North Wagga artist Rachelle Mascini rediscovered her desire to paint and revived her passion for oil painting with a new focus on landscapes after she almost lost everything to the 2012 flood.
The flood became the catalyst for Rachelle to shift in her art practice and her latest solo exhibition, Confluence, at the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, features oil paintings and ceramic forms of the Murrumbidgee River from an aerial perspective.
The North Wagga artist traced the Murrumbidgee River in her new exhibition from the beginning of the river at Long Plain near the Snowy Mountains to the Lachlan River.
Rachelle said her art was about how the land had changed with the river and how British settlement and farming practices had changed the landscape compared with Indigenous practices where there was no impact on the land.
“The more I looked into the river, the more passionate I got about it,” Rachelle said.
“I thought about the effects the river has had on my life and I think it’s ironic I got evacuated before the exhibition.
“The whole river itself is just absolutely fascinating the way it changes from the beginning to its confluence.”
Rachelle said the artwork she created that was close to her heart was Tantangara 2021 (oil on canvas) Tantangara 2022 (earthenware).
“I actually grew up in the Snowy Mountains until I was about seven. It’s [the river] only about half an hour away from where I grew up.
“It was the beginning of my life and the beginning of the river.”
Prior to the 2012 flood, Rachelle said she had been doing a lot more work.
“My houses flooded and I ended up with no studio,” Rachelle said.
“Since then, a lot of things have changed … life got in the way and I wasn’t able to get back into it.
“Over the last few years, I had been thinking I need to get back into it.”
Rachelle spent every weekend of the past year working on her new solo exhibition.
Wagga Wagga Art Gallery Director Dr Lee-Anne Hall said: “In its consideration of the river’s movement and moods, Rachelle’s beautiful work is shown to best advantage in the art gallery’s E3 contemporary art space on the banks of Wollundry Lagoon.”
This exhibition is part of Wagga Wagga Art Gallery’s Regional Artist Development Program, supported by Create NSW through the NSW Government.
Dr Hall said the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery was seeking applications from local artists and curators to exhibit as part of the 2023 program.
Applications for the 2023 round close on 1 December at 4 pm. Information can be found here.