In Rachel Ellis’ exhibition showing at The Bathurst Regional Art Gallery from 8 June until 5 August 2018 we can see the results of her “Plein Air “ studies of the Bathurst region’s landscape and streetscapes and also some interiors of Haefliger’s Cottage at Hill End ,near Bathurst.
Titled “Sustaining Light”, she says of her work “ I was drawn to the light interacting with the shapes and forms both inside and out and the way light can transform what we see.”
I find that her Bathurst streetscapes are evocative of the works of Jeffrey Smart, but are a much softer representation. One can occasionally come across Rachel, hair blowing in the wind, easel supporting an embryonic art work, as she steadily concentrates on the task at hand. In this way she follows in the footsteps of Elioth Gruner who also painted in Plein Air in the Bathurst streets, near the corner of Mitre and Keppel Streets, in 1929.
My favourite works are those executed at Hill End, in Haefliger’s Cottage.
“Yellow Towels 11, Haefligers Cottage”, depicts an interior scene looking through the cottage’s partially screened windows which glow with the reflected light thrown serendipitously from two bright yellow towels blowing freely in the breeze in the garden. A joyous scene in which to be absorbed in the stillness, and meditate.
As Hendrik Kolenberg, in his introductory essay in the catalogue for the exhibition, says of the windows, “They also suggest inner and outer stillness which is characteristic of her work.”