The Winter Dragon
An exhibition by Corinne Costello

KURAOKAMI the Winter Dragon is the Japanese Shinto deity of rain and snow.
In mythology Izanagi and Izanami, siblings of the Winter Dragon, gave birth to the islands and gods of Japan.
This exhibition is based on my recent travels to Japan and continued interest in oil painting, as an exploration of the aesthetics of pictorial and psychological space, from an Eastern perspective.
Finding inspiration in the mythological story of the Winter Dragon and the Floating World of Edo Japan, my work traverses between figuration and abstraction. The painting constantly changes between form and formless, between the familiar and unfamiliar. I strive for a painting that has a sense of the mysterious, organically hovering and dissolving over the surface of the canvas.
My attraction to oil painting lies in the nature of the paint itself. The addition of oil enhances the unique properties of each paint pigment creating rich contrasts and optical complexity. The application of alternating layers of transparent and opaque paint creates work that constantly fluctuates between the static and ephemeral, the illusion of depth is created with subtle cool and warm colour contrasts.
My interpretation of The Edo period, 1615- 1868, is an imagined universe of extravagance, hedonism and transgression. In contrast to the polite manner and everyday obligation of the Japanese society, Edo was a period of imagination and rich sensory pleasures. Overtones of beauty and colour were entwined with the Kabuki theatres and red light districts. A place where imagination ruled and the seasons could co-exist simultaneously, concealing yet revealing.
Last October whilst in Japan I came across the following music which sums up why I paint.
Words by De Petty Vendetta + Limonade – ‘Life Without Purpose’
“I’m thinking about my life. About purpose, there is no purpose, You and I know that.
Sometimes I think…I imagine I am living for someone, very deeply, I’d do anything for them, I wake up in the morning thinking of ways I can better their lives.
One day I spent the whole day wrapping little gifts for them, leaves, a radio so they can listen to music as they dance.
I imagine this person of mine, I imagine this person dancing, shifting back and forth as if they are deaf or dumb or blind. But they can feel the music in their bones.
Yes I like to think I am living for this persons’ betterment, for their joy.
They have a lot of joy this person, they are determined to live life to the fullest, they want to go to strange countries, they want to follow every noise in the air, They want to go and open every door in every alleyway. They are very curious this person of mine.
They want to listen to church bells in Prague, music festivals on islands of grace, very determined to get out of this small town, their small lives. I am going to help them escape.
I am going to gather up all of my resources, and what I don’t have I am going to steal for them! I am going to give them that push, I am going to push them out of their small worlds and into the future.
You see I am like the Winter Dragon. There is a sheet of ice over the lake, I can’t get out but the breath of my fire burns a hole through.
I am the Winter Dragon and I am going to push my person through where I cannot go, the towns I will never see, the people I will never love.
They will hear such sweet orchestras, they will see such sights, climb across low bridges, high mountains, ice, sand, temples, cities…
So modern, people can hear our thoughts as we cross the street.
My person will go into the future and bring back everything and the mystery that’s left in this world, they will bring that back as well, and return to the Winter Dragon, at least that is what I hope for…
I am still waiting…”


Academic Background

2013 Study with Louis Velazquez CSO Painting Mediums and Techniques San Diego CA
2006-08 Charlie Sheard Studio School Old Master's Painting Techniques Redfern Sydney
2005 Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours, University of Tasmania
2004 Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Tasmania

Short Courses

2007 Photogravure Baldessin Press, St Peters Victoria
2004 Etching Baldessin Press, St Andrews Victoria
2003 Watercolour Workshop, Geoff Dyer Bruny Island Tasmania

Solo Exhibitions

2017 The Winter Dragon, Handmark Gallery Salamanca Place Hobart
2013 Orphic Dream, Colville Gallery Salamanca Place Hobart
2011 Tears of Eros, Colville Gallery Salamanca Place Hobart
2007 Momentary Illusion, S.P.A.C.E. Gallery Launceston
2006 Intimate Connection, Handmark Gallery Salamanca Place Hobart
2005 Metamorphosis of Desire, Handmark Gallery Salamanca Place Hobart 

Group Exhibitions

2018 Annual Artists Show Coville Gallery, Hobart
2017 Annual Artists Show Coville Gallery, Hobart
2016 Christmas exhibition Handmark Gallery Salamanca Hobart
Abstraction - Four Artists, Handmark Gallery Evendale Tasmania
2015 Annual group Exhibition, Handmark Gallery Hobart/Handmark Gallery Evendale
2014 Annual Artists Show, Colville Gallery Salamanca Place Hobart Tenth Anniversary
Artists Exhibition, Henry Jones Art Hotel Hunter Street Hobart 
2012/13 Annual Artists Show, Colville Gallery Salamanca Place Hobart
2011 Art Melbourne, Representing Colville Gallery, Melbourne
2009 Osmosis, Long Gallery Salamanca Place Hobart
Touch, Handmark Gallery Salamanca Place Hobart
2008 Students 3rd year showCharlie Sheard Studio School
2007 Studio 16.1   Mary Street Gallery Padington Sydney
2005 Luminous, Handmark Gallery Salamanca Place Hobart
2004 Interpreting 2004, Tasmanian Museum, Art Gallery Hobart 

Public Collections

2009 Pulse  paper prints/sculpture Menzies Centre Hobart 
Purchased by Janet Holmes a Court on behalf of John Holland Architects
2006 Lilt diptych painting oil on linen, Audi Launceston

Private Collections

Hong Kong USA Germany London Sydney Melbourne Brisbane Adelaide Hobart

Travel Research

2016 Japan –Osaka Contemporary Art and Architecture Presentation
Art and Design Week
2015 China, Hong Kong and Japan
2014 Rome and Israel
2013 New York San Diego California
2008 Spain


2017 Lloyd Rees Art Prize Finalist
2005 Hutchins Art Prize Finalist
Dean’s Roll of Excellence, University of Tasmania

Artist in Residence

2015 British Art School Rome Italy 
2007 Scotch Oakburn College Launceston Tasmania

Represented By 

Colville Gallery Salamanca Place Hobart Tasmania
The Henry Jones Art Hotel Hunter Street Hobart Tasmania
State of Wonder Art NY/Miami USA