Do You See What I See?

Do you see what I see?

When you look at an artwork, do you share the artist’s perspective? Or more likely, do you have your own unique interpretation?

We all see things slightly differently. While we look with our eyes, we actually see with our brains. This article explains some of the rules our brain uses to create reality, based on the input it receives from our senses.

In effect, each of us has our own set of filters, both physical and psychological. These shape our vision – including what we ‘see’ in an artwork, as well as our emotional response to it.

What do you see?

This exhibition presents a variety of objects and images that the Creativity Cluster artists have interpreted in one way, but that you, as a viewer, might interpret quite differently. For example, you can read Mardie Whitla’s blog about her interpretation of her ceramic sculpture, Poseur.

We invite you to look at the artworks below by seven of the Creativity Cluster artists. What do you ‘see’ in some of these artworks? What ideas or feelings do they evoke? Only then take a look at the title or description of the work to see what the artists themselves were trying to convey.

To enquire about the availability, cost or shipping options for a work by one of the artists, send a message via the Creativity Cluster contact page.

Creativity Cluster artists at Landscapes Real and Imagined, their previous exhibition at the Joel Gallery, Altona, in 2020
Louis Joel Arts and Community Centre, Altona
The Joel Gallery is located on the left as you enter the building.
Inside the Joel Gallery

Mardie Whitla
Posh (shiny black bowl), clay using variety of black and coloured glazes, 5x23cm in diameter
Harmony (two similar platters), clay with five different glazes, 2x16x30cm
Poseur (fisherman in his boat on the bay, with a little Beaumaris sand – or read the blog to see what the artist sees), clay, 8x22cm diameter
The Ritual (set of 3 pots), clay, all together 15x23x19cm
Dreaming (designed to be a flower pot or a lamp), clay, 51x29cm in diameter
Rapunzel (with base and removable ladder / umbrella), clay, 30x9cm in diameter

I start with a ball of clay. When I’m working with my clay, I feel relaxed and creative. I don’t use a wheel, and I don’t produce mugs. Sometimes I start with a particular subject in mind, at other times I gradually interpret whatever is running around inside my head. It unfolds. It symbolizes something! As construction continues, I adapt and visualise an emerging pot. All very well for its first firing, but after glazing it is often likely that I might deduce something completely different. Do you see what I see?

Pat Duncan
Falling Down the Rabbit Hole, oil on canvas, 35x35cm
Tranquility (beach hut, North Scotland), oil on canvas, 35x35cm
Mountain Track, oil on canvas, 40x30cm

Smoo Cave (fresh water falling into the sea cave, Durness), oil on MDF board, 45x32cm
Orange Abstract (there are many ways through life), oil on canvas, 40x40cm
Storm Over (Farr Bay, Scotland), oil on canvas, 30x40cm

In this exhibition, the paintings have come from two places in my mind. There are those paintings that are a response to what is around me, and there are those that come from emotion. Two of the paintings have been spawned by a darker emotion. The experience of isolation during the current pandemic has taken my mind to a different place and has brought a darkness to these paintings. However, I get a positive emotional response to landscapes and places I have visited. These paintings generally make me feel happy and calm.

Penny Sharples
Walking the Sacred Path, oil and cold wax on paper, 33x26cm 
Spring – Persephone Emerges, oil and cold wax on paper, 33x26cm
Winter – Mystique, oil and cold wax on paper, 33x26cm  
Summer – Mystic Mountain, oil and cold wax on paper, 33x26cm
Eleusis Dream, oil and cold wax on paper, 33x26cm
Autumn – Season of the Soul, oil and cold wax on paper, 33x26cm

These paintings are inspired by my many travels to Greece that have been as much an inner journey of soul work as walking the land. I returned each time to explore the sacred sites, their myths, culture and landscapes. My last trip followed the sacred sites marking the different stages of the life cycle from birth to death evoking a range of emotions, dreams and a visceral response to the land.

Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.
Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.
Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.
Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.
― Yoko Ono

Deidre Ogilvie
Bolton Abbey (ghosts of the past still linger), oil on canvas, 41x31cm
Roots (nature always brings visions of life), oil on canvas, 90x90cm
Secret Forest (can you see your dreams?), oil on canvas, 51x41cm
Mexican Sun God (life seen and blessed by the Sun God), oil on canvas, 61x51cm
Midnight (can you see the fairies?), acrylic on paper, 45x33cm
Twins (conversation without words), acrylic and ink on canvas, 48x48cm

These paintings were created with a sense of wonder at the way the world is viewed differently by people of all ages and cultures. We may see images in nature that look like animate objects, while the night may bring forth visions of A Midsommer Nights Dreame. For some, a monastery ruin can be full of ghosts from the past; for others, a mythical deity can oversee and control their lives. Dreams can bring disturbing images to life, while a child, through their imagination, can view life in a whole different way from adults.

Jacobean Re-imagined No. 1 (500 years of embroidery history), mixed media, 74x74cm
Jacobean Re-imagined No. 1 (close up)

Jacobean Re-imagined No. 2 (500 years of embroidery history), mixed media, 59x62cm
Jacobean Re-imagined No. 2 (close up)
Jacobean Re-imagined No. 3 (500 years of embroidery history), mixed media, 59x62cm
Jacobean Re-imagined No. 3 (close up)

This series of works is based on crewel embroidery motifs, a technique that had its heyday in the Jacobean period, 500 years ago. I have been doing crewel, based on traditional Jacobean designs, for over 20 years. But in the last 5 years I’ve been exploring contemporary textile art techniques, finding new ways to combine fabric and thread. With this series, I’ve come full circle – back to crewel motifs but interpreted in a contemporary way. The paper collage background of No. 2 and No. 3 evokes crewel embroidery’s Jacobean heritage with references to Shakespeare, maps of old London and old stone walls.

Luna Cameron-Parrish
Feed Your Head (a trip down the rabbit hole?), mixed media, 51x51x38 cm
Feed Your Head (close up)
Connected Apart (the threads that bind), mixed media mosaic, 33cm in diameter
Orbital (cycles in the micro- and the macrocosm), glazed and unglazed ceramic, 43x43x34cm
Que? (abstract dancing, or is it flipping the bird?), unglazed ceramic, 34x32x12cm

Most of my work has several layers of meaning associated with it – some of these are obvious, some hidden. This is particularly true of my abstract pieces, which are often inspired by a broad concept that allows me to explore the subject and wander down tangential pathways. Often, I am not certain of where I or the work will end up, since I enjoy allowing a piece to evolve and find its own story alongside mine. This can lead to multiple interpretations of meaning within the one work.

Nancy D Lane
Industrial Abstract 1 (machinery in action), found object assemblage, 42x50x14cm
Family Excursion 1 (walk through a riverside industrial landscape), found object assemblage, 30x30cm
Mother and Child (babe in arms), found object assemblage, 30x15x7cm
Not on the Level (cityscape from the harbour to the hills), found object assemblage, 84x45cm
Spanner in the Works (abstracted from a workbench), found object assemblage, 36x52x2cm
Forest for the Trees 3 (moon rising along a river bank), found object assemblage, 7x22x7cm

As a found object assemblage sculptor, I create my art entirely from the trash I gather from streets and beaches. Sometimes I have a particular idea in mind when I start ‘playing around’ with my junk; at other times, I’m inspired by an unusual item that I’ve collected. However, regardless of whether I imagine an artwork and then find the materials to create it, or alternatively, whether the artwork ‘creates itself’ and I’m just the intermediary, I know that viewers will always interpret the artworks in their own way.