'Home - La Maison' - An Online Exhibition of new works by Gina Kalabishis

at Flinders Lane Gallery 11 May -30 May 

These works were intended to have been created for the group exhibition that was going to be shown on Saturday 9 May at 6pm at the Ancienne Eglise St, Laurent, Eygalieres, France concluding on Saturday 30 May 2020.

This suite of eight new ink and gouache on watercolour paper artworks are a combination of Australian and French symbols of flora and fauna with a culinary mix of produce from the south of France, the Saint-Remy-de-Provence,

Eygalieres and Molleges, are small communities in the Bouches-du-Rhône, southern France. These delicate ikebana free styled arrangements speak of and capture these beautiful areas as a safe haven.

This is a visual emotive recording though art of a personal nature that is potent in its tragic timing. It's subject matter of birds in the safety of the trees they inhabit, is symbolic of our 'Home- La Maison' a safe refuge for humanity.

The potent beauty of drawing, the emotive nature and gastronomic produce of Australia and France reaches out  to a current important online audience referencing the COVID_19 symbology of home isolation. 

I gratefully acknowledge Nicky Ginsberg Director at NG Art Residency, France for the opportunity to come for such a short and unfortunatley interrupted so tragically, I hope to return to continue my residency one day.







GALA Gallery is a newly established commercial art gallery located in Rockhampton, Central Queensland.

Delighted to be part of this group exhibition.


Social Card 1Social Card 2


NG Art Creative Residency Eygalières, Provence, Southern France 2020
I am elated and so appreciative to be awarded this beautiful three week residency .
3 March -26 March
My sincere gratitude to Nicky Ginsberg.

'Pilgrims far and wide, in pursuit of creative enlightenment, are journeying to Eygalières, Provence, Southern France to attend the NG Art Creative Residency at the 15th century Provencal homestead, Mas des Pelerins; House of Pilgrims.

A home away from home, NG Art Creative Residency is an international multi-disciplinary creative residency that offers a place of respite, nourishment and enlightenment for artists, writers, poets, musicians, performers, filmmakers, photographers, academic scholars, and other creatives who seek to enrich their process.

We invite creatives to embark on imaginative endeavours, and immerse themselves in an environment of reflection and creative freedom – in the studio and en plein air.

Directed and founded by long-standing gallerist, curator, entrepreneur, director and visionary Nicky Ginsberg, the NG Art Creative Residency is the collective brainchild of Ginsberg’s creative offspring; NG Art Gallery, Carlton Project Space, Kensington Contemporary, the Chippendale Creative Precinct, Mission Restaurant Bar, and The Chip Off The Old Block, Sydney, Australia.'

Umbi Gumbi Artist in Residence 2020
Cuttagee. NSW
I am so thrilled to be awarded a two week residency in this special region.
20 July to 3 August. 
My sincere thanks to the Umbi Gumbi co-orperative.
Umbi Gumbi is a 100-acre property in a stunning beachside location nestled in the spotted gum forest. It is bordered by Cuttagee beach along the eastern side of the property and Cuttagee Lake to the north.
Since 1978, Umbi Gumbi has been owned and operated by the Umbi Gumbi cooperative. In 1978 it was classified Residential Conservation permitting four dwellings to be built. The property was designated a Nature Reserve in 1978 with a mandate to preserve this piece of coastal forest comprising spotted gums, coastal mahogany, banksia, stands of melaleuca, burrawangs and cabbage palms, and wildlife such as wallaby, possums, kangaroo, and native birdlife.
The original Ridge House was built in the 1960s by Mary and Frank Brett (related to the à Beckett / Boyd family) and the remaining three (including the Beach House) are testament to the principles of 1970’s self-sufficiency, hand built with mud brick, stained glass, local timbers and recycled materials. They have been featured in Earth Garden and Grass Roots magazines. All the houses were located and built out of sight of each other and designed to blend into the landscape. 
Umbi Gumbi has inspired many of Australia’s writers and artists. John Blay, a founder of the cooperative, wrote his first novel, Part of the Scenery while camped out at the Umbi Gumbi dam. Salman Rushdie visited during the time he was in hiding from writing The Satanic Verses. Richard Neville and Martin Sharp - writers, artists and social commentators - stayed regularly. During his final years, Brett Whiteley spent time at Umbi Gumbi.
Michael Dransfield was a frequent visitor, and called Umbi Gumbi ‘the idea forest’. In Tim Thorne’s Umbi Gumbi ‘planes of lake, of surf / Are defined by the spotted gum forest / … / in this house full of music and words, / love is like big windows’. Dorothy Hewett always felt a special connection to the place, using the physical landscape and characters in her poetry and in her last novel The Neap Tide. 


The forest, the sea, the mix of company and isolation have also been an inspiration for musicians. The Strides recorded songs for an album there and they named one of their songs Umbi Gumbi. Sydney group Iron Gate Sound recorded an EP at the property.



Finalist in the ROI Art Prize 2019

I am delighted to be selected as a finalist in this prize!

As an annual, acquisitive art prize of $10,000 funded and run by the ROI Owners Corporation, the ROI Art Prize is unique in Victoria, if not Australia. Now in its eighth year it continues to gain respect and interest, in 2018 attracting more than 50 entries from established and emerging artists. From the first year’s winner in 2012, the late Gordon Bennett, there has been an impressive list of entrants and winners.

The ROI Art Prize and the People’s Choice Prize will be announced on Thursday 28 November 2019 at the ROI.

The ROI Art Prize is sponsored by Nelson Alexander and WinConnect.


This Land..... Elaine L. Jacob Gallery at Wayne State University, Detroit, USA

The James Pearson Duffy Department of Art and Art History, Elaine L. Jacob Gallery, Wayne State University, Detroit, is pleased to present THIS LAND IS…, October 25 through December 13, 2019.  
THIS LAND IS… features works created through a wide variety of disciplines by artists who address current and future environmental concerns.  The artists confront political, cultural, and social ecological changes by observing sentimental landmarks and documenting their importance.  This exhibition was curated by Jennifer Belair Sakarian and includes works by the following artists: David Buckley Borden and Casey Keenan, Sophie-Madeleine Jaillet, Sarah Anne Johnson, and Margaret Laurena Kemp in collaboration with Gina Kalabishis.

Finalist in the St Kevins Art show 2019, Toorak, Melbourne



Finalist: John Leslie Art Prize 2018

Gippsland Art Gallery, Wellington Shire Council

EXHIBITION: 22 September— 25 November 2018

Inaugurated in 2000, the Prize is named after John Leslie OBE (1919—2016), Patron of the Gippsland Art Gallery.

The continuation of the Prize is made possible by the generous ongoing support of the John Leslie Foundation.

Judge: Andrew Frost, Art writer, critic and broadcaster

Talking with Painters with Maria Stoljar

Episode 52: Gina Kalabishis

Gina Kalabishis’s work is about relationships and connection; connecting with nature and connecting with each other.

Talking with Painters is an audio art podcast where Maria Stoljar talks with Australian painters about how they became an artist, their influences, techniques and current work. 








Bundanon Floor to Sky

17th July 2018 - 11th August 2018

Flinders Lane Gallery

This exhibition is an official MELBOURNE ART WEEK event.

The exhibition with be opened by
Deborah Ely, Chief Executive Officer, Bundanon Trust
and Dr Ryan Jefferies Head of Programs, Science Gallery Melbourne

For this extraordinary solo exhibition, winner of the 2017 Eutick Memorial Still Life Award, Gina Kalabishis, presents a new body of work inspired by her residency at Arthur Boyd’s Bundanon property - an experience that allowed her to create and explore in this unique envirnoment. Kalabishis celebrates both this opportunity and the landscape. Utilising the motifs and mythology of Australia’s native flora, and creating compositions inspired by ikebana arrangements, intimate narratives are constructed where the human experience becomes enmeshed with the beauty of nature.

This exhibition is dedicated to the loving memory of historian and writer Inga Clendinnen, AO, FAHA (Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities)
Now I know how I want death to come for me, strolling in the slanting rain of light through eucalyptus leaves, a strip of bark in my fingers, the gurgle of hidden magpies all around. I will say to Death, ‘A moment, friend.’ And then: ‘I’m ready now.’ ”

Catalogue Essay
by Dr Ryan Jefferies 2018
Head of Programs, Science Gallery Melbourne

Bundanon means ‘deep valley’ in the language of the Wodi Wodi peoples of the Yuin nations, who as the traditional custodians of the lands, share deep spiritual connections with the fertile valley shaped by the Shoalhaven River. Empathizing with Indigenous culture, artist Arthur Boyd highlighted the human imbalance with this landscape and our ignorance to imminent ecological damage. Boyd developed a passion for environmental protectionism while he lived at Bundanon in New South Wales, where he championed the idea that ‘you can’t own a landscape’. And while this may be true, it is important to acknowledge that we can be part of it.

In ‘Bundanon Floor to Sky’ Gina Kalabishis exquisitely highlights the human connection to the landscape through her bold, immersive artworks that explore the Australian bushland with a visual poetry and scientific eroticism. Her anthropomorphism of the landscape profoundly draws us back into the natural world with deep desire and intrigue. The traces of technological glitches, the merging of seasons and the distortion of scale combine to present a dreamlike timelessness and beautiful warping of reality. Her emotive realism juxtaposes against our growing disconnect and blindness to the ecotopia of nature.

From brush kurrajong to the prehistoric burrawang, the diverse plants of Bundanon are themselves like artworks aesthetically positioned across an outdoor gallery. Their myriad of foliage and flowers presented in a rich spectrum of green and brown hues. Above them, the troposphere illuminated by the bright spotlight of the sun, flickering with the transient seasons.  The ever-present human body is often subtlety hinted at by Kalabishis. Bark becomes skin. Sometimes smooth and overtly sexual. Sometimes torn and discarded as if part of an autopsy conducted at the hands of a forensic scientist. The outstretched remains are left decaying back into the earth to nourish a new cycle of growth. A spiral shell that Kalabishis travelled along the winding length of the Shoalhaven River to collect, becomes the landscape’s inner ear. The tiny structures of the auris interna – the cochlea, tympanic membrane and auditory ossicles – become enormously oversized to capture the warm morning songs of tiny passerine birds of the bush. Their voices resonating with a scale much larger than their diminutive selves.

An emotional undercurrent of a lost lover flows through the artist’s work with a raw sexual energy. We cannot help but feel that the forests and scrublands are an absent partner we desire and want back in our lives. Kalabishis clusters native plants and flowers into anatomical ikebana arrangements, emulating lungs, heart and interconnecting vessels. Intertwining branches are lovers embraced. The mirrored lives of people and plants is direct. Flora too is alive. Plants breathe, have sex and need food. They also nourish our own emotional wellbeing. We are therefore products of our environment and our very blood and bones share the same building blocks as the leaves, bark and stems of our native flora. This is an environment where art, science and culture can deeply intertwine as we attempt to understand our place within an existing ecology. An ecology that we often forget as the disconnect between bushland and people widens.

The wonderful legacy of Boyd’s bequest of Bundanon continues with Kalabishis’s beautifully emotive artworks. A gift that extends to the rich creativity that can transpire from our unique landscape and a reminder of our place in the fragile balance of life. At a time when we are becoming increasingly urbanised, Kalabishis superbly places us back in the landscape and we are left lusting for more.


"I gratefully acknowledge the wonderful and enduring support of these organisations and people in my life: The Wodi Wodi of the Yuin Nation, The Bundanon Trust and staff: a heartfelt thank you to Yvonne and Arthur Boyd and Family, Deborah Ely, Julie Ryan, John Baylis, Ralph Dixon, Jennifer Thompson, Charies Matugas, Michael Blount, Gary Hogan, Jim Birkett, Mary Preece and Saskia Vrenegoor. Dr Ryan Jefferies, Hamish Coates, Patricia Coates, Eamon Coates, Alexander Coates, Anya Mckee, Claire Harris, Jenny Collodetti, Michael Varcoe-Cocks, David Keys and Tamara McGuane (Art Spectrum), The Aboriginal Community Elders Services Inc (ACES), Dr Mal Eutick, John McDonald and Dr Leigh Summers (EMSLA).
And the unique flora, fauna and environment of the south coast NSW.

Gina Kalabishis 2018



Gina Kalabishis has been announced the winner of the  2017 Eutick Memorial Still Life Award (EMSLA)

'Passing Pulpit Rock - Distant Sky (After Nick Cave and Else Torp)'


As Australia’s only national Still Life Painting Award, EMSLA is celebrating it’s eleventh consecutive year with a new $20,000
non-acquisitive First Prize
and relocation to the city of Wollongong.


Dr Mal Eutick is an ardent fan of still life painting and in act of great vision and generosity funded the inaugural Eutick Memorial Still Life Award in 2006. EMSLA, as the prize is colloquially and fondly known, was instituted in memory of Dr Eutick’s parents Lillian and Malvin. Now in its eleventh year EMSLA comes to Wollongong and coincides delightfully with the city’s celebratory, signature festival, Viva La Gong.

Critic and art historian John McDonald, principal judge since EMSLA’s inception, continues in this challenging role in 2017. John’s continued relationship with EMSLA has added prestige to the award and increased still life’s importance as a genre. Excitingly, for artists everywhere, EMSLA is now non-acquisitive.

Still life is an enduring genre with an intriguing and chequered past. Emerging in Europe in the 16th Century it waxed and waned in popularity but never entirely vanished. Still life, or nature morte, traditionally involved arrangements of fruit, flowers and natural objects - dead or alive. Genuine mastery was essential to realistically reproduce the crepe-like texture of poppies, the velvety surface of tulips, the furs, feathers and fins of dead animals; and the convincing replication of glass, crystal or metal in the depiction of vases, weapons and mirrors.

Artists in the 21st century have expanded, and in some cases shattered the traditional stereotypes of the genre, including its traditional adherence to verisimilitude. Contemporary still life painting still requires extraordinary skill and while realism is always admired it is no longer demanded or expected of artists.

EMSLA celebrates excellence in still life painting and welcomes the influences of impressionism, abstraction, realism and hyperrealism (indeed all the isms) in all their permutations. 

Dr Leigh Summers


'Romancing the Skull'

Art Gallery of Ballarat

Sat 14 Oct 2017 – Sun 28 Jan 2018
Very excited to be part of this show with a work created from my Art Residency at the: Harry Brookes Allen Museum for Anatomy and Pathology, Melbourne University.

The skull has entranced and fascinated generations of artists. Romancing the skull looks at the depiction of the skull in art and examines why we continue to be so enamoured with this iconic symbol. The exhibition explores a range of themes including the skull as a reminder of our mortality, the use of the skull in addressing social and political issues, and the skull and crossbones as a symbol of piracy and rebellion.

Romancing the skull will also look at the way in which the skull has been embraced as an important symbol in Mexican Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. Prints by Mexican artists José Guadalupe Posada (1852–1913) have become synonymous with Day of the Dead and his Calaveras (skull figures) are now firmly embedded in Mexican popular culture. More than twenty of his iconic prints will be introduced to Australian audiences for the first time.

Other highlights of the exhibition include a Nuremberg Chronicle dating from 1493 depicting one of the earliest Danse Macabre (Dance of Death) images, and Australian artist Shaun Gladwell’s Virtual Reality work Orbital Vanitas 2016, which debuted at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. It will also include works by contemporary Australian artists Sam Jinks, Rona Green and Ben Quilty and specially commissioned works by Fiona Hall, Reko Rennie and Sally Smart.


Winner of the People's Choice Award: 2017 Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize 

Thrilled to the winner of this award with 'Arete no.3'

The Gallery @ Bayside Arts & Cultural Centre
6 May to 18 June, 2017

The Bayside Acquisitive Art Prize (BAAP) provides painters residing in Australia the opportunity to participate in Melbourne’s Bayside arts and cultural program. It fosters a sense of identity, pride and place through a community event and enables the acquisition of suitable artworks for the Bayside City Council Art & Heritage Collection.

With over 550 entries from across Australia, thirty-nine finalists have been chosen.

BAAP is judged by industry professionals who award total prize monies and acquisitive funds of $19,000. This year’s judging panel includes; Samantha Comte, Curator & Exhibition Coordinator, Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne, and Jason Smith, Director Geelong Gallery, who will be joining Joanna Bosse, Curator, the Gallery at Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre.

First prize is $15,000 with a Local Art Prize of $3,000 for an artwork or artist with a Bayside connection. The opening event and announcement of the winners will take place on Thursday 11 May, 6-8pm. Visitors can also cast their vote for the $1,000 People’s Choice Award.

NITEART  Thursday 27th July.

Gina Kalabishis investigates her painterly arÄ“te, activating the Flinders Lane Gallery Showroom in shimmering blue light, themed "Once in a blue moon" Kalabishis will present a number of her blue night paintings melding her playful homage to Australian landscape painting and her sensual ikebana  Australian native arrangements as united works.
Responding to her  paintings Flower Vasette will display a large enamoured native  suspended floral  arrangement in response to Kalabishis's work.
On the night the artist will be present to give a informal talk and will be creating a live night drawing responding back to Flower Vasette's arrangement thus generating a full loop of captivating art making.


Bundanon Trust 2016 Artist in Residence Program.

'Bundanon floor to sky' Flinders Lane Gallery 2018

Autumn Residency : March 2017

The  Artist-in-Residence program is open to professional artists and thinkers from all disciplines, individually or in groups. The residencies support new work, research and collaborations by Australian and international artists, and are hosted in purpose-built studios on the Shoalhaven River properties on the south coast of New South Wales.

 For more information about Bundanon Trust and the AIR programme, please visit:



Finalist in the 2016 Eutick Memorial Still Life Award (EMSLA) 10th anniversary

Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery

A wonderful award and a very entertaining opening going by last years!

Exhibition period Saturday 12 November to Saturday 7 January 2017

The Gallery is indebted to Dr Mal Eutick and his family for sponsoring the EMSLA, the Eutick Memorial Still Life Award, an acquisitive award. 

Bundanon Trust 2016 Artist in Residence Program. 

 Summer Residency : November - December 2016

The  Artist-in-Residence program is open to professional artists and thinkers from all disciplines, individually or in groups. The residencies support new work, research and collaborations by Australian and international artists, and are hosted in purpose-built studios on the Shoalhaven River properties on the south coast of New South Wales.

 For more information about Bundanon Trust and the AIR programme, please visit:


Verdant Garden

Curated by Claire Watson

Bundoora Homestead Art Centre

Opening 26 November 2-4pm

26 November 2016  - 5 February 2017

Drawing inspiration from the role of the garden on contemporary life, this exhibition celebrates the long, intimate and symbolic relationship between artist and garden. Featuring contemporary artists using a variety of mediums, this exhibition explores ideas of germination and the ways urbanisation has impacted on Australia’s love affair with the garden. Featuring Mark Dober, Sarah Hendy, Penelope Hunt, Gina Kalabishis, Elizabeth Nelson, David O’Brien, Alice Wormald and more! Immerse yourself in the works of these green-fingered artists and enjoy Bundoora Homestead’s heritage garden while you’re here. 

Winner of the Bruny Island Art Prize People's Choice Award.

Just thrilled to be the winner of the People's Choice Award.

Sponsered by Audi with my painting 'Shine a Light' (oil on linen, 125 x 72cm)

A special thankyou to all the wonderful voters!   Dr Caroline Rannersberger and Mat Fagan.


Bundanon Trust 2016 Artist in Residence Program.

Spring Residency:  August - September 2016

The  Artist-in-Residence program is open to professional artists and thinkers from all disciplines, individually or in groups. The residencies support new work, research and collaborations by Australian and international artists, and are hosted in purpose-built studios on the Shoalhaven River properties on the south coast of New South Wales.

 For more information about Bundanon Trust and the AIR programme, please visit:


Finalist: John Leslie Art Prize 2016

Gippsland Art Gallery

Wellington Shire Council


"A Song of Ice and Fire" Inside the John Leslie Art Prize 2016 - Simon Gregg

Extract from Catalogue


 In the two years since the last John Leslie Art Prize there has been a vast amount written and published about Australian art. From Sasha Grishin’s sweeping survey Australian Art: A History to Patrick McCaughey’s Strange Country , an abundance of fresh literature reinforcing the preeminence and continuing validity of Australian painting has appeared. McCaughey’s book was subtitled ‘Why Australian Painting Matters’, but it might as well have been subtitled ‘Why Australian Landscape  Painting Matters’ for, as he and Grishin tend to confirm, landscape remains a fundamental theme of the art of this country. That said it’s not all ‘Golden Summers’ at Eaglemont or ‘Purple Noons’ on the Hawkesbury.

The Australian condition might be best surmised, in the words of George R.R. Martin, as ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’. Arguably Australia’s most prestigious prize for landscape, the Wynne Prize, was first awarded in 1897 to Walter Withers for The Storm , an exhilarating work that captured the bleak ferocity of a climate that cares little for those caught in its wrath. In the John Leslie Art Prize too we come to celebrate those works that dispel the myth of a homogenised climate, promoting instead the reality (and sometimes the fiction) of a land of extremes.

Gippsland is the ideal place to host an exhibition of landscape art. With the exception of barren deserts, it contains all the rich variety of Australia’s geography within its naturally-formed amphitheatre. Indeed, it has more in common with the honey dew sweetness and Pre-Raphaelite mysteries of Tasmania. It is here, in Gippsland, that we draw together 49 of the finest Australian landscape paintings produced in the last two years, and gaze through their cumulative lens at the continued evolution of the genre.

And what better place to begin than Gina Kalabishis’Heartland 131061, where the artist freely pays homage to Australian colonial painting, interrupted by a suspended floral still life.Splicing Eugène von Guérard with Ikebana shouldn’t work but here it curiously does—though neither are entirely orthodox in their depiction. The crisp, sharp detail of the botanical specimen contrasts with the blurred landscape behind. Both are subjects we commonly associate with sunlight—certainly within the Australian artistic tradition (think only of Streeton’s ‘Golden Summers’)—but here they become otherworldly and ethereal.

 The Prize is made possible by the generous ongoing support of Gippsland Art Gallery’s long time Patron, John Leslie O.B.E.

  2016 Judging Panel

 Marielle Soni, Senior Art Consultant, Artbank Melbourne

 Melinda Martin, Director, Linden New Art, Melbourne

 Shannon Smiley, Artist, winner John Leslie Art Prize 2014


 Finalist: Inaugural Bruny Island Art Prize 2016

Bruny Island, Tasmania

24 September to 2 October 2016. 

The Bruny Island Art Prize rewards excellence in Australian painting.

 The 2016 Bruny Island Art Prize will celebrate the theme ‘identity and environment’ and welcomes any painting that relates to this theme, including landscape and portraiture. The prize is open to any artist who is resident in Australia.

In 2016, the winning artist will receive a cash prize of  $10,000 (non-acquisitive) sponsored by Tassal.  

The Bruny Island Art Prize is an initiative of Bruny Island Arts, a not for profit organisation and a sub branch of Tasmanian Regional Arts.


Judges: Jarrod Rawlins,Curator, MONA, Dr. Mary Scott, Senior Lecturer, TCotA

Tim Burns, established artist, Bruny Island

Curator: Dr. Caroline Rannersberger

Sponsored by: Tassal, Audi Centre Hobart, Kingborough Council, Richard Bennett Photography


 FUSE: Group Exhibition

Flinders Lane Galley

9 - 27 August 2016

Arete No.2 & Arete No.3 (see works 2016)

The word ‘arête’ has two possible meanings:

  • A sharp mountain ridge, sometimes formed by glaciers. These arêtes are high points in the geographic landscape, the towering natural monuments of the vertical world, whose grandeur can simultaneously demand our attention and overwhelm us with wonder.
  • In the Greek language, ‘arête’ is synonymous with ‘excellence’.  In philosophical terms, the word further embraces a sense that something is actively striving to be as good as it can be, as it yearns to reach its highest state and express the ideal form.

In Gina Kalabishis’ latest paintings - ‘Arête No.2’ and ‘Arête No.3’  - the artist melds together the two meanings of the word and continues her playful homage to colonial representations of landscape, incorporating intriguing and unexpected inclusions of sensuous human forms, while amping up the visual acuity of her Ikebana-like sculptures of Australian flora. 


Whether you’re inclined to swoon at natural beauty or seek after the ideal form, these two works show the artist striving to share with us her own painterly ‘arête’.


Bruce Copland, Curator

August 2016

Kedumba Drawing Award 2016

I am so pleased to be invited and participate in the Kedumba Drawing Award 2016.

Kedumba ia an acquisitive award by invitation, to Australain artists, men and women from throughout Australia.

 You and Me

You and Me GinaK 2016

22 March - 16 April 2016

Flinders Lane Gallery

Art Almanac Preview:

Lost At E Minor:…/untamed-australian-wildernes…/


" Holding back a branch as one meanders along a scuffed path through the bush, most wouldn’t give it a second thought. The Australian wilderness is rough and unruly - as eucalypts grow their bark shreds and falls, tea tree branches arch over boardwalks and native poa grasses spread, lashing at shins exposed in shorts or skirts or bathing suits. But within this touch, of fingertip caressing leaf and twig and seed pod, Gina Kalabishis feels alight at the beauty and celebration of life that surrounds her. Tamed yet also untameable, her work reflects the fact that our relationship with nature is joyous and testing.

Kalabishis often makes a pilgrimage to a closely-kept-secret camping ground, within a National Park on the south east coast of New South Wales. For her it is a restorative process – sometimes peaceful, other times more challenging, for when exposed to the space and silence one can finally process complicated thoughts. Although usually painting at her home nestled in Melbourne’s suburbs, where weatherboard terrace houses are often seen with silver princess gums standing like soldiers at their mailboxes, Kalabishis aches for this journey to where she can solely be immersed with nature, away from the ticking of pedestrian crossings.

After years of trying to harness these feelings within her practice, when contemplating this latest body of work the artist discovered the term ‘biophilia.’ Belonging, intimacy, touch, euphoria. These siblings to love all arise when an individual recognises a physical and emotional response to nature. German psychologist and sociologist Erich Fromm (1900 – 1980) penned the term in reference to being attracted to all that is alive and vital. Bjork, the ethereal Icelandic songstress released an album in 2011 titled Biophilia, exploring the link between nature, music and technology.

To explore this relationship in all of its intricacies Kalabishis juxtaposed elements of her city home and self with the wild and isolated landscape. Foraging for flowers, leaves and branches she tied, hung, and draped ikebana like arrangements, photographing them suspended in her surrounds – whether that be at home or in the wilds. Taking these photos back in to the studio she found herself inspired by Kandinsky and Rothko. Although this may seem an odd marriage – a realist painter finding a likeness within the work and concepts of pioneering abstract artists – it was their deep relationship with colour that inspired Kalabishis. Kandinsky (1866 – 1944) felt that deep blues – pthalo, ultramarine and lapis – were associated with the supernatural, and were calming and contemplative. Mark Rothko (1903 – 1970) also infused his abstract works with careful emotional colour contemplation. Kalabishis, in appreciation of these insights, has limited her palette in her major works to explore this also. Her luscious and smooth application of paint renders eucalypt leaves, lily pilly berries and bound twigs settled within their landscape in shades of only carefully considered hues. Blues as a nod to Kandinsky, pinks and browns as she explores love and intimacy and attempts to infuse her emotions by expressing them with tender colours that match.

With this new body of work Kalabishis also brings the element of flesh into her paintings. As though clothing the bones that once were made so prominent in her earlier works, the flash of flesh through beautiful foliage provides a lovely harmony to the human emotions and desires she is willing into her paintings. Teamed with titles referencing songs of love penned by Australian musicians by the likes of Paul Kelly, Neko Case, Max Richter and Nick Cave, You & Me, is exactly that. A love song to the Australian landscape, to the most petite leaves and the grandest of arbours, and the relationship that can be had with nature and within the self."


By Melanie Caple, BArts,(FA) MArts 2015



Finalist in the 2015 Eutick Memorial Still Life Award (EMSLA)

Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery


Exhibition period Saturday 7 November to Saturday 16 January 2016

Principle Judge: John McDonald, The Sydney Morning Herald art critic and historian.

The Gallery is indebted to Dr Mal Eutick and his family for sponsoring the EMSLA, the Eutick Memorial Still Life Award, an acquisitive award. 



AS IF: 40 years and beyond - Celebrating the Women's Art Register

In 2015, the Women’s Art Register, a dynamic slide library holding over 20,000 images and representing over 5000 artists, celebrates 40 years of persisting and insisting that women’s art matters. To honour this remarkable achievement, the Women’s Art Register will host a curated mini-festival of women’s artmaking, showcasing a dazzling array of women’s artistic contributions to the cultural landscape.




Arete no 1 2015

Arete no.1

oil on linen

92 x 153cm, 2015

Arete no.1 completed commission for Sydney Cancer Genetics, Sydney





Solo Exhibition

Flinders Lane Gallery

14th April 2015 - 2nd May 2015


The feeling of love in all it's permutations are embedded into a mythological heartland of Australian flora composed as sensual ikebana arrangements and imagined past and future landscapes. 


‘Gloomy and indigestibly stodgy’ is how art critic Robert Hughes famously described the paintings of Eugene von Guérard in his 1966 book The Art of Australia. Since then the nineteenth century émigré artist from Austria has been restored to the pantheon of artistic greats and Hughes himself has expired, and yet something of that ‘gloom’ remains imprinted on von Guérard and his contemporaries. 

In the paintings of Gina Kalabishis, which freely pay homage to the early colonial art of Australia, that so-called ‘gloom’ has been not so much intensified but redefined, into a celebratory reclamation of this heritage. Peering through the veil of shadows we discover moving epitaphs to love, friendship and community. As a kind of romantic social-humanist Kalabishis draws together various fields of art making into poignant and powerfully cohesive images. Combining von Guérard and Ikebana shouldn’t work but here it does—though neither are entirely orthodox in their depiction. Where once her lush botanic specimens occupied a shallow space of pure colour, Kalabishis has introduced details from iconic paintings by the heroes of Australian art—von Guérard, Streeton, Condor and McCubbin—to provide a background. Their icon status, however, has been dampened through a process of blurring and inversion, of both the original picture’s orientation and tone. The results are both disorienting and dreamlike—Kalabishis presents us with a curious hybrid of the visible and the invisible, as if our heroes have travelled through a glass darkly. The genres, also, are muddled, to effectively level the playing field against a spectral light that has no pre