The Grace Cossington Smith Gallery is set to present works by three Sydney based artists, Jan Handel, Melinda Marshman and Lisa Woolfe. The works created for this exhibition are a response to the practice of Shinrin-yoku or Forest Bathing. Originating in Japan in the 1980s, Shinrin-yoku refers to the practice of being in nature and connecting with it through our senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Each artist brings their unique approach to present an engaging exhibition that includes large scale oil paintings, installation and drawings in space.

Jan Handel: her installation bathes the viewer in gentle forest hues as they walk through translucent coloured film stretched through the exhibition space. Handel’s interpretation of the theme offers a reminder of the fragility of our natural world. Working within geometric abstraction across painting, drawing and installation, Jan Handel’s practice gives physical form to circumstances and situations inherent in the human experience.

Melinda Marshman: Quoting naturalist John Muir, “between every two pine trees is a doorway leading to another life,” Marshman considers that our life force is sustained by nature. Her ambitious large scale, multipaneled painting draws the viewer close. The gentle muted tones illuminate the subtle energies embodied in the vivid sensory and meditative experience and feelings derived from being in nature. Melinda is an oil painter whose interest in using pure colour distils her subject down to their simplest forms to reveal their essence.

Lisa Woolfe: Taking her cue from Henry D. Thoreau’s “we need the tonic of wildness,” and her ongoing interest in the philosophy of the Deep Ecology movement, Lisa Woolfe’s spatial drawing asks the viewer to pause reality for a moment, engage with our animal senses and imagine walking amongst the treetops and its messy tangle of wildness. Woolfe’s work is situated within the field of contemporary drawing practice. She makes two dimensional drawings on paper as well as three dimensional drawings she refers to as drawings in space.

The Forested Exhibit will be available from 23 January – 20 February 2021 at GCS Gallery.