Arcadia | Jeff Woodger and Kirsten Asche

Jeff Woodger and Kirsten Asche

21st November – 3rd December

Launch Saturday 25th November, 2017 2-4pm

Jeff Woodger, The Wheat Fields,  2003, oil on canvas

Jeff Woodger

Jeff Woodger’s passion is to paint post romantic landscapes in the classical style. His majestic panoramic works are deeply inspired by many of the seventeenth century greats such as Claude Lorraine and Salvator Rosa. However, while Woodger’s interests lie in tradition and cultural history, he actively reconfigures these majestic places superimposing his own newly revised contemporary reality.

In the early 1990s, whilst undertaking his Masters studies in Fine Art, Woodger started to paint classical and romantic landscapes in the style of 19th century French Barbizon School artists, inspired by specific works selected from Bendigo Art Gallery’s Permanent Collection. Here he painted his first in-situ work on masonite inspired by a painting by the French Barbizon School artist Théodore Rousseau.

The experience of working in-situ from paintings in museums is one which has held great appeal for Woodger, who at a young age during a trip to Spain, was deeply inspired by the experience of witnessing an artist copying an El Greco painting in the El Greco Museum, Toledo.

Between 1994 and 2010, Woodger travelled to and intermittently lived in Japan to study traditional Japanese ink landscape painting techniques, known as Suiboku or Sumi-e. During these studies he discovered The Mustard Seed Garden Manual of Landscape Painting – a 17th century guide used by Chinese and Japanese landscape painters which reinforced his theories of appropriation and copying the masters. As The Mustard Seed Garden Manual states, The artist must absorb the methods of the ancients who are established masters and then add their own distinctive touches.

Since completing his Doctor of Philosophy (Fine Art)and thesis titled An Inquiry into Suiboku and Kano School Influences on Rococo and Romantic Landscape Painting Through Claude Lorraine (1600-1682) and Salvator Rosa (1615-1673)at the Arts Academy, University of Ballarat in 2006, Woodger has worked in-situ at many major galleries in Victoria including the Art Gallery of Ballarat, Warrnambool Art Gallery and Castlemaine Art Gallery and Historical Museum and internationally at The National Gallery, London; the Shizuoka Prefectural Art Museum, Shizuoka City, Japan; the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC and the National Gallery of Canada. (Federation University of Australia)


Kirsten Asche, Untitled. 2017, Mosaic


Kirsten Asche

‘Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.’
Thomas Merton
Kirsten Asche considers herself to be a modern artisan. Her path towards her current practice has been through various forms of study and mentoring, honed by years of visual observation and response, interwoven with other pursuits.
Born into a family of Nordic and Germanic roots, in her work, Asche references a fantasy landscape that has mystical and otherworldly qualities. Steeped in narrative and the folkloric traditions of Europe together with exploration of Eastern spiritual traditions, her visual language now embraces rich textural pattern and layered colour.
As a skilled crafts person, Asche embodies echoes of the past in her works, with a strong eclectic mix of materials, referencing a contemporary traditionalism.
Mosaic is her current focus, using glass tiles, recycled crockery and beads as well semi-precious stones in order to create rich patterns and capture narrative.
Sacred symbolism, imagery of nature and blossoming flowers signifying growth and transition, reference mystical themes. Her interpretation of the universal divine rose is a significant motif in her work, and has been depicted throughout history in religious and traditional art.
Asche explains, “The very process of making mosaic involves a repetitive action in its creation. It requires a slowing down which becomes meditative like a mantra in motion. In this way, the work that follows has a connection with Source.”
It is this connection with the spiritual concept of Source, that is Asche’s central concern. Thus, her works endeavour to ‘share this connection with the viewer’, and create a desire to uplift and to transport. It is intended that the meeting place of human feeling and the spiritual is evoked.



© Arnold Street Gallery