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Dore Stockhausen

Nungurner, East Gippsland, April 2020

After the most horrible summer dealing with fires, smoke, evacuation and constant worry, this time now in isolation feels almost like being back to normal in our studio. During the fires my brain felt strangely empty... just function, don't think. But soon after the fires had stopped I started visiting burnt areas, experiencing it all, working on ideas and taking photos. Back in the workshop I began to work on a new series of paintings called 'the edge of my vision - fire'. This will be an ongoing theme for some time. I am planning to revisit these places again and again. I will document the devastation, regrowth and recovery in my abstract way.

And although I don't make a lot of jewellery anymore, I have been getting into making beer bottle cap chains. That's right! And it has been fun! One lovely aspect apart from drinking the beer is that now I have quite a few people collecting beer bottle caps for me and in this way, we connect even in isolation. 


As a child Stockhausen grew up with her mother's goldsmithing bench and enamel kiln in the kitchen and lots of paintings on the walls. This encouraged her to go to a high school for art and design and after graduating she knew she wanted to become either a painter or goldsmith. At this stage in her life goldsmithing won, though now 35 years later she prefers the brushes to the hammers and for the last three years has been painting full time. Much to her surprise she was a finalist in the John Glover Prize.


During her long jewellery career enameling was her favorite technique, because it allowed her to introduce colour to her pieces and paint on a small scale. The techniques she used then are not dissimilar to her current acrylic painting practice in which she combs, pushes and scrapes the paint over the canvas and when dry sandpapers it back to a smooth surface. Parts of this 'understory ' will re-emerge later in the process as revealed fragments. Layers and layers of washes are then painted over the underlaying painting. This process continues with working back through the layers and painting further washes.


Living in a rural town her work is frequently influenced by the natural environment, yet every painting has contrasting unnatural elements as well. In an abstract, hard-edged style Stockhausen shares her personal response to the ethereal beauty of landscapes, yet reminds us of our human interference; not as a judgmental comment,  but as the picture in full.

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