Current Issue #488

Eleanor Zecchin looks on the bright side

In an ambitious project, Eleanor Zecchin presents 1000 small watercolour musings which she hopes will encourage dialogue about the challenges and joys of optimism and hope within the community.

Usually a painter of large- scale acrylic and oil works, with this project Eleanor Zecchin has the opportunity to escape and create other imaginative spaces, encouraging the audience to take the journey with her. 

The project initially began as a bit of fun for Zecchin, allowing her to experiment with watercolours. Upon discovering there were so many different variations of any one potential idea, she decided she wanted to see a bigger project to fruition. 

“The medium of watercolour has been good for me because it’s soothing to work with, it’s the nature of watching things happen, and it’s not labour intensive either,” says Zecchin. 

“The oil painting, which is typically large scale, has more action. It’s still enjoyable but I needed to take a break from it physically.” 

Zecchin’s 1000 metaphorical readings of rainbows, which each measure 162 by 144 millimetres, will be displayed across four walls of the gallery, with a core group in the middle in a grid and the others set out as offshoots that start to fall outside of the grid. 

Eleanor Zecchin, 1000 ways to rainbow, detail

“I want them to appear like there is a stable core and then they start to lose the plot a bit and start to dance around the place,” says Zecchin. “While I have drawn pictures of the layout and I can see it in my head, I will be responding to the installation process as it’s happening.” 

A lot of thought and detail has gone into the execution of this project, from the choice of paper – Zecchin has used Khadi paper which is handmade from recycled cotton – to her custom-made stamp to label each work. 

Eleanor Zecchin, 1000 ways to rainbow, detail

“Each piece of paper is different in terms of the edges, and sometimes you might find a bit of extra lumpy fibre or a folded corner. I love that raw quality to it,” says Zecchin. “I particularly like using it with watercolour – it adds to the organic feel of the work and adds to a chance-based outcome.” 

The works won’t be for sale, as the artist couldn’t bear to separate the series. However, on the Saturday before the launch Zecchin will be in the gallery creating half-sized works that will be for sale. 

While these works might be a shift in scale and medium for Zecchin, there is still a connection running through her work. “I think it’s about acknowledging the duality of chaos and control. It has been a recurring theme in my practice for a long time. I like both of those things. I thrive in a bit of chaos but need an element of control.” 

In light of the COVID-19 crisis, the inaugural exhibition for 1000 ways to rainbow will be rescheduled at a later date. However, Zecchin will be sharing details from the series via her Instagram account in the interim period.

Jane Llewellyn

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