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Lismore Regional Gallery | Dirt & Ash: Fiona Fell and Kellie O'Dempsey

Image: Fiona Fell and Kellie O’Dempsey, Dirt & Ash, 2018, photograph Jess O’Connor.
Dirt & Ash displays a dynamic exchange between two mid-career artists, Fiona Fell and Kellie O’Dempsey. The exhibition explores the links between artists’ bodies and practices via their respective mediums of clay (Fell) and charcoal (O’Dempsey). At face value, Fell and O’Dempsey have very different approaches to art. Fell’s process is private and studio based. O’Dempsey’s performance drawing is a public spectacle.
Recently Fell has integrated her figurative ceramics with a more abstract, material driven approach, often using wet and unfired clay, which we would never usually see in traditional ceramic practice. Kellie O’Dempsey’s work aims to expand the understanding of contemporary drawing using digital and conventional artist’s tools and incorporating sound and video projection. O’Dempsey’s lines are laid down with a grace and confidence that comes from 1000s of drawing hours. In her live performances she bravely shares the vulnerability of missteps (mistakes) usually hidden or overcome in a completed work.
Fiona Fell and Kellie O’Dempsey are both artists have long standing connections with the Northern Rivers and have pursued their art national and internationally. Both have recently completed their PhDs, expanding their careers as artists and academics (read on for artists’ bios).
Kellie O’Dempsey and Fiona Fell perform Dirt & Ash with Michael Dick (sound artist) on opening night.
Fiona Fell is a practicing artist and academic based in Lismore. She has had over 20 solo shows, received several international grants and is part of many public and private collections both national and international. Fiona’s work is featured in esteemed public collections including; These include the National Gallery of Australia; Queensland Art Gallery; FLICAM- Australasian Museum, Fuping, China; Cera- Techno, Toki City, Japan; Power House Museum, Sydney; Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taiwan; and numerous nationwide regional galleries and University collections. Fell lectures in Sculpture and Spatial Practices, Art and Design at the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Southern Cross University. She recently completed PhD studies at Queensland College of Arts, Griffith University.
Kellie O’Dempsey is an artist, curator and scholar based between in Brisbane and Brunswick Heads. She has produced drawing and digital based artworks, performances and installations for over fifteen years in diverse locations – from regional Australia to regional Italy, France, New York and London. Revealing the process of making as performance, O’Dempsey works in collaboration with performers, dancers and musicians, building site-generated works as shared experience. In 2018 O’Dempsey exhibited The Never-ending Line, NGA Play at the National Gallery of Australia. Her digital and time-based outputs include collaborations with Jennifer Woblewski (NY), Piyali Gosh (India) and Jaanika Peerna (NY/Estonia), and her public performances have been staged at White Nights Melbourne, N3mber Performance Space, London, and MONA FOMA. O’Dempsey lectures in drawing at Queensland College of Art and has been awarded a PhD from that university.
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