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Erica Wagner—Hope is the Thing


9 Feb 2023 - 20 Feb 2023

Opening and Book Launch: Sunday 12 February, 1pm–3pm. Meet the Artist Sunday 19 February, 1pm–3pm.

Location: Cato Gallery


View Erica Wagner's Profile

Hope is the Thing features the original artwork from the book Hope is the Thing, written by Johanna Bell, illustrated by Erica Wagner and published in February 2023 by Allen & Unwin. Related paintings, collages, drawings and limited-edition prints and panels from the book will also be on display.
Updated_Hope is the Thing Cover

Updated_Hope is the Thing Cover

Erica Wagner—Hope is the Thing

Location: Cato Gallery


View Erica Wagner's Profile

9 Feb 2023 - 20 Feb 2023

Opening and Book Launch: Sunday 12 February, 1pm–3pm. Meet the Artist Sunday 19 February, 1pm–3pm.

Hope is the Thing features the original artwork from the book Hope is the Thing, written by Johanna Bell, illustrated by Erica Wagner and published in February 2023 by Allen & Unwin. Related paintings, collages, drawings and limited-edition prints and panels from the book will also be on display.

In 2019, Johanna and Erica co-facilitated a six-month story camp in Darwin for writers and artists after which they decided to use the creative processes they’d developed for the attendees on themselves. Their mutual love of birds led them towards Hope is the Thing. Erica created collage images to accompany Johanna’s poem, which riffs on Emily Dickinson’s famous poem ‘Hope is the Thing With Feathers’. Their collaboration asks the question, if hope is the thing with feathers, what does that look like in our Australia, today?

Erica’s collage material comes from old work, piles of life drawings, landscape sketches, still life compositions – abandoned or discarded – as well as plain painted backgrounds, monoprints, and fragments of text from books and journals. She paints the backgrounds loosely, using colours that evoke places she loves: the wide-open skies of central and northern Australia, misty mountain forests, wild burnt coastlines, tender sunrises, dramatic storms and sunsets. Onto these colour fields, she places torn and cut shapes, looking for angles and contrasts of light and dark, thick and thin, rough and smooth, curves and straight lines. She draws birds in action and traces their shapes onto the back of the old artworks, so it’s a surprise when she turns the cut shapes over.

Erica says: ‘Making pictures from my own discarded art supports my belief that nature rights itself, even as it destroys. It is possible to repurpose, reuse, and make something new.’

Erica will be in the gallery throughout the exhibition and the book, Hope is the Thing, will be officially launched on Sunday 12 February, 1-3pm.

Find out more about the book here.

9-20 Feb Erica Wagner Hope is the Thing white flyer copy

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