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Nel ten Wolde

Nel ten Wolde



Originating from the Netherlands, Nel ten Wolde migrated to Australia in 1986. Since this move, Nel has enjoyed the possibilities of travelling internationally, particularly throughout Europe, seeking inspiration from different countries and cultures. She has been invited multiple times to take part as artist in residence, working alongside and collaborating with other artists. Whilst in Melbourne, her work is focused on abstract landscape oil paintings in varied sizes.
When working as Artist in residence she mainly works on collages with photos taken by her on the long walks, mostly over old pilgrim routes, through different countries. She likes to restrict herself with the materials, to force herself to get on to other ideas to create the collages.
Most recently she started to make collages on iPad, photos taken of different materials over each other, floating in water, with already existing photos. Then she adds drawing and painting on iPad.
The greatest source of inspiration for her work has always been nature, evoking emotions of freedom, beauty & wonder. Her extensive travels throughout Australia have had a significant influence on her life and work, in turn reflected in her Art. The country’s vast differences in landscapes, open space, colours and outstretched desert plains, supply her with endless inspiration. The country she now calls home.
The last exhibition featured a series of paintings, collages and iPad photos of abandoned clothes. A project that she has now been working on for over 4 years.

For the last 11 years I have been walking on different Pilgrim’s routes in Spain and Italy and covered about 4.500 km. Walking through landscapes and villages, listening to the progress of my own steps taken over stones or mud, through riverbeds or over a beach. It is a very meditative experience.
While walking one gets to see a lot of detail and I had time to take it all in.
I have taken a lot of photos that I can use as reference and others that I use to transform on my iPad.

While walking, one often comes across abandoned clothes, lost or discarded by their owners. These material items signal an absence from their former purpose, assuming their own life and existence in the environment where they are left behind. The reasons for their abandonment are vast, but meaningful. They can signify an array of meanings, from loss, absence, relationships, the past and presence. The act of discarding clothes sends a message and their existence affects both the spaces and people that inhabit them.

Abandonment can only be understood when exploring the material existence of a garment and its relationship with the people, objects or places it interacts with. There is a history, a present and a future, one that mysteriously eludes us as we walk by them. On the many travels I have undertaken during the past years, I’ve become fascinated with the mysterious existence of abandoned clothes I come across on my journey. My curiosity for their former life, the reason for their abandonment and the way in which they become immersed in the spaces they come to inherit.
The series ‘Ropas Abandonadas’ is my expression of the discarded and lost clothes that cross my path on the pilgrimage trails I have covered throughout Europe, especially Spain. There is a connection between the long and often desolate miles I cover on foot, with the deserted clothing strewn across fences, in riverbeds, along the path or roadside I am traveling.
My work is composed using multiple layers of materials and methods. The process begins with taking photographs of the ‘Ropas Abandonadas,’ along my travels. I put several of these photos together with landscape photos. In this way I recreate on paper, the original context of the abandoned clothes, bringing together the material in relation to the natural environment. My aim is to create a continuation from the original context in which I found them and translating that through each stage of the creative process. I adapt the juxtaposed photographs using the program Procreate, to create additional depth to the images and finish by detailing them through painting and drawing. This gives them the appearance of being submerged, in the same way they are submerged by different layers of the elements in their original environment. Layering these creative stages evokes the mystery and message behind the past and present life of the abandoned clothing.


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