meet the artists & artisans
Ric Abel, Painter
Founding Artist of The SHAC, Ric Abel is an established oil painter whose work explores the viscosity of paint and life. Ric was a finalist in the 2013 Blake Prize and was a Salon de Rufusés finalist in the same year, and is represented by Paddington Gallery Maunsell Wickes.
Bronwyn Berman - Sculpture
Bronwyn’s art practice is wide ranging, incorporating public art, landscape installation, sculpture, drawing, painting and jewellery design. As well as being a regular exhibitor in juried exhibitions such as Sculpture by the Sea, her work has been featured in group and solo shows throughout the country. Bronwyn has completed major public commissions in NSW and Victoria including the commission in 2013 of The Centenary Sculpture for Frensham School. Bronwyn’s work has been acknowledged through various awards, and she was resident artist at Penrith Lakes from 2008 to 2018. In 2014 a major exhibition of her work titled River to River: Interwoven Landscapes was held at the Penrith Regional Gallery.
With a focus on natural forms and their underlying geometric and spatial archetypes, Bronwyn’s work has sometimes been described as falling into the category of environmental art. Her work is represented in Government, private and corporate collections.Bronwyn is currently a PhD candidate at Western Sydney University. Her thesis explores connections between creativity/art practice and sustainable behaviours with the view to devising strategies of inserting these mechanisms into new urban developments.
Shaz Collyer - Painter
I have always been drawn to, and inspired by the colours, textures and patterns in nature, vintage textiles and found objects. I'm particularly attracted to age and decay in things, and the layering of colour and surface that is created through daily use and the exposure to weather over time. In the 1990's I studied at the Julian Ashton Art School, Tom Bass Sculpture School and completed an Associate Diploma of Colour and Design and a Diploma of Surface Design and Decoration at the School of Colour and Design in Sydney.
Cat Doyle, Coder
Cat Doyle is a web developer with a passion for good design. She spent 9 years coding for online agencies in London & Sydney before starting her own web design business in 2007.
At Spud Lane Studios, she thrives on the behind the scenes work needed to pull together the studios’ diverse offerings of fine art workshops and masterclasses, caffeine & canvas painting group, life drawing sketch club, and studio exhibitions featuring Ric Abel’s work and occasionally other high-level artists.
Robin Ezra and Annie Day
Robin Ezra and Annie Day are sisters who grew up in an artistic household with their mother a creator of exclusive ‘top end’ garments and their father a successful photographer. Printmaking Sisters are passionate advocates of safer, healthier and environmentally friendly printmaking techniques. Over the past 15 years they have taught these safer techniques in Florence, UK, New Zealand, Ballarat, Bowral, Newcastle, Adelaide, Sydney, Maldon, Rockhampton and Toowoomba.
Annie has been a practicing artist since gaining her diploma in painting in 1974 from the National Art School, Sydney.
As a celebrated portrait artist she has had work displayed in the prestigious “Portia Geech” portrait prize several times. In addition, she has also been a finalist in the “Doug Moran – Portraits of Australia” international portrait prize. Robin has always had an awareness of nature and the world around her, and brings her astute observation into her work by the way she designs her pieces - with an understanding of composition that draws the viewer into the image.
James King, Painter
“The year 2003 was a watershed. I won the Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize, organised by the South Australian Museum. It was the year that changed everything and I started to believe that painting was my true calling. Since then I’ve had shows in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Goulburn and the Southern Highlands. In 2007 I began my association with Becker Minty in Sydney’s Potts Point. Without their support and commitment I wouldn’t be where I am today. In 2011 I was the regional winner of the Goulburn Art Award as well as a finalist in the NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize.
My work has often been described as quirky, sometimes dark and often humorous. The subjects range from bleak cloud filled landscapes, to portraits of people and objects painted on old hard cover books.”
Bob Lenton, Painter
Studied Fine Art/ Ceramics. Bendigo College of the Arts 1969 – 1973. My painting is primarily abstract which is an art style popular in the 1950s and later that does not use traditional styles and techniques, but is based on forms that are not figurative or formal. The richness of colour in the Australian landscape is inescapably unique and worthy of representation in the context of my artistic identity.
Ashley Mackevicius - Photographer
Born in Melbourne, Australia in 1958 Ashley Mackevicius discovered photography at the age of 15 while still in high school.
In 1975 he enrolled at Prahran College of Arts majoring in photography, where he studied under such icon of Australia photography as Athol Shmith, Paul Cox and John Cato.
Ashley’s recent images form the basis for an ongoing study and reinterpretation of the landscape and natural forms. Although the chosen medium is photography based, the influences and vision are more aligned with contemporary landscape painting than pictorial photographic representations. My aim is to challenge the viewer to see beyond the object as a ‘thing - in - itself through the manipulation of scale and the abstraction of recognisable forms.
He has won numerous awards including Australia photographer of the Year and HeadOn Photo Festival.
He now lives and works in the rural town of Moss Vale in the Southern Highlands with his wife Amanda and children Max and Eva.
India Mark, Painter
India Mark is a Thirroul/Sydney based figurative painter. Her paintings use a light-filled palette that allows her portraits and still life subjects to flicker with associations. Figure paintings represent archetypes rather than individuals, an approach that frees the artist to explore psychological and physical qualities without needing to respond to the desires of the sitter. Mark's characters are constructed from life drawing and sourced imagery. Gaze overrides narrative, leaving us free to look for subtle differences in expression. Her still life paintings are a contemplative context for the character studies. The painterly treatment of domestic cups and saucers becomes an extension of the body: weathered, rinsed out and humbled by use.
India Mark was awarded the Foundation for Visual Arts Scholarship from the ANU School of Art and finished a Master of Fine Arts at the National Art School 2017. Two of her works are included in the archival collection of the National Art School. Mark was a finalist in the Archibald Prize 2016 and 2018 and a finalist in Brett Whiteley’s Travelling Scholarship 2017 and 2018.
Penelope McManus, Painter
Spending most of her life living in rural southern NSW, Penelope has always sought inspiration and refuge in the Australian bush. It’s where she feels most connected to herself and creativity.
Her paintings are inspired observations of the landscape she lives in at High Range NSW, surrounded by National Parks and wild, remote native forests and gorges.
Penelope has always loved colour and her paintings reflect her use of bold, strong tones; “It’s what feels natural to me”.
For Penelope there is nothing more thrilling than breathing life onto a blank canvas. As the creative process takes place the relationship between the painting and herself is profound, as if the painting and artist are talking to one another – “creating something we both want to bring to life”. It’s the mystery of the creative process which inspires Penelope to paint.
Phoebe Middleton, Printmaker
Phoebe Middleton is a printmaker with a background in animation, television graphics and illustration. Graduating from Underdale, South Australian School of Design (University of South Australia) with a Bachelor of Design, she has been creating images professionally for almost three decades.
A love of printmaking was rekindled on seeing works of Tasmanian printmakers in Hobart where Phoebe lived for many years, creating and working in galleries. She was drawn to their large-scale, adventurous and experimental images. Not restricting themselves to traditional techniques and regimental editioning. The Tasmanians chose vivid hand colouring, tearing, reworking, cutting and replacing. The results were dramatic and exciting and a strong influence on Phoebe’s printmaking direction.
After refreshing her printmaking skills at Larq Studios, Queenstown and Printmaking Diploma in Hobart she began exhibiting large graphic linocut prints throughout Tasmania and Melbourne. 2012 ‘Silver Rabbits of Betsy Island’ was acquired by the Australian National Gallery and her works began appearing in collections though out Australia and internationally. 2013 saw a returned to the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, where Phoebe currently creates for galleries and exhibitions nationally.
Mr & Mrs Munro, Weaving & Furniture
Mr & Mrs Munro are, to their friends, Colin and Brooke. Colin has spent his life working with natural materials, bringing his affection for them into his work building spaces for people to live in. Brooke studied and mastered basketry techniques early in life, and has turned that knowledge, combined with a natural affinity for the outdoors, into contemporary expressions of that art.
Together, Mr & Mrs Munro produce unique ‘Mr’ & ‘Mrs’ pieces in their individual mediums, while also collaborating on joint sculptural forms that represent the coming together of the both of them. Passionate about sustainability, Mr & Mrs Munro pieces are primarily constructed from found object – but little is limited by that (it’s amazing what you can find when you look hard enough).
And while all of that may sound a bit wanky – blame the writer – for it is the softness and sympathy of their work that bares the greatest fruit. It is honest, rare, beautiful, and real.
Grant Parker - Jeweller
Before moving to Australia in 2001, Grant worked as a lecturer and practitioner in literature and performing arts. With no formal training, but a keen interest in fashion design and history, in 2002 he began to create one off jewellery designs using late 19th and early 20th century glass, celluloid and Bakelite buttons.
He has sold his pieces at artisan markets, boutique stores and his own vintage clothing shop. He pursues a singular mission in each of his creations: to showcase these small but dense embodiments of cultural and technological change.
Penny Simons, Maker & Designer
Penny Simons is an award winning Sculpture/Weaver living and working in the Southern Highlands of NSW.
She was one of the founding partners of “Cloth”, a Sydney based bespoke business producing hand printed and constructed textiles. Prior to this, Penny gained a BA Hons. in Constructed Textiles, majoring in Weaving, from Winchester School of Art, England.
Penny has been making with willow for the last 7 years and previous to this studied and worked in the field of biodynamics, permaculture, landscape design, craft and horticulture. Her work to date has been about the cross pollination of all these art forms, and the effect that this work can have on our awareness of the natural environment.
Most of the works are made from “weedy” willow, other elements from nature such as pods, seeds and nuts, leaves, feathers, dried flowers, and up-cycled rubbish and marine debris, all foraged by the artist. She leaves a zero environmental footprint in the creation of her work.