An experimentation of space and the human relationship to land
At two by 1.5 metres, Homeland is one of the largest charcoal drawings that Newcastle artist, Christina Frogley has ever created. She wasn’t daunted by the process, she was excited by it.
Situated on the wall just as you walk in to Newcastle Art Space, Homeland is just one of the many pieces that Christina is exhibiting alongside another young, emerging talent, Louisa Magrics for Augmented, which opened on Saturday 10 September.
“I’m just trying to get the audience to become absorbed in the landscape that I grew up in, and the way I feel when I’m in that landscape,” Christina says.
She’s employed a range of different techniques to help the audience on this journey, including using a looser charcoal stroke so that as you get up close the image becomes more abstract, but from a distance it is real and engaging.
“It’s so massive that you can just get immersed in there.”
It’s been six years since Christina moved away from her family home on a property near Wellington in Central West NSW. In that time she’s lived in Sydney where she studied Fine Arts, and travelled the world, before moving to Newcastle, where this year she was named as a finalist in the Newcastle Emerging Artist Prize. But home will always be important to her.
“I have nostalgia for the farm. I think because it’s so quiet and my brother and sister were a bit older than me and they went to boarding school so I was left alone on the farm from a young age.
“I used to go around and explore in the area and just find things and play with them and make little cubby houses and stuff like that.”
2016 has been a year of experimentation for Christina. In April she held her first solo exhibition at Nanshe Gallery called The Female Disillusion, that explored the unrealistic beauty of women through a series of nudes that mixed abstract and realism on the canvas. But her exploration of Australia is not totally new.
“It was probably the first thing I explored,” Christina says.
“My mother has quite a big garden and I used to just paint the flowers out of the garden and find things in the garden to experiment with. I think I’ve come back to it because of my nostalgia for it.
“I think the Australian landscape is very much its own and it doesn’t look like anywhere else in the world. I think that is the colours and the way the land forms and the native flora even is a bit special and something I grew up with.”
As well as exhibiting half-a-dozen charcoal drawings of landscapes from home, Christina has more than ten still life oil paintings going on display for Augmented. However they’re far from traditional, featuring different items that we may call ‘junk’ that she has found on the farm.
“I wanted something visually interesting. It’s funny because my dad even said that when I went and found all these objects and brought them back to the house. He was kinda like ‘what are you going to do with them they’re just old incinerated cans’. He couldn’t understand the value in them for me, but I find them interesting forms, some remnants, the colours are interesting just the way they’ve rusted over time.”
“It might take [the audience] on a journey of what Australian rural landscapes are like, but also this art show is very personal to me, and it comes back a lot on me because it’s where I grew up.”