December was a huge month for the Wilderness Gallery with eight new rooms set up with exhibitions by Arwen Dyer, Barry Smith, Jon Kudelka and Wendy Edwards.
It also saw the first residency undertaken by the much loved cartoonist and author, Jon Kudelka. Jon spent two weeks working on his new book about Cradle Mountain, producing new work for his current exhibition Kudelka in the Wild and even had time to design and paint an amazing mural in one of the children’s galleries.
With access to a working space, a gallery and the bush surrounding the property Jon worked all hours, chatting to visitors and cycling throughout Cradle to observe the wildlife and visitors.
‘I'm best known as a political cartoonist for the Australian and the Hobart Mercury, so this is a bit of a departure for me. Cradle Mountain is a very special place so I was pleased to be offered an artist's residency here.
The painting of cradle mountain under stars was from a time I managed to get to Dove Lake on a clear still night. The number of stars is not an exaggeration!’
The residencies have been introduced as part of the new direction for the Wilderness Gallery which will also include Tasmanian films, an annual exhibition program, workshops, a sculpture garden and a room dedicated to the Tasmanian Tiger.
Artists are applying for residencies to undertake new work and immerse themselves into this unique environment. Working in a range of mediums, artists from both within and outside Tasmania will have the opportunity to exhibit new work, engage with visitors and explore the mountain region.
Jon Kudelka also used the residency to practice Pyrography on wood, or "poker work or wood burning as its also known. Pyrography is the art of decorating wood or leather by burning a design on the surface with a heated metallic point.
“It seemed an appropriate way to draw some of the wildlife you see around this area. It's a very organic way of working and I like the way the grain of the wood becomes part of the picture. It feels a bit like the way the plants and animals here are party of the landscape.”
Jon’s work will be on display until the end of March and more details are available at kudelka.com.au.