A Hidden Place is the first collaborative venture from Melbourne illustrators Beci Orpin and Kat Macleod. Opening on Thursday April 18 at Lamington Drive, the exhibition comprises both solo and large-scale collaborative pieces. The brand new series of original works marks not only the first time Orpin and Macleod have worked with one another, but also the first time either artist has engaged in a full collaboration.
Exploring themes of hidden elements and adornments, Orpin and Macleod set tight parameters for the work, creating two clear lists. One list consisted of objects or forms they appreciate drawing, such as hands and mushrooms, while the other comprised objects one can hide behind, such as a mask or one’s hair. The pair then created a lucky dip, choosing one word from each list to form the basis of each of the works. “We started off with quite static words, but they took on meaning as we worked them into the pieces,” says Macleod.
Through the use of materials such as watercolour, acrylic and ink – and incorporating elements such as paper-cut collage for Orpin and hand-sewn thread for Macleod – the words were transformed into works that reflect and showcase each of their distinctive styles.
“I wasn’t sure how it was going to work because our styles are so different, but…I think it’s the fact that our styles are so different that it worked really well,” says Orpin.
The pair were more than pleased with the final results and found the constant dialogue of the collaborative process creatively and personally gratifying. As Macleod points out, “It was so nice to have a constant sounding board. We were always emailing each other or texting or calling the whole way through. It was so easy and so inspiring.”
Orpin agrees. “I loved it purely because there was another person to talk to about the ideas with and consult.”