‘Sole sisters’ come together for Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival

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By Gretel Sneath

Five artists, five different visions – one artwork.

A group of the Limestone Coast’s most dynamic freelance designers have come together to inspire one another, as well as the local art-loving community, and create collaborative artworks for their latest show, STILL.

The exhibition begins with a series of photographic images re-interpreted by the five-member Sole Sisters Collective, each using their trademark style.

Sole Sisters are Anna Mitchell, Kristyn Jones, Julia Reader, Bianca Richardson and Melissa Horton

The joint exhibition is part of the 27th Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival from May 17-20, 2018.

It is the fifth exhibition for the Sole Sisters Collective, which originally began as a creative outlet for solo home-based professionals Melissa Horton, Kristyn Jones, Anna Mitchell, Bianca Richardson and Julia Reader.

“The Collective has allowed us to break free from the artistic restrictions imposed on us in our normal working lives, and allows us to work together to explore themes with total creative freedom,” says member Bianca Richardson.

“Most of us work alone with our own individual clients, so we saw the collective as a great way to expand our networks and share knowledge.”

The Collective’s Kristyn Jones says a variety of mediums will be showcased at the exhibition, which will be officially unveiled on Friday night at Coonawarra’s award-winning Raidis Estate.

“The pieces that we have on show are really varied, from works printed on canvas to art printed on ceramic tiles, digital prints on paper and wood, watercolour, collage and more,” she says.

Central to the exhibition will be the Collective’s signature ‘collaborative artwork’ featuring individual takes on a single theme, with the latest large-scale joint creation based on the work of popular Limestone Coast photographer Ockert le Roux.

The selected image is an aerial view of the Mount Gambier lakes on a ‘still’ foggy morning, with the first signs of sunlight highlighting a kaleidoscope of autumn colours, textures, and the promise of a perfect day.

Central to the exhibition will be a ‘collaborative artwork’ with five interpretations of this photo of Mount Gambier.  Photograph by Ockert le Roux

The artists have divided the image into a grid, with each Sole Sister interpreting her section before presenting it as a whole.

Photographer Ockert says he is looking forward to seeing the iconic view presented in a new light.

“I am super excited to see the result; I made my interpretation, and now five individual artists will make their unique interpretations recombined into one,” he says.

“Who knows what the collective unconscious will reveal. Only time will tell, I can’t wait.”

Sole Sister Anna Mitchell says the group’s dynamic has shifted a lot in the decade since they first met with the goal to inspire one another.

“We now all have children and lead even busier lives, so it has been great for us to be able to put another exhibition together,” she says.

Raidis Estate winemaker Emma Raidis will officially launch STILL on Friday 18 May at 6.30pm at Raidis Estate. The exhibition will be open through to June 1.

Check out the full Penola Coonawarra Arts Festival program here

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