Australian Artist Georgina Downs on Her Collage Art, Music and Irish Folklore
Cool, calm, collected. Impressions of nature in all its intricacy, we find all of these elements embedded in the art of Georgina Downs’, a collage artist residing in Victoria.
Mother and Child on Swan st.
Georgina's art making originated as a personal project, her collages are beautifully decorative by nature though exude sensitivity, solitude and connection to place. There is a clear ode to nature and landscape in Georgina's compositions, however, her collages often allude to music theory. Collage has always been an extension of her music studies and was initially employed to express musical ideas and concepts. With a background in music education Georgina has always made collage whilst immersed in her studies. Her collage practice has since equipped her to visually understand advanced musical concepts.
The artist has now turned her attention to daily collage practice and her interests centralise themes of childhood and landscape. She claims “I intuitively simplify visual ideas. I want to explore the subject back to bare bones. I believe this is because of many years of simplifying big musical concepts to their core beauty so that young children could assimilate the ideas.”
Georgina provides a diverse colour palette in each composition. Her Childhood series invites the audience into an intimate space of early years, captivating the viewer in a state of remembrance.
“Childhood was so deeply disrupted in Melbourne during the covid lockdowns and also quite forgotten by society during the panic. This inspired my child series.”
View out the Window of an Australian Backyard
The enjoyment Georgina has unearthed from her practice is clearly personified in her collages in which the viewer can identify a sense of composure and optimism from.
“I have found so much enjoyment in that simplicity that I have continued that in my art. I am interested in the feeling that landscape creates within us.”
Georgina’s most treasured artists are Robert Motherwell and Irish artist Markey Robinson. “He [Robinson] is deeply loved in Ireland. He used to walk around Dublin with his shopping cart, with a huge wad of cash, selling his paintings of clowns for 50 pounds. Oh I'd had the foresight to buy one! His simplicity is so deceptive and marvellous.”
At the End of a Long, Hot Day the Darkness Descends III
Georgina addresses the pandemic, in isolation art fundamentally became her main tool of expression overtaking composition and singing. Her commitment deepened to a daily practice and her subject matter evolved, embracing abstract landscapes and the subject of childhood. Curved natural shapes are consistently conveyed in her artworks, her compositions comprise of landscape as the background evoking the autonomy she is interested in exploring.
The collage artist reflects on her move to Ireland at the age of 18. The countryside of Ireland is known to harbour many ancient megalithic monuments, tombs and cairns and what grasped her interest during her stay was the deeply rooted respect the Irish people have for their ancestors and landscape. Georgina tells of the traditional stories of gaelic folklore and mythology that were shared with her, tales of the strength and vigour of the landscape and the suggestion that the land is more powerful than mankind. She continues that arrogance is never tolerated in Irish folklore/faerie stories. The land and Sidhe (the fairy folk of Ireland in Gaelic folklore) hold unsurpassed power, while man comes and goes. I wonder if many people stop and question the significance of our ancient landscape back home in Australia.
Georgina proclaims she has always been an artist. “I remember clearly being the only child in the street without a time restriction on TV. It was never needed for me as I was always drawing instead. However, music took over and became my main expression. At 21 I sat in an art class and saw a Robert Motherwell collage called Blue Music II. I can still see my hand gripping the stool to stop myself falling off. I'd found something incredible. I knew collage was it. That was nearly 30 years ago and I've been making collage ever since.”
I ask her the fundamental question, what do you believe is the artist's role in society?
“To connect. To confront. Bewilder and inspire.”
Georgina is certainly an accomplished self taught artist and it is an absolute delight to represent her artwork. Find her collection on the Whitfield Collection gallery soon.