Toowoomba-based artist Elysha Gould uses paper. She started with origami, folding figures from a collection of Japanese sheets given to her by her grandmother. She began crafting cranes. Blindfolded, Elysha demonstrates how well she can fold a paper bird. It’s an impressive stunt.
More recently, with a craft blade, Elysha slices designs into the paper. Inspired by her Japanese heritage, she has carved numerous koi: fish suspended in the middle of a blank canvas, fish dancing across the page, fish alone, without water.
During her teenage years, Elysha moved countries a lot.
“Coming back to Australia after living in New Zealand and Thailand,” she explains, “I realised how different I felt. Like a fish out of water.”
For the group exhibition FUTURE: an exploration of tomorrow, Elysha sliced a series of repeating patterns: two-headed koi, two-headed cranes and a beautifully ornate mushroom cloud, tessellated across the paper in a bold, decor-inspired design.
“That’s what traditional Japanese interior design is all about. It’s very intricate, very detailed. And beautiful.”
The strength of her aesthetic pulls you in and when you realise what you’re looking at – Pow! – and you feel a little queasy.
After Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, Elysha tried to come to terms with the event through her paper work. Sad, confused and upset, the imagery in her designs reflects Japan’s historic relationship with nuclear energy and the impact it has on the people, their children and their children’s children.
In August this year, Elysha presented a solo exhibition titled Destruction Creation. The collection of works included a series of ornate paper atomic symbols, a ceiling-high paper cut koi and a vast wall painting of a Hokusai-inspired tsunami wave. The mural connects the Japanese experience with January’s flash flooding in Toowoomba and Elysha says the image of the wave was both timely and powerful.
“Art can be a vehicle, it’s a tool to create conversation around sensitive issues.”
Elysha’s exhibited her solo show at the made. Creative Space, which she founded in January with Alex Stalling. The space has four gallery spaces and exhibits local artists on a three-week rotation. The local arts community would agree the initiative has been a great success, offering both a community space and a greater profile for grassroots arts in Toowoomba.
For Elysha, the self-professed fish out of water, 2011 has seen imagery of water seeping into her work. Through deeper exploration of her Japanese heritage and the work she is doing for the arts in Toowoomba, Elysha Gould is now a fish finding her water.
Article source: http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2011/10/19/3343302.htm