do something we love and hopefully explore ideas that people find interesting.


Exhibition Corporate Partner