CEL: The Artist as Animator, running from 12 Feb-3 April, presents a synthesis of regional, national, and international artists working with what South African artist William Kentridge calls “stone-age animation” (stop-motion animation) wherein the hand of the artist is ever-present.


Examining ways for the survival of hand drawing, painting and sculpture in a digital era, Bathurst Regional Art Gallery invited five artists to expand their existing fine art practice into a new medium. It was a first time opportunity for each artist to explore ‘how they might make their art move’.


Under the tutorage of well-known animator and academic, Damian Gascoigne, selected artists Tom Buckland (Oberon), Genevieve Carroll (Hill End), Harrie Fasher (Portland), Locust Jones (Katoomba) and Aleshia Lonsdale (Mudgee), participated in a five-day residential intensive in Hill End, (regional NSW), in January 2021.


The productive workshops provided a foundation in bringing the imperfection of analogue mark making – the raw, drawn and painted line – into an online sphere. Each artist acquired new skills and created an original animation. The resulting moving image works and installations are much more than any of the participants expected. For students and teacher alike.


‘The visually rich animations showcased in CEL all convey complex and at times fanciful narratives through a seemingly simple medium, cutting through technology to form a direct connection with the viewer.’ says Emma Collerton, BRAG and CEL Curator, ‘CEL residency artists have extended this connection through the creation of individual immersive animation installation experiences.’


Sitting alongside the workshopped animated works is a new by artist mentor Damian Gascoigne, High Wind Over Hasegawa (2022). Gascoigne’s calligraphic drawings poetically woven into his animation explores Buddhist ideas of non-duality. Also on display is Todd Fuller’s hand drawn animation and installation, Postcards to the Pope (2013) (from BRAG’s Permanent Collection) with Deborah Kelly’s The Gods of Tiny Things (2019) collage animation and Richard Lewer’s hand-drawn animation Never shall be forgotten – a mother’s story (2017) – both on loan from the Art Gallery of NSW Collection (AGNSW).


On loan from AGNSW is acclaimed international artist, William Kentridge’s Tide Table (2003), a hand drawn charcoal animation, that has its stand-alone projection room.


There are three dynamic animations from the White Rabbit Gallery collection on show for CEL: The earliest animation in the exhibition, Bu Hua’s Cat (2002), is flash animation software that went viral on the internet prior to the creation of YouTube. Gen Xue’s Mr Sea (2013-2014) embraces the use of ceramics and puppetry. And Sun Xun, whose thousands of hand carved woodblock prints were woven together to create his cinematic 3D animation Time Spy (2016), requires the audience to wear 3D glasses.


Together the artists compose Dada inspired collages to record social and political concerns from colonialism and environmentalism to global politics, social and human impact.


Fine Art Animation is growing in demand as an accepted artform across galleries and museums and from all age audiences. CEL offers a Gallery experience of original, inventive animated films with related drawings, installations and sculpture – from the still to moving image.


CEL includes a free drop-in ‘animation make space’ – a self-guided DIY animation area allowing visitors to create their own animations to be projected in the exhibition space. This exhibition is supported by BRAGS Inc. through Create NSW Arts Restart Residencies funding and Arts OutWest. A BRAG Exhibition curated by Emma Collerton and technical expertise by Joel Tonks.


Image: This page: CEL Residency Group – Hill End January 2021