Tea in Itoshima

Tea Seas (Red) detail.

Tea Seas (Red) detail.

It is nearly the end of February and I am now half way through my artist residency at Studio Kura in Itoshima, Japan. It has been an interesting and experience so far, and has pushed the boundaries my artistic comfort zone. I have set myself the challenge of working with a new set of materials – powdered pigments and rice paper. Having quizzed the very helpful but non-English speaking staff at the art supplies store, I now have a set of instructions, mostly in the form of drawings, for how to mix and use the pigments.


All the beautiful colours of powdered pigments.

I am living in a traditional Japanese house, which seems to be built entirely from wood and paper. It does not hold the heat at all, and I often have to open all the doors and windows to let in the warmer-than-inside winter air. The residency is in a semi-rural area, surrounded by farms, forests and ocean. I have taken up weekly Japanese language classes in town, but am making painfully slow progress!

Working on a painting in the studio while one of the other residency artists films my paintbrush.

Working on a painting in the studio while one of the other residency artists films my paintbrush.

During the two months of my residency, I am exploring the theme of tea. Japan is renown through out the world for its tea culture, and as an avid tea drinker myself, I just had to come and find out more about what tea means to people in contemporary Japan.

I see tea as a very human beverage. It embodies society, community, hospitality and ritual – social elements that are key to our human existence. Tea is a way to connect with people and open conversations on a domestic scale, but tea can also present a connection to the human existence on far a greater stage.

The water in your cup of tea is just one part of the finite quantity of water we have on Earth. This water changes form, but it is never replenished. The water in your teacup is the same water that that flowed in the blood of dinosaurs, and it is the same water from a primordial sea, which may have nursed the first living cells on Earth. If this water could remember, it would remember all of humanity from the earliest living cells to the complex, tea drinking, societies that we have today.

My work from the residency program will be exhibited in the Studio’s gallery, housed in a converted, one hundred year old rice silo, in late March. I’ll keep you posted with the details!

"24 Cups of Tea" (detail)

“24 Cups of Tea” (detail)





Cloudbursts in New York


Cloudburst, a duo show with myself and fellow Australian Artist Christian Lock, opened at CHASM Gallery, New York, last week. We have a great little write-up in the Social Magazine.

“Capturing the essence of fluctuations observed in nature and throughout life, “Cloudburst” opened at Chasm Gallery in Bushwick, Brooklyn on December 12. Showcasing works by Australian visual artists, Christian Lock and Claire Pendrigh, the exhibition fuses together each artist’s work thematically under a rubric of natural contrasts from the spontaneous to the orderly and the ironic to the sincere, ultimately communicating the ebb and flow of the human experience and of the world around us.”

-Jack Raplee-

Read the whole article at Social; Lifestyle Magazine


Claire Pendrigh, Jessica Holburn, Jack Raplee and Christian Lock



Photographs: Jacob Souza



Duo exhibition at CHASM NY


6pm to 9pm


This winter Australian artists Christian Lock and Claire Pendrigh debut a dynamic two-person show exploring elemental forces and our connectedness to the universe.

An eloquent interpretation of Lock’s work from Sydney based Art Critic Andrew Frost inspired the title for this exhibition: “There is much at play in Christian Lock’s paintings: space and illusion, surface and depth, texture and smoothness, abstraction and figuration. The eye attempts to unravel the detail while trying to reconcile the entirety of the pictorial space. But it’s no easy task. Lock’s paintings suggest a sky dotted with strange clouds, and the curlicues of something far darker, cloudbursts of the unconscious spreading out in a contemporary sublime.”

Lock says of his painting:
“My work involves the dispersal of paint and pigment by air. If a viewer were to observe the studio process, they may consider that nothing has been added that was not already present. The movements from the floor to the wall could appear as repeated resurrections. But could also be considered an inversion, vertiginously holding up the viewer. Monochromatic images help us to see things in greater definition.”

Pendrigh complements Lock’s paintings with her textile installation work encompassing the window wall of the gallery. Her cunningly quirky, curiously unsettling Cloud series feature clusters of wool reassembled and suspended as though weightless in mid air. Pendrigh’s installation will also feature a soundscape in which her clouds become animated and anthropomorphic.

Pendrigh says of her work:
“I wanted to explore connections between stellar events and the everyday business of being human. I imagine the stars exhaling clouds of dust into the universe, in the same way as we humans, being carbon based life forms, breathe in and out, expanding and contracting with each breath.”

Christian Lock is a graduate from the University of South Australia with a Masters in Visual Arts.
Lock has held many solo exhibitions throughout his career around Australia. He represented GAGPROJECTS|Greenaway Art Gallery (South Australia) at the Dubai art fair this year and will participate in the Cairo Biennale in 2015.
Lock has also been invited to be involved in a show curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist at Samstag Museum titled “do it (Adelaide)” in February, 2015.
Lock has been the recipient of many award scholarships and his work resides in the collections of Artbank and the Art Gallery of South Australia.
This upcoming December exhibition at CHASM will be Lock’s first show in New York.

Claire Pendrigh graduated from the ANU School of Art in Canberra, Australia, majoring with Honours in Painting. Her art practice has taken her thus far to Iceland and she will next undertake an artist residency in Japan, 2015. Pendrigh has exhibited in solo and group shows across Australia and the United Kingdom. She is based in Bunbury, South West of Western Australia. This too will be her first time exhibiting in New York.

This will be the final show of our very successful inaugural year at CHASM, so we will be delighted to see our special guests and a few fresh faces in the space before the year is out.

Friends of guests and partners are welcome.

Complimentary Australian wine will be served upon arrival.

Do not miss this breathtaking show!

RSVP: jess@chasmgallery.com

Transplanting Disobedience

mind map

Environmental activism can often take the form of social disobedience – wether that be through protests, or simply by bucking consumerist trends to live in a more sustainable way. We want to transplant this activism into the gallery space.


This project coincides with Bunbury Regional Art Galleries’ exhibition of Bimblebox – Art – Science – Nature, a touring show examining a nature reserve in Queensland under threat from coal mining. Seeing parallels with Bunbury’s current environmental concerns, the Bunbury Against Coal Exports Campaign suggested that we work together to create our own exhibition exploring art and environmental activism and how the arts can provide a voice for change.

Donna's suitcase

Donna FortescueSuzuki Tree Suitcase (detail), Mixed media

Connecting our ideals

Transplanting Disobedience is an exhibition of artworks, documents, press clippings, video, sound bites, objects and more. Each of these elements has a story to tell about environmental activism in Bunbury and the South West.

The elements on display are connected together in an ecosystem of ideas, ideals, thoughts and aspirations. On strips of old bed sheets, we wrote or drew our environmental concerns, changes we want to see or make and our dreams and hopes for our environment and community. These strips were turned into string which physically connects the elements on display in the exhibition like the invisible stuff that holds together a community or an ecosystem.

installation 2

The Archive


The whole exhibition is documented on our archive blog where you can view each artwork and find out more about the artists. The exhibition space also includes QR codes with each artwork which link through to the online information.

The Next Step

There is exciting news on the horizon as this project grows into its next phase, Artists at the Helm, in which artists will create artworks about one specific location, Helms Block, which is currently under threat.

I’m honoured to have been able to work with my good friend Helen Seiver in coordinating and pulling together this project!

Helen's bone collection 2

Transplanting Disobedience is coordinated by artists Helen Seiver and Claire Pendrigh with Bunbury Regional Art Galleries, Bunbury Against Coal Exports Campaign and Friends of the Earth South West.

Transplanting Disobedience is a Bunbury Regional Art Galleries project: http://www.brag.org.au

Here and Now

Here and Now house exhibition

Here and Now house exhibition

Here and Now back yard concert. Photo: Alice.

Here and Now back yard concert. Photo: Alice.

I am lucky enough to live in a beautiful share house with white walls and an abundance of picture hangers! We have an enormous back yard with soft lawn and a back porch. I have always wanted to host a house exhibition, and my house mate saw the possibilities of the back yard for a concert. Combining these two ideas, we ended up with “Here and Now”; a house exhibition and backyard concert, celebrating the place that we are (here) and the time we are in (now).

Exhibiting artists:

Claire Pendrigh, Daniel Macnish, Helen Seiver, Daniel Kus, Amber Harries

Breathing Cloud

Check out this amazing video of the breathing RCBs Cloud from my exhibition “Wonder”, filmed and edited by Owen Elliott.

The Breathing Cloud is a knitted imagining of the clouds of carbon rich dust produced by RCB stars. I wanted to explore connections between these stellar events and the every day business of being human. I imagine the stars exhaling clouds of dust into the universe, in the same way as we humans (carbon based life forms) breath in and out, expanding and contracting with each breath. You can read more about this body of work on my portfolio.

This work was a collaboration between myself and engineer, Daniel Macnish.

Wonder Opens at Moores Building Contemporary Art Gallery

Thank you to everyone who made it to the opening of Wonder at the Moores Building Contemporary Art Gallery last night!

You can view all the artworks from Wonder here…


Photographs by Owen Elliott