Artist Profile Gabrielle Stoddard
interview byMeadowlark
Published Mon, 10 Aug 2020

We first discovered Gabrielle’s work at an exhibition held at the Penny Sage studio, our whole team rushed down to see the pieces and we love her work so much, the sheer fabrics stretched across the frame are enchanting. We have one of Gabrielle’s pieces hung in our showroom and are very proud to show her work to our community.

When did you know you were going to pursue art?

My Grandad has always been an oil painter during my life, he would even stretch and prime his canvases along with making frames with scrap timber. When I go to visit him his place always smells like oil paint and he is always working on a painting. As a child, I would occasionally stand next to him as he painted the landscapes he loves. I would ask him from time to time if he could teach me but he would always say " When you're older... " I think this must have been the start of my encouragement to make art. He still hasn't given me that lesson but I think I've learnt enough by watching him.

What are your strongest childhood memories relating to art or creativity?

Other than watching my Grandad paint I was always the kid who was hidden away with a pen and paper, cutting things with zigzag scissors or making something. I was fortunate to have a family that believed in the power of creativity and would occasionally enroll me in small art classes in the school holidays which I truly cherish to this day. I remember attending an insect casting workshop, beading classes and I found a lot of creativity in dance throughout my life.

What mediums do you work with? Which one do you love the most?

I have a multidisciplinary practice mostly but In the past few years I have been primarily working with printmaking and photography. My materials tend to be informed by my interest in textile and sculpture which is usually present in my work. I tend to arrive with specific mediums because they clearly illustrate the images in my head. In the past year I have worked with a photographic print process called cyanotype. Using photographic and printmaking techniques to create a cyan print. Commonly used by engineers, builders, and architects to form a blueprint for plan-making. The process marries photographic and printmaking practices which have always been of interest to me and also result in a print with unique differences and details. As you cover your paper/material with the chemical cyanotype mixture you let it dry and then expose your chosen image stencil by using a light exposure. This has always been so fascinating to me because of its similarities to photographic film and using a camera. In some ways I saw this process as cameraless photo taking.

What is the process from concept to finished piece for you?

My concepts start with going through my visual journals and building on ideas that could be in the form of a drawing, written paragraph, or mind map. I usually work project to project so planning is pretty imperative to my practice. Forming a feasible plan and list of materials is usually one of my first steps. Second, this is working on drafts and testing my materials. With my photographic prints I tend to sift through photographic material ( I like the challenge of finding old photographs like family/childhood photographs, or found material sitting in strange folders in old hard drives that I forgot I have taken ) or I'll set out to photograph a new series of images. This space of image collecting and curating can always transform my work which can be exciting. I then go through and edit and play with my photographic material and set the files up to be processed. Because of my background in screen printing, Photopolymer printing, and cyanotypes I got in the habit of using halftones and specific file setups to expose stencils for the print, I tend to continue playing with these layers even with my digitally printed photographs. Then I will print and start creating the final work.

How would you describe your work?

My work is very personal, subtle, and aims to be gentle. It’s quiet and hopefully giving.

Who or what inspires you?

I find myself greatly inspired by sculpture and performance. I enjoy dance and movement along with the spontaneity and experience of performance. I enjoy sculpture usually because of its power of speaking a narrative, placing you in a very specific place in time. Some artists who I look up to are Erwin Wurm, Kate Newby, Sriwhana Spong, Yvonne Rainer.

Which piece are you most proud of?

I enjoy my series of cyanotype works included in my last show called “ In Being Of Unbelonging “ at Penny Sage Studios. That series of work took me about 6-8 months of planning, thinking, and making. I learnt a lot about my practice during the making process which has helped me arrive at a really interesting place in the practice.

View Gabrielle's work here