It was a lazy Sunday afternoon in Queenscliff with the warm sun giving the seaside town a slow, laid back vibe; but it was a hive of activity at Salt Contemporary Art. People were arriving, laden with easels, paintboxes and sketchbooks. Apparently a drawing class was about to start upstairs but I wasn’t there for the art class. I had come to see the latest paintings by Anne Hastie. There was a small crowd milling around the gallery and I discovered I was just in time to hear a talk by the artist herself.
Besides having a string of degrees to her name, including a Masters in Fine Art, Anne has been creating art for over thirty years. She gave us an insight into her artistic process and the way she creates her abstract works. Her paintings are created with poured inks, paint, varnishes and hand-applied pigment. She often starts with a hot pink canvas as a way of immersing herself into the creative process. She pours on the ink or paint and allows it to pool and meld. Each layer is carefully dried on the canvas before another layer is added. This multi-layering gives a gentle, ephemeral, meditative feeling to her work. Her paintings evoke an imagined aerial perspective or a view from a microscope, depicting a
flat plane without linear perspective.
Anne showed us a series of photos that have inspired her paintings. She doesn’t paint directly from the photos but lets them percolate in her subconscious and quietly shape her work. Her reference photos (artworks in themselves) reveal her interest in different surfaces, textures, patterns and shapes. Many of the photos Anne showed us were taken in China where she finds many sources of inspiration. In fact she reveals that China has become her muse. The challenge of the harsh winter, the language barrier, the diversity of materials, the masses of Chinese and international artists – all combine for a highly creative experience. She travels to China regularly, spending time in Beijing as an artist-
in-residence with the Red Gate Gallery. It is easy to see the influence of the harsh, cold, grey Beijing winter in a series of neutral-toned abstracts which form part of the exhibition. These make an interesting contrast to other works in saturated colour.
Anne’s work is inspired by the physical tactile world but she reinterprets that world in ways that invite contemplation. It is an exhibition to be taken at a slow pace to allow these paintings to resonate.
Anne Hastie’s latest paintings are on exhibition at Salt Contemporary Art until
October 25th. You can view more of Anne Hastie’s work at www.saltcontemporaryart.com or on Anne’s website http://annehastie.com.au