Gabrielle McDonald | Pippi + Tua + Iti Kiore

Gabrielle McDonald, The Crocodile Hunter Outback, 2020, 24cm x 30cm, bone, copper and recycled materials, currently exhibited online in The Alice Prize.

We here at FOUND! HQ (the dog and I) are excited to welcome artist Gabrielle McDonald to the project. Gabrielle lives and works in one of the coastal communities here in Bundaberg and is a powerhouse of vitality and innovation.

Winner of the inaugural Bundaberg Art Prize last year, and a finalist in The Alice Prize this year, both with sculptural works, we can’t wait to see the piece the artist creates for FOUND! For a more detailed look at The Crocodile Hunter Outback click here.

And you connect to Gabrielle’s artwork page on Facebook here.

Gabrielle, what is your art practice?
Well that’s an interesting question that I had to ponder! I can’t contain myself to working in one medium, so I guess I can call myself a multi media artist (hoarder, brain-cant-stop, and just-got-to-fiddle-with-something artist) A base often starts with acrylics, ink, oil bars, then I draw on top to create a secondary story – usually with the thinking “louder the better”!

I also have a love of sculpture and creating a story from elements in our environment that I connect with. It is important to me, as we should not forget what we are doing to our environment intentionally or unintentionally. I love the simplicity, the natural flow and gentle curves of bone and the outcome when mixed with recycled copper and found objects. In sculpting, I want to create more than an art piece, I want to create a narrative that allows the viewer to find their own story.

Who are your studio companions?
I have two chihuahua crosses, Pippi and Tua. Pippi is the mad hatter who keeps me entertained, playing chase with her invisible friend. She loves video calls where she always needs to be the centre of attention. Tua is a lap dog and heat seeker. He is a quiet gentleman but has one downfall – he loves those nasty toads. Lastly there is Iti Kiore (small mouse in Maori), my oriental Siamese. She is a thief in the night, stealing my brushes and pens and leaving them behind the fridge. Thank goodness she is not like our last cat who stole the car keys!

What are you working on in your studio now?
To be honest, I am flat out… I am jumping between a new series of works on paper, and a new series of bone sculptures for the 2020 art prize circuit. Somehow, I have set myself the task of both complicated and serious thinking around the mathematical aspects in both lots of works… but I am loving it.

How has the current imposed isolation changed what you’re doing? Has something really surprised you during this transition to ‘artist in quarantine’?
The only surprise is watching all the lovely art work now appearing on the internet from worldwide lockdowns. I believe all forms of art should be celebrated and it was fabulous to see art as a major topic in the foreground. I felt a little isolated/lonely as my husband’s flights were cancelled over and over. Six weeks without him – I had my work spread from room to room knowing no one was coming to visit, but I did have time to clean up before he came home.

Any special news about your art practice?
I have had to rethink this year’s goals with Art Prizes being cancelled or deferred. But I was delighted and privileged to be a finalist for The Alice Prize, which went virtual this year. Cancelling our trip to Uluru was a bummer though. Other than that, I’m excited to be part of FOUND! Studio Dog and seeing where my new works sit in the public spaces.

(Ed: We sure are too, Gabrielle!)

Gabrielle, Pippi and Tua in isolation in 2020. Image by Jane Hart Photography
Iti Kiore searching for brushes to hide!

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