About five years ago, Rochelle Summerfield moved to the Clarence Valley, Northern New South Wales, Australia, for the love of a bloke with a beard called Richard. She found the mighty Clarence River and this is where her studio is based.
“Every day I get to see the beautiful, silvery light glistening on the water’s surface or in the height of flood – such as when I experienced my first flood ever, it was the historical 100-year flood of 2013 – the river rose 22 metres just below our home. The mystery and force of nature inspires my work since moving here.”
Rochelle’s work is an intersection of the new and old, nature and urbanization. Disrupting traditional art forms like drawing and painting, she combines them with new technologies of photo and print media with creative innovation and bold experimentation. Her new and mixed media artworks create dialogues around women, nature and the domestic.
Living by the majestic Clarence River in north-eastern New South Wales, its beauty and tempestuous nature bears a powerful presence. Indicator Signage, warns the community of nature’s dangers.
“The more we domesticate the environment we live in, the more we search to find connection to the ‘wild’ in ourselves and in nature”.
Rochelle’s heroine – a recurring protagonist – is navigating the lush, domesticated riverscapes of New South Wales. Inspired by the Dadaists Hannah Höch and Max Ernst who, in the 1920s Germany took images out of their original context to reverse their meanings and critique society, her female protagonist is reconstituted from collage. This larger than life, sassy female is far greater than the sum of her collaged parts as she defies body image and injects a cheeky spark of humour into the work.
Rochelle has a Masters of Visual Arts and has trained at the Julian Ashton Art School. She specialises in photocollage, drawing, oil pastels, printmaking, new and digital media. Her work is deeply concerned with female subjectivity, nature and the domestic, juxtaposed both thematically and artistically.