Art shows rural love

Local artist Helen Cottle hopes her new exhibition “Rural Love” will allow visitors to escape into a world of their own memories and stories. 

Her exhibition of watercolours and acrylic art opens at the historic Cosmopolitan Hotel in Trentham on Friday. 

Cottle, who has lived on a rural property in Gisborne for 30 years, said her work was an observation of the land and an appreciation of the environment. 

“I love the feeling of almost isolation or just being peaceful,” she said. 

“What I want people to get from the exhibition is when they view a painting they will get a sense of calmness or a memory that they’ve had from a childhood or family history.

“I hope they might lose themselves in the painting for a little while and find their own story in it.

“It’s me telling a little bit of a story about the place or even just the time of day, it might be evening or morning, but viewers will get more of a sense of their own emotional response to it.”

RURAL LOVE: Local artist Helen Cottle poses with a piece from her art series "Rural Love" outside The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Trentham. The exhibition opens at the iconic Trentham hotel on Friday. Picture: Dylan Burns.

RURAL LOVE: Local artist Helen Cottle poses with a piece from her art series "Rural Love" outside The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Trentham. The exhibition opens at the iconic Trentham hotel on Friday. Picture: Dylan Burns.

Paintings in Cottle’s “Rural Love” series feature landscapes, old farm buildings, wildlife and native flowers. Many capture the history of farming land in Trentham and around Macedon Ranges and Hepburn Shire.

"There is something delicious about rusty tin and weathered fence posts that so many people adore," Cottle said.

Cottle, a member of Trentham's Little Gallery artists' collective, has been creating as a self-taught artist for 27 years. She describes her style as realist/ impressionist. 

When she is not creating art or exhibiting, she’s teaching in one of many classes and workshops, including those held at the National Gallery of Victoria. 

Following its time at The Cosmopolitan Hotel, Cottle’s “Rural Love” series will hit the road for Kevin Hill’s Top Ten Exhibition, featuring highly regarded Australian artists. 

PUB ART: Helen Cottle's exhibition of "Rural Love" at The Cosmopolitan Hotel allows visitors to experience her art in a comfortable and relaxed space. Picture: Dylan Burns.

PUB ART: Helen Cottle's exhibition of "Rural Love" at The Cosmopolitan Hotel allows visitors to experience her art in a comfortable and relaxed space. Picture: Dylan Burns.

Cottle will exhibit beside nine other Australian artists in Sydney in late October for her seventh year as a guest artist in Kevin Hill’s Top Ten Exhibition. 

Her work has appeared in many exhibitions across the country, but it is only recently she has begun exhibiting in what one may consider “irregular” art spaces like The Cosmopolitan Hotel. 

“In the past I have exhibited all over Australia in galleries,” she said. 

“A lot of city galleries are quite clinical and cold and I don’t think people get the warmth of the feeling of maybe eating a meal and looking at a piece of artwork they are falling in love with.The pub environment (The Cosmopolitan Hotel) is just that atmosphere.

“Recently I have exhibited in quite a few restaurants and cafes which I never used to do, but now I find that people are buying more and they are enjoying the artwork more in that kind of space.”

"There is something delicious about rusty tin and weathered fence posts that so many people adore."

Helen Cottle, local artist

The Cosmopolitan Hotel owner Fiona Miovich said the pub was a comfortable space to view art. 

“Local art is becoming an increasing attraction for the area and holding an exhibition in an ‘irregular’ space that people are so comfortable within seems to really work,” she said. 

Ms Miovich said an exhibition of local portrait artist Rose Wilson’s exhibition “Disappearing Farmers” at the pub earlier in the year drew a “phenomenal” amount of interest. 

“We had visitors as far as Ballarat, Melbourne, Port Fairy and Great Ocean road towns drive up to take it in, let alone the local interest,” she said. 

Previous exhibiting artist Rose Wilson said there was an appeal for visitors to enjoy art in a more relaxed setting.

Wilson said The Cosmopolitan Hotel offered great spaces to exhibit art. 

“The Cosmo has vast high ceiling wall space that can be dedicated to art,” she said. 

“It really lends itself to a beautiful place to exhibit local art.” 

THE COSMO: Helen Cottle stands outside The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Trentham. Picture: Dylan Burns.

THE COSMO: Helen Cottle stands outside The Cosmopolitan Hotel in Trentham. Picture: Dylan Burns.

Helen Cottle’s “Rural Love” exhibition will run at Trentham’s Cosmpolitan Hotel from Friday September 8 until mid October.

The exhibition is a collaboration between The Cosmopolitan Hotel and Little Gallery in Trentham. Visit http://www.thecosmopolitanhotel.com.au/ for more information.