Rochelle Summerfield's 'A Wayfarer on the Nepean' at Penrith Regional Gallery & the Lewers Bequest

NATURE: In Rochelle Summerfield's latest exhibition 'A Wayfarer on the Nepean', she's combined technologies such as photography, digital media and animation.

NATURE: In Rochelle Summerfield's latest exhibition 'A Wayfarer on the Nepean', she's combined technologies such as photography, digital media and animation.

The mighty Nepean River and its Great River Walk has inspired artist Rochelle Summerfield’s latest work, A Wayfarer on the Nepean.

Summerfield drew her inspiration from her home based beside the Clarence River in Grafton.

“I love views of the riverscapes and natures natural surroundings,” she said.

The exhibition at Penrith Regional Gallery & the Lewers Bequest explores ideas of identity and transformation through paradox.

“The more we domesticate the landscape the more we search to find connection to the ‘wild’ in ourselves and in nature,” Summerfield said.

The more we domesticate the landscape the more we search to find connection to the ‘wild’ in ourselves and in nature. - Rochelle Summerfield

“During the creation of these works I camped at the nearby riverside caravan park during my three week professional artist’s residency last December.

“Every day I walked or rode along the track from the caravan park to the gallery. I explored the river banks and studied various aspects of the river along its track.

“I felt the heat and relished the shade of the trees, saw the weeds, recorded the birdlife and swatted the flies. I observed houses encroaching on the vegetation needed to stabilise the banks.

She said she felt the violence and sadness of litter arrogantly left behind.

“I savoured my time there. I witnessed the community’s affection and engagement with the river and her banks for picnics, weddings, swimming, skiing, rowing and exercising along this great walking track,” she said.

“I thought about how the Nepean River is so much a part of this city and its identity and yet contradictorily estranged, neglected and controlled by it, as are so many of our rivers.”

Perhaps a true wayfarer herself – a nomad who often travels – Summerfield has allowed herself the time to extend her practices of drawing, collage and animation.

Summerfield’s plucky red-shoed heroine, a recurring protagonist, makes an appearance again, this time situated within the rich, lush riverscape of the Nepean.

Her powerful, contemporary female form is far greater than the sum of her collaged parts as she defies body image and injects a cheeky spark of humour into the work.

  • A Wayfarer on the Nepean will be on exhibit until May 21 at Penrith Regional Gallery & the Lewers Bequest, 86 River Road, Emu Plains. Entry is free.
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