Planetary Gestures travels to Melbourne

Planetary Gestures was exhibited at NorthSite Contemporary Arts earlier this year. Curated by Tess Maunder, the exhibition explores ideas surrounding ecological systems, ancient knowledge, celestial blueprints and tidal movements across the land, sea and sky known as Australasia, part of the wider Asia­-Pacific and the ‘Great Ocean’. The exhibition includes work by artists Amrita Hepi, Susie Losch, Raqs Media Collective, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Jimmy John Thaiday and Trevor Yeung.

We’re thrilled to see Planetary Gestures touring to Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre in Dandenong, Melbourne. The opening preview is this Saturday, 23 September from 2PM-4PM with the exhibition running until 3 November 2023.

Location: Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre, Cnr Walker and Robinson streets, Dandenong
Opening Hours: Tues-Fri 12pm – 4pm
Exhibition runs from 26 SEPTEMBER 2023 until 3 NOVEMBER 2023



Artists’ Residency

NorthSite will host four senior artists from Moa Arts during a month-long residency at NorthSite Art Studios. David Bosun, Solomon Booth, Fiona Mosby and Paula Savage will be participating in a series of intensive printmaking sessions through September and October 2023 to develop new works.

During the residency, these four senior artists will be preparing new works for an exhibition at Tarnanthi in Adelaide later this year as well as two international exhibitions planned for 2024 and 2025. This is an exciting time for these artists who are looking forward to getting into the print studio alongside Moa Arts long-term printmaking facilitator Dian Darmansjah from Firebox Studios.

This year David Bosun, Solomon Booth, Fiona Mosby and Paula Savage displayed work in the CIAF2023 satellite exhibition ‘Malu Bardthar Dapar | Sea Land Sky’ at NorthSite Contemporary Arts. We’re excited to welcome them into NorthSite Art Studios and continue to follow their success.

2023 Queensland Regional Art Awards

The Queensland Regional Art Awards (QRAA) is an annual visual arts prize and exhibition for established and emerging artists living in regional and remote Queensland hosted by Flying Arts Alliance.

This year the highly anticipated regional art awards offer a record prize pool of over $140,000. The theme for the 2023 QRAA is Perspective, calling artists to enter work which considers the concept of perspective in its many facets, viewpoints and nuances. The theme plays on a term known in the visual arts and relevant to our modern society, reflecting different individual and collective viewpoints and opinions, stemming from varying life-experiences, perceptions, understandings, memories and emotions. Flying Arts Alliance is looking for stimulating entries that address this broad concept through the visual arts and share story-telling that extends notions of individual and collective perspective.

Call for Entries

The 2023 Queensland Regional Art Awards are now open, with artists from across Queensland living outside the Brisbane City Council boundary encouraged to apply for the prestigious visual arts competition.

Click Here to Enter

Key Dates

11 August, 4pm AEST — Entries open
6 October, 4pm AEST — Entries close
24-29 November — Finalists exhibited at Judith Wright Arts Centre
24 November — Winners Announced at Gala Reception

Award Categories Include

‘Art for Life’ Award
Total prize pool of $40,000.

The Mervyn Moriarty Landscape Award
Total prize pool of $28,900.

First Nations Artist Award
Total prize pool of $15,000.

Remote Artist Award
Total prize pool of $15,000.

Emerging Artist Award
Total prize pool of $15,000.

Environmental Art Award
Total prize pool of $15,000.

A text based image with the text "Queensland Regional Art Awards Responding to the theme perspective. Total prize pool over $140,000 across 10 award categories. Enter Now. 2023 QRAA. Hosted by Flying Arts Alliance inc. Connecting Queensland to the arts".

Image courtesy of Flying Arts Alliance INC

Free Studio Access, Express Your Interest!

NorthSite is excited to announce our new Studio Access Program for local Artists. The first program will launch at the end of October and run until early December 2023. We welcome emerging, mid-career and established practising artists, looking for studio space, to express interest in applying for the program.

On Tuesday 12th September NorthSite, will hold an information session to answer any questions about the program.

Information Session Details
Date: Tuesday 12th September
Time: 3pm – 5pm
Location: NorthSite art studios – 55 Greenslopes street, Edge Hill
Join us: https://events.humanitix.com/northsite-art-studios-public-access-information-session

About the opportunity:
Free Studio Access

  • Three studio spaces: Main Studio, Print Studio and Printing Shed
  • Dates: 23 October 2023 until 5 December 2023 (first season)
  • 3hr time slots (morning/afternoon) Monday and Tuesdays
  • Location: 55 Greenslopes Street, Edge Hill, 4870

Who can apply

  • Emerging, mid-career, and established practicing artists
  • Priority will be given to artists who have an active project


  • The artist must have their own public liability to the value of $20mil please check Nava for rates and discount insurance.
  • The artist must supply their own materials; equipment such as the printing press can be requested upon request.

Additional Information

  • There are no storage facilities available for any work to remain onsite
  • All materials and artwork you own must be removed from the site at the end of each session
  • NorthSite Art Studios is a shared co-working space
  • Successful applicants are required to undergo an induction into the studio space
  • The Printing Shed is only available on request,. and to artists that are screen printing and/or creating large scale work

If you have any further questions feel free to get in contact with programs@northsite.org.au


Claudine Marzik’s Undara Paintings

Words: Ross Searle

The opportunity to write about Claudine Marzik’s impressive art practice is indeed a pleasure. On first seeing her work I was impressed by its refined but energetic gestural mark-making that appeared to contain a language that was both familiar but unique in the way that it responded to the particularities of the ‘northern’ seasonal environment. She is perhaps best known for a series of paintings relating to the seasons which reference the dynamics of seasonal and changing weather patterns from quite subtle shifts to extreme conditions that have major impacts on the land. The sense of ‘familiarity’ I first recognised in her painterly gesture in the early 1990s no doubt relates to the influences of ‘gestural’ abstraction that found its place in American and European painting after World War II. A process and not a movement, it continues to be shaped by European artists such as Gerhard Richter and Australians Aida Tomescu, Ildiko Kovacs and of course, Claudine Marzik.

Her capacity to encapsulate the intensity of the environment of northern Australia has been noted by writers Gavin Wilson who observed; ‘her work reaches deep into her emotional reserves to construct images that suggests states of mind’1 and Ingrid Hoffman who wrote about the impact of knowing the landscape that ‘comes out of time spent discerning the morphology of plants and their distilled colour, their intricate prickliness, their smooth shapes, their grace and vulnerability’.2 This ability to zoom in and out of the landscape to see it not only in terms of its parts but also as a system that communicates an emotional state is intriguing.

Recent projects include The Body Language of Plants which came about from working with materials collected as part of herbarium specimens. The science-art nexus continues with the current exhibition.

This new body of work relates to the Undara Volcanic National Park, a unique geological site she first visited in 2017. ‘Undara’ is an Aboriginal word meaning ‘long way’. The park protects a system of 190,000-year-old lava tube caves, the longest in the world. Located 264 km south-west of Cairns, they are the result of an eruption, spewing molten lava over the surrounding landscape. The lava flowed rapidly down dry riverbeds with the top, outer layer cooling and forming a crust, while the molten lava below drained outwards, leaving behind a series of hollow tubes.

An almost autonomous natural ecosystem, Claudine was captivated by the cave-system of the lava tubes and the depositions on the cave ceilings and walls. Drawing ideas from earlier visits and a recent residency supported by Discovery Holiday Parks through Undara Experience, resulted in a new series of work. With each visit she took photographs and did onsite drawings, made notes, and compiled a visual lexicon of the site – an iterative process that allowed her to hone her ideas and images. In recent years, artists like Claudine have adopted a profusion of methods, practices, and experiences to enhance the interface between the visual arts and environmental-scientific concerns. In Claudine’s case, she has made an especial study of the morphology and topography of Undara.

The sensation of being in a submerged environment with its dark corners and surprising patches of light that break through the ceilings is manifested in the tonal gradients she employs in the paintings on canvas and paper for this exhibition. The palette she employs is influenced by the various minerals in the caves including basalt, iron oxide and calcium carbonate. The underlining minerals reveal tones of red, yellow, and green contrasting with the black rock basalt intrusions, the lighter toned calcium carbonate and richer iron oxide. A recurring compositional device that is used in several of the paintings is a doorway shape, as if looking out from the darkness of the cave into the light. We see this clearly in the large paintings which alternate between looking into the caves and out into the open. Claudine reflects that ‘being inside the cave looking towards the exit which can be seen about 50 meters away, is a captivating view. It releases emotions (and) it’s like a sensation of new life and hope. Back to safety, back to the known from the unknown, back to the light from the dark. Back from the cold to the warm.’3

The exhibition has been grouped to reinforce compositional ideas based on the geological forms, surface patterns, depositions, graffiti, and textures that appear on walls and ceilings. Far from being a static environment, natural formations from the speleothem deposits continue to accumulate to form subtle new layers not unlike some of the paintings which are worked and layered like strata. Some of the artworks are tightly framed views of the deposition of minerals on the tube walls and ceiling as if looking through a photographic lens which at once makes everything equally comparable without a reference point.

Undara is the perfect place for her to test new approaches to the landscape. In Claudine’s hands her artworks possess a tight undulant pattern reminiscent of natural surfaces found in this unique landscape. The effect of this is to make the texture not only closer to that of the actual cave surfaces but also to overcome of what Gerhard Richter suggests is the over importance of edges and borders; to make everything equal and allow the viewer’s brain to impose its own structure on the artwork.4 Her way of working at Undara was to create sets of visual references and once in the studio this material was used to create this series of works that reference her macro-micro responses to surface textures, dramatic geological intrusions, and mineral accretions. Although some works contain a complex layering of paint pattern and form, in general there is a looseness in the shapes and forms and a more free, spontaneous approach.5 It is a thrilling body of work.

Words: Ross Searle

1 Gavin Wilson, Country and western landscape re-imagined, exhibition catalogue, Perc Tucker Regional Gallery, Townsville, 2015, p 40.
2 Ingrid Hoffman, Seed to seed, exhibition catalogue, KickArts Contemporary Arts, Cairns, 2012.
3 Claudine Marzik email to author, 7 August 2023
4 Misha Ketchell, Nature makes abstract visual art more captivating. The conversation, March 25, 2014
5 Claudine Marzik, ibid


Artists’ selected for Cairns Festival ‘Reef Lights’

Part of Cairns Festival 2023, ‘Reef Lights – Where The Rainforest Meets The Reef‘ will illuminate the Cairns Esplanade from this Friday (25 August) until Sunday 3 September showing from 6.30pm – 10.00pm each night.

NorthSite was thrilled to assist in selecting Artists from Far North Queensland to be part of the outdoor light show for 2023. A special congratulations to all the incredible Artists’ involved: Leanne Hardy, Brian Robinson, Billy Missi, Robert Tommy Pau, Gertie Tomsana, Betty Sykes, Elverina Johnson, Joel Sam, Margaret Mara, Matilda Nona and Peter B Morrison.

Reef Lights – Where The Rainforest Meets The Reef‘ is an immersive outdoor light experience inspired by the unique tropical environment of Far North Queensland. Guests will experience a ‘watershow’ with lasers and lights at the Cairns Lagoon, a myriad of artworks projected along the footpaths and enchanting soundscapes.


Reef Lights is a project by Cairns Regional Council and Laservision. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Festivals Australia program. This project was made possible by the Australian Government’s Regional Arts Fund, which supports the arts in regional and remote Australia.

An artwork projected on the floor with a person standing in the background. Projected lights are blue and green.

Joel Sam’s artwork projection for Reef Lights. Image courtesy of Laservision.

Curator Insights for Education Group

Last week, 15 students from TAFE Queensland‘s Diploma of Visual Arts Professional Practice, visited the NorthSite gallery for a curators talk with Aven Noah Jr.

Aven Noah Jr. is from the Komet Tribe of Mer, or Murray Island in Eastern islands of the Torres Strait and is the Curator for NorthSite Contemporary Arts. Aven is an alumnus of the National Gallery of Australia’s Indigenous Arts Leadership program and has over 14 year experience working as the Gallery Officer at Gab Titui Cultural Centre, Thursday Island before joining NorthSite Contemporary Arts in 2021.

Aven is the curator of the exhibition Malu Bardthar Dapar | Sea Land Sky presented in Gallery 1 at NorthSite until 19 August 2023. Working with 12 artists from Moa Arts this exhibition shares powerful cultural stories through the eyes of senior and emerging artists.

“Students gain valuable insights from industry professionals like Aven; Having the opportunity to ask questions and create new connections within the arts is important in developing their careers.” – Rose Rigley, Visual Arts Educator at TAFE Queensland.

To book an education tour or talk at NorthSite phone the gallery on 0740509494 or email programs@northsite.org.au


A group of 19 people standing in an art gallery and smiling. There is a woven basket work in front of them and several monoprints on the wall behind them.

Aven Noah Jr.’s curator talk to TAFE Queensland students, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, August, 2023.

A group of students standing in the gallery listening to a curator talk

Aven Noah Jr.’s curator talk to TAFE Queensland students, NorthSite Contemporary Arts, August, 2023.

First Nations Printmaking Program in Cairns

Red fabric with grey leaves printed on top and more plants printed in white over the top.

SpotFire is a NorthSite program that provides facilities for emerging and established First Nations Artists to plan, develop and produce fine art prints on paper and fabric. Held every Friday at NorthSite Art Studios in Cairns, this program provides access to a professional studio space, equipment, materials and expertise from a range of experienced facilitators.

Participating Artists are encouraged to use the weekly sessions to develop new work, or further develop skills and techniques, supported by the program facilitator. SpotFire is facilitated by master printmaker Theo Tremblay and supported by artists and printmakers Robert Tommy Pau and Hannah Parker.

The program first started in February 2023 and we continue to welcome First Nations printmakers to participate in this year’s program. For more information and to register your interest in joining SpotFire reach out to Katrina Iosia: programs@northsite.org.au or call 0740509494.


Join SpotFire


A man holding a print screen on a table and two women on the other side of the table

Hannah Parker, Ruth Saveka and Paul Bong working at NorthSite Art Studio.

A group of people stand around a printing table looking at artworks.

NorthSite Art Studio, 2023. Program talks with Robert Tommy Pau and Theo Tremblay.

A women wearing blue gloves and holding a brush.

Kassandra Savage working at NorthSite Art Studios, 2023.

SpotFire has received funding through Regional Arts Development Fund, a partnership between the Queensland Government and Cairns Regional Council to support local arts and culture in regional Queensland.

Calling all Queer artists | Cairns Pride Art Exhibition 2023

Jamie Cole and Sally Brown are excited to curate the Cairns Pride Art Exhibition 2023 at Tanks Arts Centre. Along with the Tanks Team, they aim to bring together LGBTIQ+ Sistergirl and Brotherboy artists from not only Cairns and FNQ, but from all over Australia.

Artists at all stages of their careers are invited to submit works for the October 2023 exhibition.

Expressions of interest: Email Jamie Cole at artbyjamiecole@gmail.com before August 18, 2023 for a copy of the Artwork Entry Form.

This is an LGBTIQ+ event and works submitted should celebrate and reflect our LGBTIQ+ Sistergirl and Brotherboy communities. This event is kindly supported by Cairns Tropical Pride, 2Spirits, the Queensland Council for LGBTI Health and Cairns Regional Council.

A colourful image ith the text 'Cairns art PRIDE exhibition'

Image courtesy of Jamie Cole.

The Ironing Maidens World Premiere in Cairns plus International Recognition at NIME

From December 2023 to January 2024, The Ironing Maidens (Melania Jack and Patty Preece) presented their sound, digital art and projection installation work – Pressing Topics at NorthSite Contemporary Arts. The debut of this work was well received at NorthSite and the workshop presentation explaining the work; Oscillations attracted a huge audience for a Saturday Morning of almost 70 participants. Ironing certainly still resonates with many people, but ironing sound is a unique experience in itself.

The audiovisual installation, Oscillations, turns irons and ironing boards into electronic instruments, in an attempt to deconstruct stereotypical ideas of gender and its assigned roles. The work aims to investigate the relationships we have with domestic objects and ponder their structures and significance through the design and performance of an interactive ecosystem. The project uses a sonic cyberfeminist lens to critically explore aesthetic and relational hierarchies at the intersection of sound, gender and technology.

Installation of 3 ironing boards with retro irons. In the background is a video projection. Hanging from the ceiling are industrial lights and cords referencing the factories.

Three irons and ironing boards have been hacked and retrofitted with embedded electronic instruments that together create a complex feedback network. While the audience is invited to physically interact with the irons instruments and manipulate samples, the sonic state of the installation also changes based on the audio information detected in the environment. Projections onto the surface of the ironing board expose the labor within.

“This opportunity to present the work in Cairns has been so important to the development of the work. Being able to see people interacting and responding to the instruments at NorthSite provided us with an insight into the experience of the audience, and gave us more ideas on how to refine the instruments to improve that audience experience. We are so thankful to NorthSite for this opportunity and support”
– Patty Preece.

A retro iron sitting on an timber ironing board with a video projection directly onto the cloth that is placed on top of the ironing board.

The work was then presented at the International Conference of NIME (new instruments for musical expression) in Mexico City in May 2023. Joining hundreds of experimental, digital instrument makers from around the world, Patty and Melania presented their paper – Oscillations: Composing a Performance Ecosystem through a Sonic Cyberfeminist Lens and installed this work in the foyer of the Center for Digital Culture, in La Condessa. The work was recognised through two awards, the paper receiving ‘The Pamela Z award for innovation’, and the installation receiving the ‘best installation award’.

Now the duo bring the ironing instruments back to Cairns in a hybrid band of irons and synthesisers, in the next phase of the project – Hot & Heavy – an immersive experience that is “part gallery, part performance and part banging dance party”. In a World Premiere at The Tanks Art Centre.

Hot & Heavy is an aural, visual and sensory experience that invites you to lose your friends, go deep and shake free. Explore this queer new world where domesticity has been made strange, appliances are defamiliarised, and the casual horrors of human production lines and capitalist consumption are vividly transformed. In a landscape of real world glitches, the lines between performer and audience blur and break, bodies move en masse and the unifying power of a dance floor infects the crowd. Hot & Heavy is the search for multiple new futures, yearning to find utopia within the banging beat of a broken down washing machine.

“In previous live shows we [The Ironing Maidens] have explored themes such as planned obsolescence and domestic labour, but in this new work we wanted the opportunity to really expand, to really push ourselves and the work. We wanted to investigate the kind of world we are living in now; within this capitalist system, and explore what kind of alternatives we could imagine for our collective futures, we wanted to explore what this could feel like, what it might sound like.”
– Melania Jack

“We have expanded the creative team and have been working with international choreographic director Leigh-Anne Vizer and a team of dancers to develop the worlds that the audience will explore. We are also working with the Cairns community, through a series of workshops in the lead up to the performance so that we can skill share in music and dance, and invite people to come and create with us and join us in the live performance”.
– Patty Preece

This event is an Auslan Interpreted Performance. There will be a meeting place on entry for Auslan interpretation during the first half of the show. The second half of the show the interpreter will be onstage. Please contact for more details

Show might include atmospheric haze and strobe effects.

Workshops in the lead up to the show are open to the public and start this week (Monday 31 July 2023). Meet the cast, learn some new skills, and join the community ensemble. There is a fundraiser running to make these workshops free and accessible to marginalised groups in the community. Head to The Australian Cultural Fund website and search for The Ironing Maidens – $15 can support a scholarship place in the workshop. Click here to support.

This new work has been developed in Cairns through commissions from the Local Giants Program; a partnership between Regional Arts Australia, PAC and Performing Lines, and the Tanks Arts Centre and Cairns Regional Council. Development funded by the Australia Council for the Arts. Community engagement funded by Cairns Regional Council through the RADF Major Round. The project is funded and managed by Shiny Shiny Productions, a feminist, queer led, regional production company.

SHOW DATES: Friday 25th August 8pm – Cairns Tanks Arts Centre
Sunday 27th August 1pm

Tickets Live Show – $27.50 & $32.50


Tickets Workshops – $15 & $30


Support – $15 can support a scholarship place in the workshop