A succession of crafters, woodworkers, surfboard shapers, and artists of all kinds have spent creative time in the original sawtooth warehouse that is now home to local business Elements I Love and their small gallery space Acacia St Studio.
Inspired by the surrounding environment and the layered history of the Northern Rivers, owners Brooke Crowle and Tim McGuigan’s vision was to create a place with a community-based approach to the retail/gallery experience.
The paint-splattered floor of Acacia St Studio is colourful evidence of the artistic history of the Byron Bay community and its hazy evolution. To keep the collaborative spirit alive, group shows seemed a natural fit and are also a great way to share the gallery space with a multitude of local artists – emerging, first-timers, or established.
Primary Focus brings together seven female artists – an immersive experience of ceramics, photography and installations.
It’s the first Byron Bay show for local ceramicist Bianca Pintan, who has garnered a strong following overseas with her bold primary-coloured vessels and texturally layered technique. Her pieces are related to sand, coastal dunes, and the patterns that water forms as it moves over the ocean floor. The primary colours come from nature, deep blues from the sky and ocean, sunshine yellows, and green hues from plants.
As a self-taught artist, Bianca uses this to her advantage, being open to receiving inspiration rather than searching for it, exploring the realm of ceramics with a playful curiosity.
A photographic backdrop provides a striking contrast. Local photographer/designer (and stylish longboard surfer) Amy Rose Hewton is revealing a project based around women’s lineage eschewing the patriarchy; multi-disciplinarian creative Pia Jane Bijkerk has created The Land of Lost Dreams, a photographic work featuring native flora that clings to the shoreline – capturing the fragility and strength of these botanicals.
Fiona Grose brings a hinterland perspective, and Ingrid Leonard and BEC use the beach as their muse. In the entrance, a stunning textural installation by Jill Dawson establishes the tone and draws you into a curated space that feels dreamy.
All the women in the show have a similar belief in the power of art and beautiful objects. Brooke believes the places we live in and create have the potential to be life-affirming: ‘We designed different spaces in our showroom to explore this idea fully. Bianca loves seeing the expressive response of visitors to her studio – I love how these pieces make people feel!’
Primary Focus opens on Friday 23 September, from 5pm.
Show runs for a week till 1 October.
Gallery and Showroom: Open 10am–3 pm except Sunday, at 6 Acacia St, Byron Arts & Industry Estate.
Elements I Love is by appointment all year round. www.elements.net.au.