'Return To Sender' - On Life and Letterboxes in Tasmania

Tell us your Tree/ Sea Change story and be part of this project. We are wanting to hear from anyone who has moved to Tasmania for a simpler life and now is the proud owner of a Roadside Letterbox. We are not looking for the fanciest letterbox but quintessential country letterboxes that recall a simpler time of communication.

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The exhibition will explore one of the most common of urbanite aspirations, the dream of getting back to nature, having a simpler life and being more in touch with our authentic selves. It will look at people who have fulfilled that primal tree change urge and left the big city lights for a rural life in Tasmania.

The exhibition will be a collaborative project that will see visual artist Gemma Lynch-Memory team up with her husband Terry Memory. The project should prove an interesting adjunct to the raising of their 6 young children on a farm near Cygnet in Southern Tasmania. In 2007, Gemma and Terry teamed up for the  ‘emily:explorer’ National Touring Exhibition that saw them become the first people to retrace Australia’s first female explorer, Emily Creaghe through Central Australia with Australian Geographic and the ABC 7:30 Report.

Gemma will use the iconic Road Side Mailbox to represent of the individuals who have made the change as she feels that they are archetypal of a simpler era of personal communication and also wonderfully express the individuality of their owners.

Terry will photo document the people involved, Gemma’s creative processes and gather supporting information. The stories of the people and places selected for the exhibition and will be published in a book titled: Return To Sender – On Life And Letterboxes In Tasmania.  The book and exhibition will also highlight the people, lifestyle and landscape of the beautiful island of Tasmania.

The exhibition will open at Traffic Jam Galleries in Sydney’s Neutral Bay in October 2015.  

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Recent Interview with Gemma Lynch-Memory: Opening of Gemma Lynch-Memory's 'Road Less Travelled' Exhibition 2014. Interview with Traffic Jam Gallery Director Rebecca Pierce asking Gemma about her work for her latest exhibition.

See video here

Premier of NSW Mike Baird opening Gemma Lynch-Memory's Exhibition. Premier Mike Baird has been a long time admirer and owner of Gemma Lynch-Memory's work and was kind enough to open her 2013 exhibition at Traffic Jam Gallery.

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Artist Dinner Series with Master Chef 'Alvin Quah' and Gemma Lynch-Memory. Gemma Lynch-Memory was the Guest of Honour for an Artist Dinner hosted by Traffic Jam Gallery and featuring the culinary skill of Master Chef contestant Alvin Quah.

Watch Video Here

ABC Radio Documentary about Gemma Lynch-Memory's 'Emily:Explorer' Exhibition. In 1883 an exploration party of four travelled from North Queensland to Port Darwin. This was the first time a European woman had been part of such an expedition. Emily Caroline Creaghe was 22 years old - and kept a personal diary of the journey.

One hundred and twenty-four years later, Australian landscape artist Gemma Lynch Memory retraced the 1883 expedition. Using Emily's diary extracts as a guide, Gemma painted what she felt Emily experienced.

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about the artist...

Inside Gemma Lynch-Memory’s studio is a quiet reverence broken only by the sound of the careful application of her creative process. Spanning almost two decades and over 25 solo exhibitions, it’s a process as introspective and individual as the artist herself. Her actions are purposeful and convey a sense of urgency as she seeks to capture the essence of ephemeral inspiration. There is a constant referencing to an open journal of sketched ideas and musings that form the seeds of creative conception. But it is only during the actual application of paint on canvas that her subconscious concepts emerge and bloom.

Several pieces are worked on simultaneously so as to best manage the various stages of drying and curing paints. Warm luminous liquid varnishes are honey-poured over surfaces to create mirror-like finishes. The studio atmosphere is occasionally disturbed by the sound of a powered sander or dremel drill as they are used to create fine abstract marks and details. As each work nears completion, they are moved to her studio gallery to “let rest” before any final fine-tuning is made and the painting can be considered complete. From initial canvas priming to the signing of the work, the entire process absorbs several months.

Her works are abstract landscape compositions that feature rich and vivid colours. The iconographic markings and segregated space entice an emotive response and long lonely horizons where “heaven meets earth” speak to our country yearnings. Organic debris made up of small sticks, soil, rocks and dried vegetation give the work a living quality and occasional hand-painted texts introduce further depth and meaning. Perhaps it is Gemma’s country childhood and the use of debris and soil pigments that give her work such an uncanny sense of place. From our oceans to our outback and our rivers to our deserts, Gemma Lynch-Memory’s paintings capture the spirit and character that live in the heart of every Australian.

In 2007, after finding a copy of a diary in a second-hand bookshop, Gemma became the first person to retrace the outback journey of Australia’s first female explorer, Emily Caroline Creaghe. Inspired by the diary, the expedition was research for her emily:explorer national touring exhibition that celebrated the incredible achievements of this little-known Australian woman. The expedition was featured on the ABC 7:30 Report and Gemma was recognised by the International Society of Female Explorers based in New York. The touring exhibition received critical acclaim and was also featured in Australian Art Review magazine.

Gemma has a few distinct series within her oeuvre but all carry her trademark colour chords and expressive horizons and the works are always large, bold and confident. Her ‘RMB” Roadside Mail Box series are reminiscent of a drive-by snapshot of the quintessential country letter box. Painted with a pallet knife in thick impasto chunks, the letter boxes stand boldly within the stark landscape. Her “River” series of work has deep brooding rivers stretching along dense tree-lined river banks as they make their way to the coast. The “Muddy Waterholes” glisten with the offering of a cool oasis in harsh red brown lands and her “Waterlilies” and “Wildflower” works have proven irresistible to the buying public.

Gemma has already achieved much in her career. With a constant demand for work from collectors both in Australia and overseas, she has had little respite. Prices for her work have increased greatly in the past decade and this demand and a slower output of work will continue to drive prices higher. Those looking to invest and purchase significant artwork would do well to take note of any current exhibitions. To achieve 25 solo exhibitions for any artist is a true milestone and a testament to creative strength. 


Join Now and Receive Free Art e-Book and Art e-Print
Join today and you get a FREE copy of '9606 - Selected Works by Gemma Lynch-Memory' e-Book and a FREE e-Print of 'The Expedition Party' from the emily:explorer National Touring Exhibition . Join NOW!

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