December 6 - 12, 2020: Issue 477
PO Box 87 Lovett Bay
Church Point NSW 2105
Telephone: 02 9999 4201
Lovett Bay resident and Pittwater Artist Antonia Hoddle has been a part of the art scene in Sydney for decades, and although she is known as the muse and wife of major Australian Sculptor Mike Kitching, now passed, Antonia has been an Artist in her own right since young. In fact, it was through Art that she met her husband of decades. Currently Antonia is involved in two exhibitions, both of which opened this week. The first on Thursday December 3rd at the Maunsell Wickes Gallery, 19 Glenmore Road Paddington, where her works are on display in conjunction with long-term friend Poet Luke Withington
Antonia and poet Luke Withington at Maunsell Wickes Gallery with her works alongside his - photo by Corinne Tomkinson
The other which opened on Saturday December 5th at the 'Art On Fire' Exhibition being hosted by the Braidwood Regional Arts Group (BRAG) at 45 Wallace Street Braidwood with former NSW RFS Commissioner and NSW Australian of the Year Shane Fitzsimmons performing the honours.
ART ON FIRE
Telling our stories of the 2019 - 2020 bushfires
Exhibition open 10am - 3pm
Saturdays to Mondays; 5th - 20th December
When Pittwater Online News spoke to Antonia over that hot weekend of November 28th and 29th about what was coming up for her in being involved in these end-of-year Exhibitions she said; ''As we approach Summer this weekend has been an awful reminder of climate change and what we can expect as extremes are becoming more prevalent. I have collaborated with the poet Luke Whitington who has a property “Currajugg“ on the Kings Highway, 12 mins out of town heading to the coast and last summer the property was nearly lost to the fires.''
''Braidwood almost suffered the same fate as Cobargo where we have friends in both villages and spent many Summer holidays. On November 28th, 2019 the fires reached the containment lines and Braidwood became an evacuation centre. From July 2019 to February 2020 as these catastrophic fires burned for months, they ignited memories and reopened old wounds as a survivor of 1994 fire storm that tore through Lovett Bay Pittwater. We lost 11 homes in our bay, with boatsheds and jetties burning too, and boats on their moorings exploding as they had fuel on board. My house was saved by RFS and volunteers, the singed and scorched garden recovered and thankfully no lives lost. We camped on site for months after losing all power lines and the army assisted by installing generators which we had to share with neighbours.
Watching the Nov. 2019 TV news and RFS footage as the fires burnt Mount Budawang at midnight, Luke Whitington’s property Currajugg was on fire and the fires were approaching from the east south and west —— he was almost surrounded by flame. Six fire trucks and crews worked tirelessly to save the farm house other buildings and sheds. All cattle were moved and saved but fences were burnt and no pasture left as the country was in severe drought.
Hardship has made Australians resilient and compassionate and as a nation we show great empathy towards other people and my heart goes out to families and all people who lost loved ones homes and lively hoods and now with climate change having a firm grip on the planet we humans must change the way we live and consume. Through history our stories, poems, songs and images convey the plight of the human condition and now it is the destruction of the planet which is at the forefront of our thoughts and actions.''
On her current Art Practice:
''My inspiration is entwined with my love of Life and Art. Above all my paintings are an expression of my own personality and the unique place in which I live. I equate Mother Earth to my own body also giving birth to life. The landscape – Earth, Fire, Air and Water are integral to our existence and without care and management we humans will destroy our very being.
For most of my life I have been drawing and painting the landscape and have named my series MONS VENERIS – Latin for the Hill of Venus.
Original sketches are always done on site – “in the field” – I also use my own photographic documentation for reference and mood and the journey on paper begins, not always going to where I expect, but is also part of the discovery. My works are a mix of numerous ideas and I am presently collaborating with the poet Luke Whitington for an exhibition of images and poems. To quote from one of Luke’s poems:
“And the heart also, seeking
Always seeking its real home
And wanting things to last
Forever, despite the echoes
Of emptiness everywhere”
Artists are continually seeking renewal and to give the viewer another perspective on life and all that it has to offer. My art is a language without words and those images tell a story and one that I trust you will find engaging. As an Artist I observe and document and hope by leaving a visual image of nature it will help humans connect and respect the natural forces of life. It is the Artist’s imagination alone that has enriched the image; in return the observer can do the same. Creation is still a mystery not a craft – but a miracle. As one of my favourite poets, Emily Dickinson said:
"Love is anterior to Life
Posterior to Death
Initial of creation, and
The exponent of breath"
A November 2020 talk with Manning Clark House host Fleur Millar and Mark O'Connor discloses that Luke is a business man, grazier and poet with a keen interest in Art. After attending the Australian National University ACT and working for two years in the Dept. of Foreign Affairs Luke and his best friend set sail on a cargo boat for Europe. He has led a remarkable life spending nearly 20 years in Italy, including two years spent at University of Perugia learning Italian. He went into business with an Italian partner and restored 110 ancient farm houses and monasteries mainly in Umbria and some in Tuscany and he started writing more poetry which led him to Dublin where he restored the 14th Century Norman Castle Portlick situated on the shores of Lough Ree Glasson in County Westmeath. A keen interest in Art led him to start an Arts Precinct, The Pleasants Factory, in Dublin. After 10 years he returned to Australia in 2003.
Luke has an extensive art collection in Sydney, Canberra and Braidwood. He still owns property in Tuscany Italy. Since 2004 he has been working to improve the family cattle property Currajugg in the Southern Tablelands breeding Angus Aberdeen cattle. In the last two decades he has concentrated his talents in the Arts writing, reading and publishing his poetry in several locations and journals including Manning Clark House Institute ACT, Quadrant Overland, The Canberra Times, Contrappaso Magazine and several Irish, Italian and Australian Poetry Anthologies. His most recent work is “Only Fig & Proscuitto - New and Collected Poems“ published by Ginninderra Press with appraisals by Mark O’Connor and Dr Paolo Totaro AM
Manning Clark House is a not-for-profit venue and organisation that hosts public cultural events in the former home of Manning and Dymphna Clark at 11 Tasmania Circle, Forrest, Canberra. Manning and Dymphna Clark both believed passionately that Australians should come up with distinctive solutions for Australian issues and cultural challenges both locally and globally. Through events like the annual Weekend of Ideas, the Manning and Dymphna Clark lectures, regular talks and discussion groups, Manning Clark House fosters an environment where members are stimulated to express ideas and discuss major issues. It also acts as a cultural incubator in music, song, poetry, literature, and, of course, history.
Antonia first met Luke when both were only young, and explained this week;
I have known Luke all my life meeting as children our parents were friends Luke lived over the road from our house and really was very much a part of our home life. Back in the 1960’s we were young and impressionable kids. We are now comfortable with one another as adults and are on the same page as our characters are rather alike - we have similar aspirations, upbringings and schooling.
Growing up together, then going out as teenagers, we have come the full circle. He is my best friend and has looked after me during these last very difficult 7+ years of Mike’s illness. Luke also admired and adored Mike and as a teenager would go over to Mike’s Studio at Randwick and talk for hours. Luke is three months older than me but Mike was nearly a decade older than us both, his talent and intellect was overwhelming and Mike became a household name in Sydney.
So, if you're going into Paddington this December, or venturing towards the cool pure air of Braidwood, you may want to pop in and have a look at these exhibitions our Lovett Bay lass is a part of.
A little about her from this year's struggles, which have impacted on Artists especially, as well as this year's triumphs and where it all began:
Where and when were you born?
I was born in Elizabeth Bay, Sydney.
Where did you grow up and what was this like?
I grew up in Bellevue Hill, Sydney, the eldest of five girls. We had a wonderful home that inspired me. It had a magic sunken garden with poems by William Wordsworth inscribed into the stone steps. This fuelled my imagination.
Both my father Neville Hoddle and my grandfather were doctors and I admired them dearly, accompanying them on their weekly rounds visiting patients. My mother Marcelle was very interested in the Arts and later worked as a gallery assistant. My family were very involved with their community and they all shared this passion. It was a very social household and a magical childhood.
My Grandfather Hugh Poate lived with us as my Grandmother Aida had died early in life. Aida was Italian, born in Cairo, Egypt. This is where my Grandfather met and married her when she was 18 years old. He was a doctor and a soldier who had helped set up the Hospital in Alexandria for the wounded men from the Gallipoli War Zone.
He had a passion for horticulture. I spent hours helping him nurture his plants in the heated glasshouse. There were also two green houses for growing orchids.
My mother Marcelle was very beautiful, she was exotic and European. She travelled frequently to visit her family in Egypt and Italy. To this day we have relatives in Italy, France and Britain.
My father’s Family is 5th generation graziers and pioneers. I am a descendant of the British Military Trained Surveyor Robert Hoddle, a renowned artist of flora, fauna and topography. Robert Hoddle was also town planner of Melbourne, he surveyed Gibralta, South Africa, Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
The two cultures that I embrace are naturally Italian and Australian and arriving in Genoa, Italy 1968. I saw myself everywhere and I feel more Italian than Australian because of my olive skin, dark looks and dark hair. I am planning to return to Italy in the near future to live for a year, to paint and draw, immerse myself in language and culture and experience four seasons, rekindle friendships with family and friends. We lived four seasons in England and I would like to experience the same in Italy. I have divided my life into the four seasons and I intend having a long and productive Autumn.
Where were you educated and how did you begin your career as an Artist?
I was schooled at Kambala, Rose Bay, HSC 1964 Achieved Diploma - The Mary White & John Olsen School of Art & Design, Edgecliff, Sydney 1965 -1966. At school I majored in Art and my school Kambala had already made a name for itself in 1898 – 1935 by employing Antonio Dattillo Rubbo who was the first European Art Master in a Sydney Girls School. Kambala has continued to provide a strong arts and academic curriculum to this day.
When I was 16 years my father put me into the Paddington Women's Hospital for work experience and I backed out of theatre in seconds telling him firmly that I planned to enrol in Art School! Three of my sisters trained in various hospitals and have medical careers. The youngest sister became an actor.
At 17 I was enrolled in Art School. I studied Art History, painting, architectural drawing, ceramics and pottery, and I classically trained in painting and life drawing by the UK artist Andrew Sibley. I also studied woodwork, graphic and fabric design and majored in textiles. John Olsen was a most flamboyant and entertaining teacher, wearing a large Spanish sombrero, arms flying everywhere and exuberant colourful dialogue to match his huge smile. I thrived in Art school, it was a wonderfully creative time.
What was the first thing you created and how old were you?
As a child I was always making “things" as gifts and I sort solace in the garden, loved flowers and nature around me. As a teenager holidaying in the country I grew to love the Australian bush and become aware of the awesome beauty of the landscape.
When I was about 7 years old I had made a mosaic and a crayon drawing of an Angel with wings. I used Pastelli Giotto a cera fila, Firenze and today these are still very good crayons which my mother bought in Florence, Italy 1962. My Mother had the artwork framed. The Angel is very orange and tangerine in colour with one black tooth.
My career as an artist was fuelled at the age of 7 years when our mother Marcelle commissioned the British Artist James Govett to paint my portrait. Sitting for James was sheer magic as I watched him sketch. In fact I was mesmerized seeing him mix his colours and eventually the image of my face and shoulders emerged on canvas just like a little girl from a Caravaggio painting - a totally Italian child in a pink dress with a white collar and my serious face with large round large dark eyes and an olive complexion. The aroma of oil paints and new canvas and the discipline of making an artwork is totally absorbing. I knew as a child that I wanted to be an artist.
My first oil painting was of my cat "Ursula" when I was 17.
A&V Kaldor and being trained by John Kaldor – what was this like and what did you learn?
Upon leaving Art School the priority was to obtain work and start earning a living so I began my work in the textile industry in 1967 working for John Kaldor and his parents, A & V Kaldor and Sekers Silk, Castlereagh St. This was a wonderful experience for me, both in training for styling, colouring and designing fabrics and working with fashion designers. A few months later John formed his own company and I moved with him to Surrey Hills. John is an exceptional man with an extraordinary vision and his taste is very sophisticated and elegant.
I had the privilege to work with UK designer Zandra Rhodes. John bought her to Australia and promoted her work and I was a colourist / stylist working with 12 screens per design and making five colourways for each design which was challenging and exciting.
Claude Alcorso was director of the printing mills in Tasmania and all designs were printed and tested, swatches flown back to Sydney for final approval and we worked with top designers from Melbourne and Sydney. I learnt to listen to designers, what they were influenced by and to facilitate their needs and at the same time follow my instincts and assist with decision making and identify developing trends. John led a team of five of us in the Studio and when the pressure was on to "get out the ranges " it was busy, long hours but exciting and we loved providing a fabulous service to our clients. We would follow trends in Britain and Europe and improvise in Australia to suite our market and climate.
1968-1970: 2 years studying, working and travelling in England, Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa – how did this happen and what did you learn?
One of my favourite fabric designs is photographed by Athol Shmith, modeled by myself in front of Mike Kitching's award winning sculpture "Nevada" which won the 1967 Alcorso / Sekers Travelling Scholarship. This design was fabricated by Adele & Peter Weiss and is one of John Kaldors best prints and designs, the colour and styling exemplifies the 60's fashion which was sheer, bold, brazen and considered outrageous. The outfit was photographed decades later by a local paper, Saturday, 21 July 2007 in a vintage store here at North Narrabeen, after 50 years "the one off piece" tells a story of the 60's mod girl.
1968 - 1970 was two years of studying, working, and travelling. Our study was the immersion of European Art History particularly that of Renaissance Italy and we lived in Italy, Greece and France for 12 months and England for 11 months. Our time in Florence was spent visiting all major Art Galleries and Museums. We also spent time in Milano visiting the modern Australian sculptor Norma Redpath and Italy's famed Marino Marini, so our education involved both old and new art practices and learning about Art / design which are a living process; inspiration evolves and develops over time and through constant searching and practice we ourselves transform in response to the ever changing world around us - to make sense of our very being. These two years in Europe, North Africa, Italy, Greece and England were crucial to our sense of self and our perception of the world.
GREAT excitement in the Hoddle household at Vaucluse when the news came that the eldest of five daughters, Antonia, and her husband, clever young artist Mike Kitching, will arrive back on Christmas Eve, after two years abroad, to spend Christmas Day with the family. Mike took up a scholarship two years ago and stayed on working in England and Europe for a further 12 months. There's sure to be a big welcome for Antonia from Saminka, her Siamese cat, who has been looked after by her mother, Mrs. Neville Hoddle, and her sisters, Marcelle, Sylvana, Georgina, and Marina. SOCIAL ROUNDABOUT. (1969, December 31). The Australian Women's Weekly (1933 - 1982), p. 12. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article44027576
Painting – what are your inspirations and subjects and what are you trying to communicate?
I have admired and been influenced by painters like Tom Roberts, Arthur Boyd and Paul Klee whose insight and work captures the essence of the landscape and the human condition, they painted ordinary day to day life with extraordinary insight and layers of meaning. Painting in oil or gouache and drawing in graphite, Indian Ink and charcoal are my disciplines and inspirations are drawn from the natural landscape around me, be it my friends, animals, children or cooking.
As a child holidays were spent in the countryside as my grandfather had a farm at Burradoo in the Southern Highlands or we would drive further south to Batlow to my cousins and sometimes drove north west NSW to cousins at Coolah. Summer holidays were spent at Newport or Palm Beach.
I have a body of work including oil paintings and drawings that I would like to exhibit. The Southern Highlands inspired me along with the writing of Luke Whitington who invited me to select a group of poems he was inspired to write about the Australian Landscape to elucidate, in particular the Southern Highlands. This vast area of countryside is so utterly beautiful and being closer to the coast the climate is kinder than the very harsh inland to the west. My ancestor Robert Hoddle, pioneer surveyor, mapped the district and when I am in the area I feel his presence and imagine him on horse back with his aboriginal guides assisting him for months and years on end documenting and exploring.
My Art is a language without words and my images tell a story. My inspiration is entwined with my love of Life and Art. Above all my paintings are an expression of my own personality and the unique place in which I live. I equate Mother Earth to my own body also giving Birth to Life. The Landscape - Earth, Fire Air and Water are integral to our existence and without care and management we humans will destroy our very being.
What is the best aspect of choosing to work in medium of painting and what are the challenges?
The best aspect of working in the medium of painting is to tell a story, to communicate the narrative of life around me and the life on earth, so the challenge is always to make it interesting and engage the viewer. As an Artist I observe and document and hope by leaving a visual image of nature it will help humans connect and respect the natural forces of life.
What is the best part of living in Lovett Bay?
The best part of living in Lovett Bay is the setting of our home, our "Villetta" in the natural beauty of Pittwater with stunning views.
Viletta’s studio and garden we built ourselves with the help of master builder James Digby Kitching, Mike's father.
Gardening is intrinsic to my soul and I grow most citrus trees, mananzello and frantoio olive trees, geraniums, grapes and all species of herbs. I have been working on a cook book for a number of years with drawings and paintings to accompany my own recipes - "A Life of Spice ".
You have continued your family tradition of community involvement here too – what form does this take?
I convene the COOPERS POINT BUSHCARE GROUP, a voluntary group of bush care workers who has done over 100, 000 hours of work , clearing the bush of weeds and planting of tube stock. I formed this group many years ago when I obtained a grant from Canberra which also financed the formation of two other Bushcare Groups on the Western Foreshores of Pittwater. Mike and I were honoured to be asked by David Williams CEO of Greening Australia to attend the breakfast launch of FLORABANK, Tuesday 28 August 2007 by the Hon. Malcolm Turnbull at Australia's National Seed Bank at Nielson Park Kiosk, Vaucluse.
Our environment is intertwined with our creative life and our sense of place, where we have lived for 45 years, so we are active in the protection of Planet Earth.
We have always been passionate about the natural environment and were instrumental in the conservation of the forest behind our home. The PITTWATER SPOTTED GUM, CORYMBIA MACULATA which is an endangered ecological species is becoming very rare along the coast and over the years we have planted hundreds of tube stock to restore the natural ecological balance. The implications for local provenance seed selection and landscape restoration ensures the native flora and fauna will continue to flourish.
We work together with Council & NPWS who now employ contract companies to assist with the weeding and maintenance of this very special environment together with financial assistance from a Natural Heritage Trust Grant.
Antonia painting on Currajugg, October 2020
Diploma In Art & Design at The Mary White & John Olsen School of Art & Design, Edgecliff, Sydney. Studied Art History , Painting, Architectural Drawing, Pottery & Ceramics. Classically trained in painting and life drawing by UK Artist Andrew Sibley. Woodwork, Graphic & Fabric Design and majored in textiles. HSC Kambala Church of England Girls School, Rose Bay, Sydney
TWO FIRES FESTIVAL ARTS and ACTIVISM
April 6th Exhibition Food Health and Healing of Land
2019 PHOTOGRAPHIC EXHIBITION About Braidwood - July
Exhibition Braidwood Arts Group ART ON FARMS
Anthology and collaborated with Poet Luke Whitington
2018 Travelled to ITALY Nov - Dec.
Avalon Art Exhibition, 17th November. - Mixed Palette
Travelled to Italy and France, May and June.
Exhibited in Mixed Palette, Avalon, November.
PCA Art Show , 20 November Pittwater Community Arts Exhibition & Sale at Avalon --- 10 Year Celebration.
AWARDED Pittwater Artist of the Month - article to be published January 2016.
Photos of exhibition currently online at Pittwater Online News: Pittwater Online News, Artist Profile - Antonia Hoddle
Selected for group exhibition at Chelsea Lane Art Depot Gallery, Avalon Sydney
Finalist for RMYC Newport Marine Art Exhibition
Presently collaborating with Poet Luke Whitington for an exhibition of images and poems - poetic words which are Art to inspire and enrich our perception of life.
Finalist for RMYC Newport Marine Art Exhibition
Selected for “Keeping Company 2011”, Manly Art Gallery and Museum Biennial Exhibition 11 February – 13 March
Finalist for Gunnedah Art Show, April 2011
September: participated in the Manly Arts Festival - Open Studios at Lovett Bay
Finalist for RMYC Marine Art Exhibition, Newport, Sydney
Finalist for RAS, Homebush Sydney
Finalist for RMYC Marine Art Exhibition Newport, Sydney
Finalist for Scone Art Prize
Finalist RAS, Homebush, Sydney Exhibition
Finalist for the Norvill Environmental Exhibition at Murrurundi, Salon De Refuseé
Landscape design for internal courtyard for RANZCOG College House, East Melbourne, Victoria
Finalist at the Sydney RAS Exhibition
Selected and Finalist for Warringah Art Show, Scone Art Show, Ebb & Flow and Newport Art Works
Gallery Assistant, Painters Gallery, Mona Vale
Finalist for “Island H’Arts” Exhibition, Pittwater
RMYC Broken Bay Art Exhibition
Scone Art Prize
Represented at the Painters Gallery, Mona Vale
Gallery 460, Kincumber, NSW
Private Collections Germany, Italy and Sydney
Travelled to France, England and Italy for 3 months
Worked and studied at Château de La Rochefoucauld Charente, France
“Art from the Edge”, Pittwater
Finalist for Mosman Art Prize
Warringah Art Exhibition
Waverly / Woollahra Art Exhibition
Selected and entered for exhibitions, competitions and private shows
Scone Art Prize, Murra Mists, Tumut Art Prize, Botanic Gardens exhibition – “Dugongs of Hinchinbrook”.
The Seasons Gallery, North Sydney
Galley Six, Mona Vale, Pittwater
Singleton Art Exhibition
Currabubula Exhibition, NSW
Freelanced for P.T. Rowe Fabrics.
Interior Decorator for Village Living, Avalon
Returned to Australia and settled at Lovett Bay, Pittwater
Designer Stylist and colourist for John Kaldor Fabric-maker
Sailed to Genoa, Italy on ocean liner “Achille Lauro” and spent 2 years studying, working and travelling in England, Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa.
Designer for Hicks & Zarach – London
Consultant for “The Thinking Eye”, London
Pye of Cambridge, UK
Textile Designer for Hexham Textiles
Textile Designer for Sekers Silk, Sydney
A&V Kaldor. Trained by John Kaldor
Baywatch Online News
Pittwater Online News