Local artists Ree Hodges’ talks to us about art and her first exhibition at SMAC Studios
The Tighes Hill-based gallery space, SMAC Studio, hosted local creative Ree Hodges’ debut exhibition, Flourish.
We caught up with Ree in her local studio to hear all about her creative journey.
Growing up on the shores of Lake Macquarie in Pelican, Ree’s relationship with the world of art has come to life in form of therapy, with this exhibition being a surprising yet welcoming addition to Ree’s creative outlet.
“I have always loved art and have dabbled in it here and there but didn’t really get into it until the first round of covid. My daughter would love to paint, and I would sit down with her and play around. The more we did it, the more I explored different styles. I began noticing that it was helping my state of mind and it just really started from there,” Ree shared.
What originally started as a hobby, a creative outlet, and special time with her daughter has organically grown into something bigger than Ree ever anticipated.
“Never in my wildest dream did I think it would become anything. I started enjoying painting so much, I decided to start putting it onto canvas. A lot of my paintings don’t have any plan to them. I just really go with the flow. A lot of the painting underneath will just have this massive mess, which is just me letting everything out. From that, it slowly starts morphing into something more beautiful.”
Ree’s style is constructed of a muted feminine colour palette and abstract designs, which have been constructed from memory, experiences, feelings, nature, fashion, and music. Each piece is different, but alike in some way, and has what Ree describes as a beautiful mess sitting underneath that gentle exterior.
“I always joke about that these beautiful paintings are a huge mess underneath, a bit like my life sometimes! Each piece is abstract and often visually non-representational but emotionally meaningful and generally organic.
“It tends to be more of the delicate and feminine side; however, I do have what I call my ‘reset’ paintings that I do in between that are bolder and more untamed. I find this keeps me feeling balanced.”
With Ree originally creating her works for her own personal enjoyment and creative outlet, the exhibition has truly come about by chance when SMAC Studio’s creative director, Tyler Dan, slid on into Ree’s Instagram DMs.
“I freaked out but at the same time felt excited and honoured for the opportunity. This has been massive for me. I’m really having to step outside of my comfort zone, putting myself out there, and bare my soul on canvas.”
With the help of some close friends, the name Flourish was decided upon for her first exhibition. Flourish perfectly represents what this exhibition means for Ree; to grow or develop in a healthy way, exactly what pursuing art has done for Ree’s mental health.
“I was trying to think of something that would feel meaningful to my journey so far. Art has been such a great outlet for me. I am typically a bit of a wallflower and I find that art is helping me evolve as a person. I am facing things that I would typically avoid."