Looking forwards looking back

Artists from the Coochie Art Group have come a long way since they strung their paintings between trees on the island for their very first exhibition in 1973.

This month they are celebrating all the creative energy and successes in between as part of their Then & Now: Coochie Art Group 40th Anniversary Retrospective, opening at Redland Art Gallery, Cleveland on Friday 27 September.

Redland City Council arts, culture and innovation spokesperson Cr Paul Bishop said the exhibition would be a rare treat for local art-lovers – bringing together the work of 24 talented Coochie artists and 12 of their tutors, as well as profiling 34 years of prize winning works.

“Not only is this their first retrospective exhibition, but it is also the first time members of the group have exhibited with distinguished tutors from across Queensland and interstate,” he said.

“The end result will be a stunning vision of old and new, over 100 works of art celebrating the long history, diversity and vitality of this passionate group, brought together by a tremendous love of creating art.”

 Hilary Wakeling coochie art

Divisional Councillor for Coochiemudlo Island (Division 4) Cr Lance Hewlett said the Coochie art collective was a small but active group on the local art scene.

“There is a great creative vigour generated in regularly working together,” he said.

“This group has the full gamut of talent from emerging to more established artists, producing everything from landscapes to still life and more abstract work. Many of them work in watercolour, which is a nice connection for an island art community.”

The Coochie exhibition will be officially opened by contemporary Australian artist Donald James Waters of Jacobs Well at 6pm on Friday 27 September 2013 at Redland Art Gallery, Cleveland, with entertainment by acoustic blues and jazz duo Mama Juju. All are welcome.

The exhibition will be open for a month until Sunday 27 October 2013, with a special session of floor talks and morning tea from 11am on Sunday 29th at which a Coochie group member and a tutor will discuss their art and other works in the exhibition.

Coochie Art Group’s annual exhibitions are always very popular and well supported by the local Redlands community, with about 2000 people expected to visit the gallery during the month-long exhibition. The majority of work will be available for sale, and gallery visitors will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite piece in the exhibition’s 2013 People’s Choice Prize.