Sarah McNeill opens SPRING 2020!
"Welcome to this lovely gallery and to Spring 2020 with two fabulous artists, Regina Noakes and glass artist Jill Yelland.
My name is Sarah McNeill, I am arts editor for Post Newspapers and through my company Lit Live, I am a professional storyteller.
Regina Noakes is also a storyteller.
Her stories are firmly rooted in family, and although she paints instinctively and spontaneously straight on to the canvas from her imagination, her simple, surreal mostly feminine figures are full of references to and memories of her three children, motherhood, her mother, her friends, her cats, fish and birds. These are the things she loves and these are the things that influence her lyrical Romanesque and deeply personal art.
The Romanesque influences in her distinctive iconic style come from her studies in Capri in Southern Italy when as a young aspiring artist, Regina met and then studied with and became an assistant to an art conservator and academic.
Regina’s mother was a pianist and her grandmother was an artist and Regina grew up torn between the two arts.
She studied classical piano – in fact she and Robert Juniper have a connection through music. Many years ago he bought a piano from Regina which he kept in this studio and which he adored.
But Regina decided to pursue art. When her aunt learned of her decision, she held up a piece of bread and warned, “If you are an artist you won’t be able to afford this.”
Regina can, I think, afford a little bread, as her naive images of soft, doe-eyed women with traces of early Italian Renaissance and overtones of Mughul colours, sell all over the world.
New York art critic Renee Phillips described her paintings as “visual delights of music and dance.
“A terrain of smooth, undulating human forms resembles and interweaves with nature. Their lyrical shapes echo one another in sublime harmony.”
Among her many accolades and awards are the Lorenzo Medici Gold Medal in Florence, Outstanding Performer in the Manhattan Exhibition in New York, and two-times winner of the Perpetual Trophy at the WA Arts Society.
She has exhibited solo in New York, and Australia, and has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Chicago, New York, London, Australia and Europe, including the Florence Biennale.
If ever you get to travel again, (and I have faith you will!) you could find her work in the Sultanate of Oman; Fulham Palace in London, Cambridge University, Brooklyn Museum of Art and NY Women’s Aid Abroad, or closer to home, Evans and Tate Wineries.
Perhaps this is why, despite her aunt’s dire warnings, as art critic John Spike noted: “No wonder the eyes of the model are always slightly bulbous with a kind of childish wonderment.”
Regina’s work is still selling in galleries in Brisbane, where’s she been part of the stable for 25 years, and galleries in Florence and Venice still clamour for her work.
And its not just Australians and Italians who adore her work. A few years ago Regina was sitting in a departure lounge cafe waiting for her flight when a man approached her and asked if he could sit as her table. Regina, who prefers her artistic isolation, demurred and said if he needed to sit at this particular table she would move. No, he insisted, it was her he wanted to talk to, most particularly about her art. He had just purchased several of her works from the gallery in Florence and recognised her from her catalogue photo.
His name was Eric Clapton.
The singer Sting also has her artworks on his walls.
And now you can too.
Regina told me “You’ve got to paint for yourself,” Her home is full of her work propped up against walls waiting for those indefinable final touches. “If I want to keep it, then I know it’s ready to sell.” she said.
Regina’s new collection of paintings inspired by the natural beauty found in our Perth Hills are beautifully complemented by Jill Yelland’s stunning kiln-formed glass art inspired by the colours, textures, forms and patterns of WA’s ancient geological formations, along with her newly-made series of wildflower glass.
Regina’s husband Lyle has always been responsible for naming Regina’s exhibitions, but since this is her 65th solo exhibition, he is running low on inspiration! Which is why this one is simply called Spring 2020.
Welcome to SPRING 2020."