Rebekah Stuart: Nature's Denouement

10 - 25 September 2020
  • Rebekah Stuart is a contemporary visual artist exploring an alternative aesthetic to the traditional and Romantic landscape. Her reconstructed fragments...

    Rebekah Stuart is a contemporary visual artist exploring an alternative aesthetic to the traditional and Romantic landscape. Her reconstructed fragments of nature via digital media create landscapes that do not exist in reality. Rebekah’s images evolve in a similar fashion to that of a painter, over long duration, building and refining details for a new whole to emerge, disorientating the observer’s position in a subtle way to reflect on their own internal terrain. The landscapes are a reflection of the horizons carried within - an intimate sublime for a time when wilderness is perhaps uninhabitable.

  • 'Nature’s Denouement comprises a body of works and movement soliloquies created from my imaginings. Here in, I have collected details...


    'Nature’s Denouement comprises a body of works and movement soliloquies created from my imaginings. Here in, I have collected details small and large, from nature, that emulate qualities of an inner primordial craving. In recent unpredictable times, I have clung to nature’s ability to thrive gracefully and effortlessly. Recent clearer skies have brought about a more intensive vibrancy; the crisp interplay of light and dark forms highlight for me, a glorified primacy, which, through nature, draws out our inner power. As I walk, run and dance outdoors, my body and the landscape reveal what is true, important and possible, in both the immediate and the imagination. The stoicism of nature inspires me daily to hold my autonomy and power. Here I find strength, patience, compassion, joy and creative expression, and a connection with  community. A forceful drive to harness a kind of valour and to express all of the tensions and magical fantasies that unfold, aims to make this world a better place. We are conduits for expression and can  align ourselves more with the natural elements.' - Rebekah Stuart.

  • 'In creating Nature’s Denouement I seek to capture the rhythms of flowing, staccato, chaos lyrical and stillness, through the camera...

    'In creating Nature’s Denouement I seek to capture the rhythms of flowing, staccato, chaos lyrical and stillness, through the camera lens. Narratives emerge that begin to make some sense of my own fragmented memories and internal terrain. The rhythms in nature also reside in the body and resonate together to inform memory with new meaning. The feelings I invoke are in the tradition of late-Romanticism's dwarfing of human beings in the face of nature's power, however, I forgo figures in my work in order to disorientate the viewer’s position. With this anti-romantic device, the viewer must decide how and at what size they are placed within the frame. The work may recall a dream, an actual place, a fantasy or something within unresolved.' - Rebekah Stuart.

  • 'I am inexplicably drawn to Ivan Aivazovsky’s rich and turbulent landscapes. Revisiting particular artists’ interpretations of nature from the past...

    'I am inexplicably drawn to Ivan Aivazovsky’s rich and turbulent landscapes. Revisiting particular artists’ interpretations of nature from the past often awakens my curiosity of universal cravings over time and how they resolve. Ivan executed his paintings through sketches, memory and his own imaginative projections. The way in which he shows man’s valour; the naval feats in the face of overwhelming elemental forces, brings up for me the current wave of life’s challenges through this pandemic. Ivan’s landscapes are both rich and ethereal, of humans contemplating and being soothed by the vastness and rich grandiose but there is also a fight for life. Where the ordinary disappears within the idealistic dreamy vision in Ivan’s works, I similarly relate to this need to distill out much from the mundane: though never intending to romanticise the devastation that humans encounter, but rather, desiring to reveal a consoling magic. Distilling the mundane from the magic is part of the process of reconciling reality with the free agency and abundant glory of imagination.' - Rebekah Stuart.


  • Natures Denouement is an intriguing title for your exhibition. How does the word denouement’, meaning a finale or epilogue, relate to your work for this exhibition?

    The title Natures Denouement pertains to nature having the final resolve, whether that be ambiguous, unresolved or enlightening. I see nature as the ultimate example for surrender; it has a fortified potency that is potentially mirrored within us. Nature will always find a way to re-generate but humans may not, so the value and beauty of nature is always to be revered.

  • Over the last few years with Otomys Contemporary you’ve consistently shown a diligent and mindful approach to your art practice and I imagine you apply this to life in general. Your landscapes reflect this demeanour. Tell us more about your art practice and state of mind behind these works?

    I photograph scenes and fragments of nature only when I feel innately drawn to do so, rather than routinely photographing every day. Music, silence and or sounds of nature often inspire a meditative approach to my art. With this, Im guided to create scenes that delight my senses and create visceral inclinations.I meditate on scenes to create a physical and emotional experience. The scenes centre around themes that include memory, historical stories or topics within philosophy.  

    Recently I experimented with creating quick snaps of visual worldsin response to my daily life, but my usual practice is a long process beginning with sketching and layering fragments of photographs. I overlay the formal elements and compose scenes by blending and layering light with dark and colour. I tend to rotate between 4-5 works at a time to distance myself from each before working on them again. This process can last between two weeks to four months. 

  • What has it been like working creatively whilst in lockdown on the coast of Victoria?

    Since June my partner and I have spent the bulk of our time In Aireys Inlet working full time on our art endeavors, including dance. The oceans horizon and varied temperaments soothe and clear my mind. In fact, I dont think I have ever appreciated the coast, back street forests and the generosity of nature as much as I have during this lockdown stage. I appreciate the privilege of living amongst the natural elements and dont take this for granted. Every morning I visit the inlet and beach before I start work – I am so grateful for this experience.

  • Your work often expresses a delicate beauty within a place in shadow or darkness. In this ‘upside down world’ right now what silver linings do you foresee?

    I have challenged myself through these months of lockdown, to see the confronting aspects of life as an opportunity to ask where the alchemy or gold lies within all experience. I dont pretend to always feel positive, but I ask questions in a Rumi kind of fashion. One of Rumis quotes that comes to mind is Look for the answer inside your question. With many challenges in life, the power lies within the choices we make. I can allow myself to feel frightened and overwhelmed, or I can channel this energy to be creative. I dont always aim to shift a dark mood; I often surrender to it. Every silver lining has a beautiful dark cloud!

  • You are a performing artist as well as a digital print maker, I’d love to know how your art practices inform each other.

    My dance informs my art; it gives energy, focus and balance to a practice that requires much stillness, patience and trust. Alternatively, my art brings meaning to my dance. I am currently composing a new dance for my Dance Choir company, which will comprise eleven dancers on stage relating to the natural worlds presented in my digital print works. My art and dance are polyphonic narratives where the many sounds, voices, emotional states, forms and layers interact with equal importance. On stage, the expression sublimates in a fleeting moment and in my art this is sustained within the print.

    Recently my partner, Mischa Baka, and I produced Perpetual, a short dance film for Nature’s Denouement. (As I was dancing for the shoot, I was able to remove my mask). Perpetual is a summary of how humans often find creative ways to meet life by redirecting energies from life’s joys and challenges, into inspirational form. I love how the rhythms of flowing, staccato, chaos lyrical and stillness from my Five Rhythms dance practice, also play out in nature. The rhythms within nature and in the body seem to be varied sized art forms showing all inner tenuous, fractured or flowing worlds. As an artist creating my own worlds, I think of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein from time to time, and how what we create becomes its own power, will and voice. Once I create my art and place it out into the world it is beyond my control and there is something about this that is frightening and liberating but also carries a sense of responsibility for me.


    Filmed by Mischa Baka. Produced, directed and edited by Mischa Baka and Rebekah Stuart. Music credits Perpetual: Alto Giove - Polifemo, Act 111-A. Rearranged by Michal Imielski & Elsen Price.  Dead Sunrise (Original Soundtrack).

  • Can you recommend a book or a piece of music, particularly for those of us currently in lockdown?

    I loved Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. The story is set in a deserted marshland in the 60s, and a young female protagonist faces the harsh realities of racism and complete abandonment. She is so deeply ensconced in her environment alone, and her descriptions of nature are deeply moving, magnified and exquisite. In the past I listened a great deal to Francis Poulenc and Domenico Scarlatti - Sonata in B flat major is a favourite.  But more recently I am listening to a variety of dance tracks for my morning and mid-afternoon Pomodoro dance break. 

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