At artist Rona Green’s latest exhibition, an eccentric and colourful array of characters look down at visitors from the gallery walls.
The animal-human hybrids, tattooed and proud, have been part of Rona’s printmaking practice for a decade.
She says the characters stem from childhood obsessions with animals and Egyptian art.
“Like a lot of people, I’ve always had pets throughout my life. My grandparents had chickens, duck and birds – we had guinea pigs and a cat who lived to 18,” Rona says. “I guess I really loved animal company growing up, and that has inspired the type of art I create.”
“Also when I was younger, I developed a real interest in Egyptian art and how they presented their gods and goddesses in an anthropomorphic way,” she says.
Rona completed a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) at La Trobe’s Bendigo Campus in 1995. Since then she has received many accolades, and her work is featured in more than 60 Australian and international public collections, included the National Gallery of Australia.
Rona credits La Trobe with helping her lay the foundation for her career.
“The La Trobe course was quite unique at the time because it let you work across painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking and photography before you chose your major in the third year. By the time I got to third year I had fallen in love with printmaking, so I ended up majoring in that,” she says.
“Our lecturers were fantastic and I saw them as mentors because they treated us like budding artists – they took what we were doing quite seriously.”
Fittingly, Rona’s latest exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery is running alongside La Trobe University’s exhibition Revealing Identity – the Collections of La Trobe University. The exhibition takes a sweeping look through the vast University Collections in celebration of its 50th anniversary.
Rona says she is proud to be showing her work alongside La Trobe.
“It’s great how the gallery was able to tie the two shows together. La Trobe also has an excellent collection of student work which shows they take a key interest in artists at the beginning of their careers as well as later on.”
Champagne taste and lemonade pockets is showing at the Bendigo Art Gallery until 3 September 2017.