FROM FLESH TO THUNDER
Flinders St Gallery, 61 Flinders Street Surry Hills, Wednesday to Saturday 11.00am – 6.00pm
19 September – 3 October 2020
The paintings in this exhibition mark a return to a sort of figuration for me. The landscapes were painted during the haze of the January fires. Smokey light and a pink haze covered Sydney and its surrounds. I was looking for a grounding, a return to something solid after such an unsettling start to the year. Bushfires were blazing uncontrollably. Since then we’ve had floods and now COVID19. The year became reflective for me – it gave me time for solitude, a time to consider.
When I’m in the bush I always turn to the landscape- I can’t help it- I find it a very natural impulse to paint the light and the big vast spaces. This time was also different- I had started to paint a series of Max Beckman copies. At the same time I had started painting in life drawing classes- directly from the model. I knew I needed to return to life painting in order to paint any figure paintings in the future.
The show From Flesh to Thunder is a personal metaphor relating to a return to working from life. All the paintings in this show (apart from 2) have been painted directly from either landscape or the figure. The landscapes, painted plein-air and the life paintings are studies for me to use for larger studio works. They are small and personal however after painting them I realised they could be shown as they are. Some are fast- they are spontaneous and are usually worked with one layer. They are meant to capture the particular moment, the natural phenomena of wind, or fastness or light….. it goes on. I don’t tend to work over them – they exist in the tradition of plein-air painting.
The large plein-air work titled Wild Card was painted in the middle of a large open space in the heat and wind. I had returned from a 3 hour walk from the creek, it was hot and I felt a freedom. This work is an outpouring of looking for something solid within.
One of the only studio works in the exhibition, The Offering is structured with a gestural orange line describing the beautiful yet complicated space of foliage and bush- yet at the same time more than that. It is a mustering of personal energy, a type of renewal of one’s spirituality to offer back. When I paint these the influence of so many artists is revealed. This one makes me think of Kandinsky, Bridget Riley or John Peart – there are so many.
You’ll see the second room filled with life paintings. Renee, Ishita, Lulu, Vanessa and Rosie – some of the regular models at Alpha House. Each model has his/her own quality which in turn demands different responses. The painted sketches are works in their own right, sitting solidly in the realm of life painting. You’ll see the language of creating an image- a line might describe both the edge of a face yet at the same time be a shadow on the wall. You’ll see the core of my visual language – Cubist, Modernist and Expressionism developed to tell future stories.
61 Flinders Street, Surry Hills, 2010
Ph. 02 93805663 firstname.lastname@example.org