Maeve Vella 2013

(Above) Me outside Gloucester Gallery and (below) inside it. REMIX was an exhibition of old favourites plus a little fresh work that ran from May 23 to June 16, 2013. Thanks to Christine Johnson for the photos.

Maeve Vella 2013

Fingerpainting

My interest in digital art began in 1999 when Mick Gorog introduced me to Metacreations' remarkable program Painter 5.5. (Thanks Mick) Interest blossomed into passion, passion met the internet and acquired knowledge. And software. Back then there was a wag at every party who'd roar "Digital art? You mean finger-painting? Ha ha." Doesn't happen anymore, everyone's digital these days.


Background

I gained a BA in Art History from Melbourne University in 1971 and a Dip.Ed. from Melbourne Teachers' College the following year. After a brief spell in secondary teaching, I fled to the theatre and found a career as a puppeteer, performing and touring the nation with various companies.

A founding member of Handspan Theatre, I started the puppeteer's magazine "Manipulation" in 1981 and with Helen Rickards wrote "Theatre of the Impossible - Puppet Theatre in Australia" ISBN: 0947131213, published in 1989 by Craftsman House, Sydney.

Later I moved from the city to the bush and began making my own art history.

I'd inherited a great quantity of cloth and sewing equipment from my mother and grandmother, so for a few years I worked in fabric and thread, then switched to paint and pencils, canvas and paper, pastels, charcoal, etc. I picked up some skills, mixed with some inspiring artists and exhibited a little. Then as the 21st Century dawned I started messing around with digital art.

I have exhibited in solo and group shows since 1996, and since 2001 have shown regularly at Gloucester Gallery in Gloucester, NSW.


My first collected work: "Baby Pulling a Sausage", graphite on paper. Preserved for decades in my maternal grandfather's spectacle case. Sadly the sausage, which the Baby had on a leash, has vanished. Perhaps Baby ate it. Paul Egan kindly took the photo one night in 2013.


Foreground

For some years now I have been bewitched by fractals. My main software is the open source application Apophysis, which produces Iterated Function System fractals. They can be worked into images that recall the real world without replicating it.

At my 2011 exhibition someone wrote in the visitor's book: "I could get lost in them." I do, and sometimes my dinner burns. I often fancy I can hear William Blake's opening lines from "Auguries of Innocence":

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an Hour.

He could have been describing the allure of fractals.


Apophysis in use

A screenshot of Apophysis in use, working on "Splash".