Two emerging artists have come together to create a meditative exhibition based on their exploration and understanding of I-Ching, an ancient art of Chinese divination and how it informs us in the modern world.
On show at the Manning Regional Art Gallery until January 19, James Pearson and Geoffrey Lai have produced a collection of prints and carved stones for TAO.
The men say it was an interesting collaboration as they translated the concepts into imagery.
"It was a dance together to try and uncover a common understanding of this ancient knowledge that's really an exciting and inspiring base material to be working from," said Geoffrey, who created the carved stone work.
The exhibition resulted after a chance meeting between James and Geoffrey (their families know each other), and James discovering and being inspired by what Geoffrey had been working on.
"I saw some artwork that was really inspiring and we started doing a collaboration," said James, who was born in Sydney and lived overseas for a number of years.
"Some form of mentorship sparked from there," added Geoffrey.
Geoffrey had grown up a western culture, first living in France and moving to Australia when he was 18, and said he had never connected to his Asian heritage and felt the need to start exploring.
"It was a yearning for identity and reconnecting with my cultural inheritance, personal research and oracles," he said.
"He was unpacking this (when I met him)," said James, "it's an ancient, old system."
James, who has a background in animation for film, television and games, said he could see a lot of potential with Geoffrey's work, which at the time he was doing for himself.
"Through his exploring I discovered and used it as inspiration to create imagery. I ended up learning and exploring and Geoffrey was a teacher of his heritage," said James.
"I had a lot of conceptual understanding and James had a graphics and professional artistic background," added Geoffrey.
James felt the work should be shared.
"I had contact with the gallery and I asked would it be possible to have an exhibition.
"Usually there is a two year waiting period on exhibitions, but they had something coming up in four months and said we could have the room.
"Geoffrey had a couple of stones already done and expanded on those.
"I chose prints to complement them but hadn't done lino so learned that. It was four months of solid prep."
They thrived in the intense period of focused creativity, which also meant they needed to refine their focus for the exhibition quickly.
"The best thing we could have had was a short deadline," said James.
Geoffrey had been working on his stones for a few years prior, and increased his production to be ready in time.
He used a dremel, a diamond tipped power tool engraver, to create the intricately carved designs.
James, who had worked in prints previously, also created his work through carvings, instead using lino, on which he then lay down ink and printed from that.
What they have created is only just the beginning for James and Geoffrey, who are already talking about how they can take their work further.
From something that stemmed from a chance to explore has become a stepping stone to what's possible.
Manning Regional Art Gallery is open from 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday and 1pm to 4pm on Sunday.
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