Seabastion Toast is a finalist in three important art prizes

Paddle Pool, a collage of suburban summer memories, a finalist in the Caloundra Regional Art Gallery’s Sunshine Coast Art Prize.

SEABASTION Toast, artist in residence in Coffs Harbour, is a first-time finalist in three major art prizes: the Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery’s STILL National Still Life Award; Caloundra Regional Art Gallery’s Sunshine Coast Art Prize and the Manning Valley Regional Gallery’s Naked and Nude Art Prize.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be included in the STILL prize, not only because of the high-calibre national selection of artists in the exhibition, but because it will be in our brand-new gallery at Yarrila place,” Seabastion told News Of The Area.

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“As a Coffs resident, to be one of the first artists to be hung in our new gallery is really exciting and meaningful for me.”

Her artwork is an oil on canvas called Postcards from the edge*.

This painting was born out of a body of work she constructed for her recent show at Anthea Polson Art Gallery called ‘How the light gets in’.

“This painting looks at memory and our human inclinations to collect and keep, and draw meaning from physical objects.”

When beginning a painting Seabastion always starts with first principles of design and then tries to push and bend the rules in ways that spark new interest in her brain.

“This painting includes a very old piece of wrapping paper that I have painted many times, each time the folds increase, and like a mountain range, buckle and wear.

“I folded the paper into valleys and troughs and then overlaid the structure with some old postcards from a Cradle Mountain hike I did when I was 13.

“I added some objects I collected in my journey to Tasmania, a broken plate, a dish, some everlasting daisies, a dragon fly.

“As with every painting, the objects operate as abstract elements, simple blocks of colour and shape.”

She can spend days arranging and rearranging these elements until she hits upon an interesting composition.

It’s a large painting, 150cm x 120cm, and so the small, intimate objects are quite outsized.

This results in a distortion; a very different feel to a traditionally ‘sight-sized’ painting.

Her finalist-winning oil on canvas for the Sunshine Coast Art Prize is called The Paddle Pool.

This painting is a collage of suburban summer memories.

“I am keenly interested in the marriage of figuration and abstraction and particularly the use of pattern, which can serve to either deepen or flatten parts of the pictorial space.

“These distortions reflect the way memories take on a different form as they are imagined and reimagined over and over again,” said Seabastion.

“I enjoy playing with the element of time when constructing a painting, both in terms of nostalgia, as well as how the painting is viewed.”

Various aspects reveal themselves at different speeds so the painting unfolds, “more like a piece of music or a poem” she said.

The Keeper is Seabastion’s oil on canvas winning a finalist place at Naked and Nude: Manning Valley Regional Gallery.

This painting explores our personal and complex relationship to the things we collect, clothe and surround ourselves with.

“The figure, while stripped bare to its essence, exists in a seemingly dialectical state of being overwhelmed by a cacophony of domestic, decorative possessions,” she said.

“The pose and positioning of the figure adds a psychological weight to the image.”

Seabastion’s message with the painting, “the aesthetics of collecting, the potentiality and opportunity of objects and the very real impact of consumerism and mass production on the environment are interlocking challenges we face not only as individuals, but collectively as a society.”

Prize-winners are announced from September.

*STILL has asked for no finalist photos to be printed at time of going to press.


Seabastion Toast’s The Keeper, a finalist in Naked and Nude: Manning Valley Regional Gallery.

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