Paintings-by-Janet-Matthews-on-display-at-the-Town-Country-Gallery-yarragon-by-william-pj-kulich-for-warragul-baw-baw-citizen

YARRAGON’S Town & Country Gallery is playing host to an exhibition by two artists this month.

First published in the 15 May 2015 edition of the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.

“Inspirations from Africa & Australia” has been put together by pencil and ink artist Janet Matthews and sculptor Darren Gilbert to show their latest works.

Gilbert provides the Australia side of the exhibition, but it was Matthews who instigated the exhibition and tackled Africa.

She recently explored southern parts of Africa and this exhibition is the first outing of her works from that trip.

“The theme is about Africa because I went to Africa in July and wanted to do a whole lot of artworks to talk about what I experienced over there,” Ms Matthews told the Warragul & Baw Baw Citizen.

“I wanted to launch them as a unit rather than just speckle them out among all [my] Australian ones.

“We went though seven countries.

“We were there for a month on a motorbike tour that was organised so I was in the backup vehicle because I can’t ride a motorcycle because I have a back injury.

“We did South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Zambia, then back into South Africa.”

Riding in the support vehicle proved a mixed result for Ms Matthews, with the motorbikes far ahead kicking up dust and scaring off the animals she wanted to draw.

“It was a bit of a two-way thing,” she said.

“Because the motorbikes were quite a way in front of us the animals were gone by the time we got there, but I had more opportunity to take photos.

“I learnt how to take photos very fast through the windscreen as we were hurtling down the dirt roads.”

“It was two-fold.”

Ms Matthews does not paint from photos, preferring to interpret the nature of the animals herself.

“Photos are to serve the memory,” she said.

“I did a lot of sketching and ideas while I was over there. Not actual artworks, but I got it all down on paper so I could know what I wanted to say about them, and then I used my photos for the details.

“Mostly I do Australian animals and birds.

“I always work on images when I’ve met the animals because I like to meet them and find out what their personalities are like.

“My work is more like a story and a personality rather than ‘this is a bird.’

“See how they work together, see how they hang out, see how they move, all that kind of stuff.”

Ms Matthews lives in Narre Warren North but grew up in Gippsland.

Mr Gilbert is from Yea. The pair has been exhibiting together for over five years.

Inspirations from Africa & Australia will run until 31 May at the Town & Country Gallery, Yarragon.

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