A trifecta of accolades for Coffs artist Seabastion Toast

‘Ways of Mapping Sunshine’, a portrait of Coffs violinist Annabelle Swainston by Seabastion Toast, placed as a finalist in the Brisbane Portrait Prize.

A TRIFECTA of finalist placings in important art competitions for Coffs Harbour artist Seabastion Toast, announced in October, is leading to national acclaim and a solo show on the Gold Coast at the Anthea Polson Gallery on Main Beach.

“It was a really big deal to be one of only eight finalists in the Evelyn Chapman award in Sydney,” Seabastion told News Of The Area.

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“This prestigious award is given to an Australian painter under the age of 45, to ‘engender the encouragement, development and rewarding of artistic skill, through furthering the training and knowledge and skills of Australian painters’.”

Winning a finalist placing in Australia’s most prestigious portrait prize for women, the Portia Geach award, with her self-portrait ‘Big Fun’ has also been an honour for the Coffs Coast painter.

Her third honour in October was being placed as a finalist in the Brisbane Portrait Prize with her portrait of Coffs Harbour violinist and Coffs Conservatorium Head of Strings, Annabelle Swainston.

“I didn’t win any of the awards but I felt I did by being selected as a finalist,” Seabastion told NOTA.

“I am now madly painting for my solo exhibition.

“I am increasingly interested in the very act of looking and attempting to record this process through paint.

“Perception is not fixed, and, like shifting conditions in light, focus and atmosphere, I chase the ethereal to gain a greater understanding of how we exist.

“Process driven, painting for me has never been about making pretty pictures, but rather a way of learning to see.

“My goal is to create paintings that reveal themselves slowly.

“By concerning myself with formal elements of line, shape, composition and colour, the meaning and metaphor develops alongside but is not dependent on the work.

“The forms are built up slowly with lots of layers.”

Seabastion is interested in creating paintings that encourage the viewer to take time to look, and in doing so, to slow time.

In a world where things are often increasing in speed, stopping to spend time with an artwork seems to be one of the most important things we can do, she believes.

“Time is a very important element, both in the creation of the work and the viewing.”

Talking about her ‘Ways of Mapping Sunshine’ portrait of Coffs Violinist Annabelle Swainston, Seabastion said, “I first met the accomplished violinist, and fellow member of Coffs Trail Runners, Annabelle Swainston, while training for an ultra-marathon trail event.”

Long hours running together, frequently in Lower Bucca State Forest, served for interesting conversations on the crossovers between art, music and athletic performance.

“This painting serves as a double portrait of our connection as my own form falls as a shadow across her upper body.

“I am interested in the ways the abstract qualities of light and form can be used to map a path for the viewer, slowing sections and speeding others to create a visual symphony.

“How light, travelling in waves, like music, can map and suspend an object in a brief fleeting moment of poetry,” she said.


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