Nasim Nasr, Winner: "People's Choice"

Nasim NASR, Forty Pages 5, 2016, giclée digital print on 330gsm smooth white cotton rag, 100 x 80cm, edition: 5/8

Nasim NASR, Forty Pages 5, 2016, giclée digital print on 330gsm smooth white cotton rag, 100 x 80cm, edition: 5/8

Sydney-based artist, Nasim Nasr has been awarded the "People's Choice" Award for her extraordinary photographic work, "Forty Pages 5", included in the Finalists' exhibition for the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize held at the Monash Gallery of Art.

The work is from Nasim's series, "Forty Pages".  As described in the artist's words: 

Forty Pages contemplates personal or global history in the context of movement from one culture to another in the contemporary world, and refers to forty pages in a passport.
Each passport stamp, representing either the departure from or entering a country, is integral to one’s history of the difficulties of freedom of movement and disempowerment by country of birth and its life-boundaries. At every national border one is submissive and defenseless to officialdom. This is a potent control upon individual existence and independence, especially in the contemporary world of displacement and separation between East and West.
This gradual accumulation of stamps feels like layers upon my personal history, upon my passport photo, upon my face, its aggregation steadily evolving into an identity I no longer recognize, apart from the eyes—a transformation
Forty Pages presents my body as a site or platform for the compilation of these stamps of the last decade of my life, and therefore part of the history of the transience of my being.

Nasim NASR, "Forty Pages" series, 1 to 5 (l to r)

Nasim NASR, "Forty Pages" series, 1 to 5 (l to r)

About the artist
Nasim Nasr completed a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design at the Art University of Tehran, Iran in 2006, and a Master of Visual Arts (Research), South Australian School of Art, Architecture and Design, University of South Australia, in 2011.
Since graduating, Nasim has developed a body of work that has been featured in various exhibitions, festivals and publications in Australia and internationally. Her photographic and video practice has sought to comment upon universal concerns in contemporary society, engaging and articulating notions of State and self-censorship and the transience of cultural and personal identity. Being interested in the concept of cultural relationships and their role in contemporary society, her practice has engaged themes of intercultural dialogue. Through the presentation of multiple channel video works, photography, performance, objects and sound these collective works have attempted to highlight the complexities within contemporary notions of interchangeable identities and cultural difference, as experienced between past and present cultures and homelands, West and East.
Currently a Finalist in The Bowness Photography Art Prize, Melbourne Nasim was also a finalist in the prestigious international 2017 Sovereign Asian Art Prize in Hong Kong; earlier this year.  Previously, Nasim was a Finalist in the Blake Art Prize, at Casula Powerhouse in Sydney, (2016), and the Redlands Art Prize, National Art School Gallery, Sydney, (2015).

Installation view, Sixth Sense, National Art School Gallery, Sydney, 2016

Installation view, Sixth Sense, National Art School Gallery, Sydney, 2016

Nasim’s participation in important curated group exhibitions include Under the Sun: Reimagining Max Dupain’s Sunbaker, at the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney (touring to Monash Art Gallery, Melbourne); and Sixth Sense, National Art School Gallery, National Art School, Sydney.
Her work has also been presented at Bazaar Art Jakarta (2017), Art Dubai, (2015 & 2016); and Art Stage Singapore (2013 & 2014)
Her work is represented in many collections including the Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra; Artbank, Sydney; and private collections in Australia, Germany, USA, Singapore, Qatar and the UAE.

Catherine Asquith Art is delighted to present this exceptional artwork, “Forty Pages 5” (image above) by Nasim Nasr for sale.  For details regarding the artwork including price please email or phone 0422 753 696.

The art or printmaking

High quality prints in limited editions are masterly examples of the virtuosity of printmaking and demonstrate why prints (or “editions”) have remained so popular a medium for art collectors. Moreover, .limited edition prints will very often provide the astute investor the opportunity to acquire recognized and 'prize-winning' names in art, adding a certain gravitas to one’s developing collection.

What is a fine art limited edition art work?

A Limited Edition Print is derived from an image produced from a block, a plate, a stone, on zinc, copper or some similar surface on which the artist has worked closely with a print maker or master printer. Unlike paintings or drawings, prints exist in multiples.  The total number of impressions an artist decides to make for any one image is called an edition.

Each impression in an edition is numbered and personally signed by the artist. An image may be based on an original painting, 'after an oil', or the artist may paint "maquettes" specifically for prints. The artist may also create an image directly onto the plates, depending upon the chosen medium.

The Processes

Each of the various methods of printmaking yields a distinct appearance.  Artists choose a specific technique in order to achieve a desired result. The choice made by the artist to produce an image "in print" is the same as choosing to work in oil or any other medium.  The only difference in print lies in the possibility of producing a number of near identical images.  Etchings, silkscreens, woodcuts and collagraphs are some of the principle printmaking techniques.

With expert print-makers producing a range of Limited Editions to international standards, these artworks remain highly collectible not to mention, very affordable!

©Catherine Asquith October 2017

Catherine Asquith has been working within the Australian art market, and more recently, the Asian art market, across both the primary and secondary sectors for the past twenty years and is a member of the Art Consulting Association of Australia (ACAA).

Jason BENJAMMIN, "The Crows", 2005, edition of 60, multi-plate etching, Image size: 54 x 80cm,Paper size: 78 x 108cm, printed on Hahnemuhle 100% rag 300gsm

Jason BENJAMMIN, "The Crows", 2005, edition of 60, multi-plate etching, Image size: 54 x 80cm,Paper size: 78 x 108cm, printed on Hahnemuhle 100% rag 300gsm


Paris Photo, touted as the world's largest international art fair dedicated to the photographic medium, will hold its 21st edition at the historic Grand Palais in Paris from November 9th through 12th, 2017.

The annual event for collectors, professionals, artists, and enthusiasts, Paris Photo offers its visitors a selection of quality and diverse artworks alongside an ambitious public programme of events, talks and forums.

Over 180 galleries and publishers will present a complete panorama of the history of photography: from vintage and modern works to contemporary creations, rare and limited editions, and avant-premiere book releases. The recently launched PRISMES sector, held in the prestigious Salon d'Honneur, will feature a curated presentation of large format, series, and video and/or installation works.

An educative art fair, Paris Photo aims to enhance the visitor experience by scheduling exhibitions, awards, signature sessions, special events, talks and discussions with artists, curators, critics, and historians. The "In Paris during Paris Photo" programme, created in partnership with renowned museums and arts organizations throughout the city of lights, offers visitors a complementary selection of exhibitions featuring some of the most important photographic collections in the world.


Abu Dhabi Art Fair 2017

The parameters of Abu Dhabi Art extends beyond the notion of a traditional art fair; its diverse public engagement programme, ranging from art installations and exhibitions, talks and events, takes place in different locations, throughout the year. The culmination of this year-long programme is the Abu Dhabi Art event in November, which provides the sales platform for participating local and international galleries and an audience of over 20,000 visitors.

Making use of the natural landscape of the region, the Fair’s designer, Nilsson Pflugfelder conceptualised the elements of an art fair as an ‘archipelago’: each entity is conceived as an autonomous island that, together, makes up Abu Dhabi Art in the form of an archipelago. Consisting of ubiquitous 450 x 450 x 450 mm open cubes, the various islands are, within the exhibition, conceived as modular intensities of programmatic content.  The aim is to suggest the conscious reconnecting of ideas across an archipelago of time, forming narratives with past eras of utopian interventions.

The Fair’s curatorial programme aims to present a unique iteration, transforming the concept of an art fair to a place of discovery and discourse. The curated series of exhibitions and programme will bring diverse perspectives on global trends to an inspiring schedule of cultural engagement, reflecting the exceptional calibre of contemporary cultural practice for which Abu Dhabi Art is renowned.

Introducing Hodryc, artist

Absence, 2017, archival pigment print, unique state, 100 x 154cm

Absence, 2017, archival pigment print, unique state, 100 x 154cm

Hodryc (Rodrigo Leite) is a Brazilian artist, based in Melbourne.  For the past decade, he has been developing an aesthetic which utilises a combination of digital-painting, photography and 3D techniques, and manifests as a complex and highly innovative artwork.

Harnessing his knowledge of Impressionism, Hodryc’s artworks (unique archival pigment prints) present as something of a pixelated landscape, which nevertheless still presents as a painting.  For Hodryc, the latter is crucial to the integrity of his art practice: he believes, that although he uses these new technologies as part of the creative process, and as such, they are acting as paint, brush and canvas, most important is that the artist remains true to the essence of the work, that is, there is a danger of digitals artists becoming as ephemeral as technology itself.  It is for this reason that Hodryc has elected to create unique edition prints, contending that they are but ‘digital-paintings’.

Hodryc’s most recent series, “Inner Landscapes” represents the artist’s first impressions of the Australian landscape, and just as this same landscape has often depicted isolation, fear, resilience and freedom, so too Hodry’s series.

The William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize

Established in 2006 to promote excellence in photography, the annual William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize is an initiative of the MGA Foundation. The Bowness Photography Prize has quickly become Australia's most coveted photography prize. It is also one of the country's most open prizes for photography. In the past, finalists have included established and emerging photographers, art and commercial photographers. All film-based and digital work from amateurs and professionals is accepted. There are no thematic restrictions.

The 2017 judging panel: architect, art patron and academic, Corbett Lyon, artist and educator Dr Susan Fereday, and MGA Senior Curator Stephen Zagala.

Enhancing our built environment with art

Peter D Cole, sculpture commission, 2005, PWC, Freshwater Place, Melbourne

Peter D Cole, sculpture commission, 2005, PWC, Freshwater Place, Melbourne

Walking through our corporate centres and precincts in Melbourne, one is often met with some superb examples of contemporary art installations; within public buildings’ foyers, in communal courtyards adjacent to a corporate headquarters, and welcoming guests to inner city hotels.  Imagine for a moment, these same spaces bereft of such artwork…

The CBD of any city is, let’s face it, reflective of the culture, its population, its values. Property developers, architects, town planners and the like, have had an enormous influence over the years on how we experience our cities.  Thankfully, these days, numerous buildings, office spaces and residential towers, have been planned and constructed with parameters allowing for artworks.

Similarly, artists have developed and extended their practise to allow for these types of public art commissions, and have thereby created lively and dynamic spaces.

Bringing nature into the city

Artists invariably derive inspiration from their immediate living and working environments.  Regionally-based Victorian Peter D Cole puts ‘nature on the stage’ with his ‘urbanised’ interpretations of nature.  His sculpture commission of 2005, a manifestation of playful yet beautifully balanced conjoined sculptural archetypal elements such as tree, moon and stars, and the like, and created from stainless steel and powder-coated primary colours welcomes workers and visitors alike at Freshwater Place in Southbank. 

Corporate message

The presence of contemporary art installed within a corporate’s head office or flagship building also suggests a forward-looking enterprise, a preparedness to engage with its community.

Art in public spaces, as part of a building’s structure or indeed, as part of a corporate art collection, adds a cultural edifice – whether to that corporate’s identity, the building’s spaces, the locale and immediate environment of that building.  Its benefits resonate with its inhabitants, the clients visiting that building or corporate location, the employees and the general public.  As such, it contributes in a very tangible way to the society’s cultural infrastructure.

The installation of contemporary art – manifested in any of its genres – can have an educative and interpretative function within the building in which is it placed.  A very good example of this concept is Janet Laurence’s “Water Veil” at the Council House 2 (CH2) building in Melbourne. 


Janet Laurence, “Water Veil”, 2006, commission, 2006, Council House 2 (CH2) Building, Melbourne

Janet Laurence, “Water Veil”, 2006, commission, 2006, Council House 2 (CH2) Building, Melbourne

A diaphanous, experiential and reflective glass veil that transforms the window between the foyer and the public space of the street into a membranous fluid space, “Water Veil” expresses and reveals the transformation and purification of water, reiterating the black water treatment within the building as well as expressing purity and translucence representing the purification of water.

Laurence’s “Water Veil” denotes a very direct educative and interpretive function within the building and from the public space outside creates a dramatic effect, serving to amplify the functional aspect of the CH2 building as environmentally sustainable, in other words, quite literally highlighting a corporate message.

Nowadays, corporate responsibility to its community is higher on the agenda, and part of a corporate’s mandate must service the community at large in some way:  incorporating art within its spaces meets one albeit small, aspect of this requisite. 

Art for daily inspiration

Inclusion of public art commissions within our built environment, in foyers, adorning a façade, or inhabiting a causeway,  contributes to the visual ‘documenting’ of our history; it reflects our growth and development, occasionally our current societal issues, and sometimes our collective values.   But equally important, it provides a visual stimuli, an aesthetic pleasure, a thought-provoking moment; an added dimension to our daily lives. 

Marion Borgelt’s site specific “Candescent Moon” of 2011, installed at 101 Collins Street, is a case in point.  This large scale sculptural relief suggests the universal themes of sequences, celestial orders and lunar rhythms. These ideas are particularly pertinent to the modern corporate lifestyle, where daily life balances the restrictions imposed by cycles of time and the forces of nature’s flux and unpredictability.

Interestingly, Borgelt’s work is intended to be interactive; that is, as the viewer moves around the front of the work, its appearance and nature change from light to dark and from one texture to another. This sequential change can represent a change in time such as the passing from day into night.

The work has a timeless quality, bridging the gap between the everyday and the planetary by acting as a reminder of our daily life while indicating our part in a larger, cosmic structure.

Marion Borgelt, “Candescent Moon”, 2011, timber, polyurethane, gold leaf with shellac varnish, 5710 x 1370 x 120 cm, 101 Collins Street, Melbourne.  Photographers: Shannon McGrath and Marion Borgelt

Marion Borgelt, “Candescent Moon”, 2011, timber, polyurethane, gold leaf with shellac varnish, 5710 x 1370 x 120 cm, 101 Collins Street, Melbourne.  Photographers: Shannon McGrath and Marion Borgelt

Bringing contemporary art into our built environment clearly comprises many positives for our society: beyond what has been briefly elucidated above, art can start a conversation; open a dialogue.  At its most fundamental, art expresses an idea, an observation, and/or an emotion. It enlivens our consciousness, and sometimes changes our experiences and it stimulates, nourishes and feeds our senses.  In so many ways, at its most fundamental, art contributes to the ‘wealth’ of our culture. 

©Catherine Asquith October 2017

Doug Moran National Portrait Prize

For the past 29 years the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (DMNPP) has encouraged both excellence and creativity in contemporary Australian portraiture by asking artists to interpret the look and personality of a chosen sitter, either unknown or well known.

Founded by Doug & Greta Moran and family in 1988, the DMNPP is an annual Australian portrait prize supporting Australian artists and the wider arts community by holding the free annual Moran Prizes exhibition, now at Juniper Hall Paddington, displaying the top 30 works selected by nominated judges each year.

Currently with an annual first prize of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($150,000), the Prize is an important part of Australia's Arts calendar. The Prize is acquisitive and the winning portrait immediately becomes the property of the Moran Arts Foundation, to be exhibited permanently as part of the Moran Arts Foundation Collection.

Winner announced on the 18th October 2017.

Wendy Stokes

Well known first for her print making, a key focus of Wendy Stokes’ art practice since the late 1990s has been her stunning and distinctive paintings…

What originally brought you to Port Macquarie?

I am a return resident. My partner and I decided on settling in Port Macquarie in the late ‘80s. My parents had retired to Port Macquarie from a rural property in Central Western NSW in the late ‘60s, and my main school years were spent in Port Macquarie. After my postgraduate studies I had spent several years in Sydney and with a network of exhibition contacts in place, it no longer seemed essential for me to remain in the city. Port Macquarie was small enough then to have appeal, close enough to Sydney to maintain my practice, and the return enabled me to spend time with my family.

What influenced you to develop an interest in art?

There wasn’t really a time when I decided that I would go and pick it off a shelf labelled a career or hobby. It is a part of me from as far back as I can remember and fortunately due to the freedom of my upbringing, I had many hours outside on the farm, in the garden or roaming my front yard, our coastline. Much of this time was immersed in my own imagination: collecting, drawing, making things, just being in an outdoor environment.
Sometimes I have considered if it, ‘art’, was something separate like a backpack that you could remove, life would be easier and far less complicated. It is my way of seeing the world, thinking about it and finding a place within it.

How has your talent steered your artistic career?

To be blatantly honest, talent doesn’t necessarily steer an art career! Any serious artist I know, or even the famous ones embedded in the archives of history, would agree that that is left to trends and opportunity!
After completing the HSC, I went onto 4 years of formal art studies in Newcastle, took the ritual art pilgrimage to the UK and Europe on graduation and followed that several years later with postgraduate study at Sydney College of the Arts.

From the beginning, I had strong support from my parents; Jim Matsinos, my art teacher at school; Dorothy Hope, the founder of Thrumster Village; and the printmaker, Joan Smith. I mention them because in the 1970s, artists in regional areas, particularly Port Macquarie, were very isolated, and these people understood my language and aspirations.

At art school I ended up majoring in Printmaking and Drawing and managed to develop a strong profile as a printmaker very early in my art practice, exhibiting and awarded prizes on a national and international level. It was through my printmaking that I received the residence opportunity in New York.

Which medium/media do you like to work with now, and what is it about them that attract you?

Painting has become a key focus of my practice since the late 1990s. The reason for the shift was as much about creative development – expecting more from a medium – as it was about eliminating the exposure where possible to solvents and oil based products. I was looking for more freedom in scale and as I was already using the printmaking medium as a painter would paint, the progression was natural.

I adopted water based choices for all my processes, both paint and print. Apart from the ease of cleanup, many artists will identify that we still need to function to some degree in the real world. Time to work often becomes fragmented, so the speed of drying time became a crucial element for my work. Using water based processes also aligned with my aesthetic towards the landscape … the connections between water and atmosphere, staining, soaking, sliding, immersion and the porosity of the canvas, the porosity of the sand and earth …

I’ve read passages about your work, which describes it as ‘abstract impressionism’. Would you say this is a fair description – and if not, why?

I am often wary of categorisation when it comes to describing art. Art in contemporary terms crosses many boundaries between mediums as well as professional disciplines. These days, we do not need to go far to see the hybrid practice between artist and engineer or scientist. Coming to the ‘abstract impressionism’: both are words which come with a huge amount of misinterpreted and popularised baggage.

While it may be beneficial to have an understanding of when or why particular styles developed historically, we all need to be aware that much history, particularly involving women artists, marginalised cultures and geographically isolated artists, has yet to be written or rewritten into history.

Abstract is a term with many meanings and tends to be seen as a removal from a concrete source, and Impressionism is unfortunately tied to the popular historical style of the Impressionists, which are still firmly set in observational ground. This can be misleading.

Viewers are likely to feel compelled to try and locate references in my paintings to give themselves clues to determine the meaning, rather than allow the viewing experience to be a mutual engagement between the painting and them. My paintings are not about squinting your eyes to try and make out an impression of a thing. Hopefully they are about synthesis and experience.

As an artist, what inspires you to create? 

nergy. It is connected to experience and immersion in place, but not from the visited experience, where you are a tourist or explorer travelling to a place, picking a view and packaging it.

Memories obviously play a role for everybody, not only artists, because we all bring to any experience our previous experiences. What truly moves me to create are the lives of others, sacrifice, commitment, that drive of the artist to leave a mark, an image that has the capacity to move or resonate within the viewer. If even a momentary thing, it has the capacity to be an experience shared.

Much of your work is done on a large scale. What’s the largest piece you’ve completed to date?

The scale thing is relative. For a domestic setting it could be considered large, but they can be quite dwarfed in museum settings. The largest work is still in progress, but will end up being around 7 metres. The scale is part of the concept of immersion which informs my work; not only is it quite a performative act making the work, but I aim for the viewer to be able to be drawn into the works with little peripheral distraction. Not all my work is large scale.

What are some of the challenges (if any) for you as an artist completing large works … and how long does it typically take for you to finish a piece?

The physical expenditure is in assembling and stretching the canvases, moving them around in and out of the studio. I accommodate the size by making the works in sections, and that way they can fit through my studio door and down the stairs. The length of time is probably irrelevant, because when does a painting really begin?

There is gestation time, the development of thought, followed by experience and action time, then reflection, ending in satisfaction or frustration. This can be measured in weeks or months and has little bearing on the success of the work.

One of the other challenges is that you know already before you even start a painting that they have a limited market, so you are not market driven but instead by your own creative journey and conceptual investigation. People in buying any large work need to have the courage and conviction for that work to become the experience in the hanging location, and these days the super size TV with the constant shifts in images and entertainment supersedes the wall once reserved for that large painting. Paintings can demand from you as a viewer, but they can provide a pause … a place for renewal.

A few years ago, a buyer of my work sent me a text message to say they had spent the week without the television and instead spent the time immersed in my paintings, which is a validation that painting can have purpose.

What are a few of the exhibitions you’ve been involved with over the years? 

I have been exhibiting professionally at a strong level for thirty years, but I would like to highlight that exhibitions serve different functions. It is not always market driven. Solo exhibitions, in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and major regional gallery shows as in Tamworth and Coffs Harbour have been essential venues to enable me to create work and measure it as bodies of work, rather than isolated works hanging on the wall. It enables the work to function within your thematic development and is crucial for your own progression.

Curated shows are interesting, as you have the opportunity to have your work interpreted in the context of others’ work and concepts, so you are able to better position where your own practice is heading. National competitive shows, such as the Dobell Drawing Prize, the JADA, The Glover Landscape Prize and The Fremantle Print Prize are reinforcement of the validity of your own work and its contribution to particular mediums or genres within Australian art practice. International shows in which I have participated, and especially Printmaking shows, have been about cultural exchange.

Where is the best place for people to view your work? 

I am represented through Catherine Asquith Gallery, Melbourne and BMG art in Adelaide. I will be showing again with Catherine in Melbourne in September and at Danks Street Galleries, Sydney, in August. Walcha Gallery of Art has an ongoing selection of work, and I will be having a major show with them in May.

On a more local note, The Regional Gallery at the Glasshouse is currently hosting an exhibition organised by Port Macquarie High School, showcasing previous students from the school who have chosen art as their career path, celebrating 50 years of the high school. As a previous student, I am participating in this exhibition.

On a local level, I have seen my role not so much as an artist, but an advocate for emerging artists in the visual arts through TAFE. In the past 12 years I have taught at Kempsey Campus, participating in the delivery of the Diploma in Fine Art programmes and other fine art courses.

As a teaching body of committed professional arts practitioners, we have been instrumental in opening up the value of art making for many individuals in a meaningful way within the region. It is rewarding to help people find their own creative voice and move way beyond their own expectations.
Thanks Wendy. 

Interview by Jo Atkins.
This story was published in issue 77 of Port Macquarie Focus