Artist draws on nature

Headshot of Kellie Balaam
Kellie BalaamNarrogin Observer
Joyce Contos with her most recent piece of work.
Camera IconJoyce Contos with her most recent piece of work. Credit: Kellie Balaam

Wheatbelt artist Joyce Contos draws inspiration from nature’s twisting roots and weaving limbs when it comes to projecting her mind on to an empty canvas.

Contos’ first solo exhibition, A Dozen Plus Two, shows a retrospective collection of a variety of works and styles including 12 paintings and two paper quilts completed over 40 years.

It opened in Narrogin last Thursday and will run at Arts SPACE on Federal Street until April 2.

Expressive colour and imagination leap from the canvases on display, the bright and intricate designs leaving hidden elements of surprise within paintings.

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Thundering blue (2019)
Camera IconThundering blue (2019) Credit: Kellie Balaam/Narrogin Observer

Contos has a Masters in Art Therapy from Edith Cowan University and is employed as a counsellor, offering art therapy as a means to work creatively through life’s issues.

This has also influenced her artwork, loosening her style and expectations, helping her enjoy the creative process rather than worrying about the result.

Contos paints from photos or sets up an easel to draw her subject live.

She said her first solo exhibition was exciting but daunting.

“I thought it was time to bring my works out and show people. It really is amazing to see them all in one space at the same time,” she said.

On the ocean floor (2002).
Camera IconOn the ocean floor (2002). Credit: Kellie Balaam/Narrogin Observer

She said her favourite painting in the exhibit was her most recent one, Tree Mirage.

“I wanted to create an environmental statement,” she said.

“If we don’t take care of our world then all we could be left with is a mirage.”

The work took about one month to complete and is a mixed media creation incorporating chalk, acrylic paint and tree bark.

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