Vanessa Lewis: Tempera: The Nature of Paint

20 Oct 2021 from 12:00am - 19 Dec 2021 until 12:00am

Vanessa Lewis

In the fine art disciplinary usage, ‘Tempera’ generally implies a Pre-Renaissance paint medium made with eggs. While true for some tempera artworks, Lewis' PhD research has found that throughout art history other art methods, now known as watercolour, distemper, gouache, and acrylic were once also called tempera.

For her graduating exhibition, Lewis has turned her art studio into a laboratory to explore an intriguing collection of historic tempera recipes and has identified one hundred ingredients used by artists before the commercialisation of paint. She has made drawings of each of these ingredients using a paint made from the ingredient it depicts and accompanying the painted works is an apothecary of glass jars containing samples of all the materials. Embedded in her research, Lewis also found the foundations to build a more ecologically sustainable art practice, with implications for a new consideration of what tempera can offer the twenty-first century Australian artist.

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