Ria Green is a Melbourne based artist who works across photography, painting, ceramics, glass and textiles. Her work explores ideas around wonderment, informed by the complex historical and cultural legacy of the sublime, seen in her latest series now showing at Modern Times. We take this opportunity to chat with Ria about the inspirations for her new series of oils on porcelain (featured in the Summer Series), as she recollects on her amazing 7-month trip around the world leading to a residency in Turin, Italy!
Can you start by telling us your itinerary and how this trip came about?
This trip has been a long time coming, my partner and I have been wanting to travel for some time now, we have been planning this for about a year or so. Our itinerary is long as our trip is for 7 months, it includes Portugal, Slovenia, Romania, Italy, Spain, Morocco, France, Argentina, Mexico and Peru.
Where are you at the moment? What has been on your list to do here?
I am currently exploring Barcelona, I have stayed in a really fantastic area called Gracia. There are lots of restaurants, organic food stores, jamon shops, bars, small label clothing stores here, it has a real village feel, and not as nuts as the main city area. On the to do list is lots of Gaudi related activities of course, his work is so wonderful and outrageous.
What has been the most surprising aspect of this trip so far?
One surprising aspect has been how much I miss making art, in between residencies I have felt a real desire to paint. A nice surprise really, but sometimes frustrating. It is wonderful to see so much amazing art, it inspires lots of thinking and ideas for works.
This trip included an exciting residency opportunity in Turin, Italy, can you tell us a bit about this?
Yes, I was lucky enough to have an artist residency at Inaudita Fusion Art Gallery in Turin, Italy. This was a month-long residency which concluded with an exhibition. Turin is a wonderful city develop my practice as it has so many galleries and museums to visit, as well as an active contemporary art scene. The residency has a dedicated board of members that were wonderful in connecting me to materials, events and exhibitions to visit.
What do you feel the residency has allowed you to explore?
This residency has allowed time to really focus on my painting practice. I wanted to look at a lot of painting and paint as much as possible. My practice looks a lot at light and landscape, I was interested in how being in Europe may shift what I paint and how I paint it. I have also been able to explore new materials and techniques which is really exciting. My colour palette has changed quite a lot during the residency, pinks and even yellow have made it into some paintings, I think this is very much a response to the European summer.
In terms of the work that you were making during the residency, can you reveal any new ideas or techniques you have engaged?
I can reveal that I have finally found traditional canvas! I have never painted on it before, I have tried board and love painting on ceramic, but had never previously tried canvas. I think I avoided it because I don’t like ‘the grid’ that it prescribes, it always seemed to rigid and constricting. Throughout the residency I have been experimenting with cutting up un-stretched canvas and working directly onto that, so I have avoided that problem completely. I’m excited to work more with this approach when I return home.
Did this time in Turin lead to any new friendships with other artists?
It did, I met a wonderful artist from South Korea, we talked a lot about the trials and tribulations of making work, showing work and surviving as an artist. Her name is Yoon and she studied at London’s Royal Academy so we talked a lot about the art scene in London.
Can you tell us a bit about some of the other locations you’ve been to?
Sure, the Triglav National Park in Slovenia comes to mind, some of the most stunning landscape I have ever seen. The monstrous Julian Alps, the crystal-clear water of the Soca river, the adorable mountain goats that don’t seem to have a care in the world, it was a pretty special place.
Matera, Italy was also pretty impressive, it has one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The city is carved into the side of a canyon, it is difficult to describe, I think it is one of Italy’s best kept secrets.
Are there any particular museums or exhibitions that you have seen that made a significant impact on you? Can you tell us a bit about that?
I was lucky enough to catch exhibition ‘Beneath the Surface’ at MACABA in Barcelona. A really great show looking at the expansion of the pictorial field in relation to both painting and sculpture. It included some wonderful works by Karla Black, Felix Gonzalez-Torres and James Lee Byars, its always so exciting to see works by such significant artists in the flesh.
What places are still left on your trip?
Luckily there are still many places to visit, we are off to Paris, followed by London then New York. After that we head south to Oaxaca, then Buenos Aries, Patagonia, and a few stops in Peru. I’m very excited about the South America leg of the trip.
Thanks again for your time Ria, we look forward to seeing you back in Melbourne!
Ria’s latest pieces capture the cool blue of the distant mountains, the rich green forest partially covered with perfect white snow and the misty haze of the clouds and light rain moving across the marshland. The additional elements capture textures, light and form that complement the painted works, and represent the light and movement of the experienced landscape. View online or in our Fitzroy showroom today!