FOR Piawaning farmers Nyree Taylor and husband Nick Scotney, 2017 is turning out to be a year for the cards.
In the face of a very average season for large parts of the Wheatbelt and Mid West, the couple count themselves lucky.
“It’s been a challenging season with the dry start, staggered germination and a prolonged autumn feed gap,” said Nick of their 2500 hectare mixed-farming property, Wensleydale, north of New Norcia.
The couple said their seasonal challenges were minor compared with many areas of the Wheatbelt.
“You don’t have to go too many kilometres north or east of here to see how fortunate we were getting those few early rain events,” Nick said.
For Nyree, the quieter season has offered the opportunity to spend more time in her art studio – a converted railway carriage set in a stand of white gums and salmon gums – preparing for her fourth and biggest solo exhibition, ARCADIA.
Farming was not something a young Nyree imagined for herself.
In the late 1990s she returned to Perth to study fine arts after a fast-paced life of travel and work in the dance and music scenes in Asia and America.
While studying at Claremont Art School she met her husband, Nick.
“I remember thinking, ‘I’m snookered! New York, no more,” she said.
Eighteen seasons, three exhibitions and two children later, Nyree counts herself lucky and can’t imagine life any other way.
“The great thing about being an artist and having a partner who is a farmer is that they understand the idea that you can’t be anything else,’’ she said.
“It is just innate.
“Just as they twitch when you’re overseas and see a rice paddy and need to ask the local farmer ‘what’s-up?’
“I twitch when I see a big, fat dirty city with galleries and bars and people... lots of people.”
The exhibition at Kidogo Arthouse in Fremantle comprises two collections of works: Inhale – large, abstract, charcoal drawings; and Exhale – bold, oil on canvas landscapes.
The somewhat juxtaposing collections are informed by Nyree’s 14 years of living, working and creating on farm and endeavouring to manage the busy and sometimes competing roles of farmer, mother, wife, community member and artist.
“Our minds race, sometimes with the stress of day-to-day living, but also our desire to intellectualise moments that should simply be inhaled and exhaled,” Nyree said.
“We often forget to stop and breathe in the simplicity and beauty of our rural surroundings.”
The former professional contemporary dancer said movement and exercise have always been a priority in her life.
Her runs across their Wheatbelt farm is the way she “fills her cup” and strives for elusive balance.
They are also the inspiration for her Exhale collection of oil on canvas works depicting landscapes she has captured over the years.
“The works are my odes to my runs,” Nyree said.
“I usually run at sunset and I am soaked in the light it creates.
“I cannot help myself but to stop and breathe the light and colour.
“Hundreds of photos later from the years of running on our farm and I want to explore them more.
“As Gauguin says, I want to ‘extrapolate’ my art from it and depict my intuition.”
ARCADIA is showing at Kidogo Arthouse in Fremantle’s Bather’s Beach precinct from September 28 to October 4.