Melissa Egan presents another outstanding exhibition filled with humour and whimsical characters (sometimes familiar) from 29 October – 16 November.
This latest body of work ‘Friends, Foes & Other Animals’ was inspired by her recent trip to Spain and features an array of characters and scenes drawn from her recent experiences.Set against backgrounds of the Gardens of Montjuic, the Majorcan coastline, Valencia and Toledo her muses are clad in sumptuous costumes acting out roles of both the bizarre and fantastic.one of Australia’s most popular narrative artists. Egan’s latest body of work
Egan’s protagonists for this series are Pepa and Christabel Blackman, plus an array of other friends and animals encountered on her journeys.Christabel’s penchant for exotic culinary delights renders her “The Mean Paella Queen”, while Pepa, depicted as a “Lolita”, encompasses all that is beautiful and innocent.Within these parameters, Egan explores themes of friendship, loss and our relationship with nature, resulting in paintings that are both humorous and at times sad. In the painting “Harvest”, Pepa is shown wearing a cornucopia gown of fruit and vegetables encircled by her guardian animals. In other works, Goya and Velaquez inspired muses, wear hats of trees or dresses of fish tied up in strings of pearls.
Egan presents the possibility of a more gentle relationship with nature, evoking reverence and wonder rather than aggression or confrontation. The paintings reflect a peace that requires no thought, simply the experience with colour merging with something other than self. They address our collective need for freedom and relief from the circumstances of day to day routine and the pressures of an increasingly urban existence.
‘Vertically Challenged’ is an emotive exhibition where keen observations of city streetscapes and memories of the southern highlands come together by multi- talented artist, Peter Hickey. The title refers to the realization by the artist that soon after he began working on this show, a recurring theme was presenting itself; many of the works had a vertical orientation in their imagery - vertical lines of tree trunks, fence posts in the landscapes and the elongated shadows produced by the reflections of people and buildings in the cityscapes.
While the country scenes, particualry around Berrima, where the artist resided for 10 years, are all memories; the city works are the result of much walking and visual notetaking, capturing ‘impressions’ of iconic Sydney locations.Looking deeper, this body of work also reflects the artist’s shift, not only physically but mentally, from the tranquility of the country to the buzz of the city.
Still life paintings, aquatint etchings and his much loved animal portraits are included in this exhibition, however the main focus is on his sensitively rendered monochromatic street scenes and landscapes. Peter works in oils and charcoals using a technique in painting known as ‘subtractive’; where after paint has been applied, it is removed with different materials to produce the shapes and tones that provide the imagery.The artist prefers a monotone approach, feeling it gives a more dymnamic effect to his work which would not resonate as much if colour was introduced. In mastering this technique Peter has claimed it as his signature style and having studied Sumie (Japanese Ink Painting) in Japan, he appreciates the Japanese philosophy that ‘less is more’ which is reflected in the minimalist quality of his work.