An exhibition by Mullumbimby artist Gatya Kelly that explores life, death and the everyday will be on display at Tweed Regional Gallery from 15 January until 28 February.
Tweed Regional Gallery Director, Susi Muddiman, said Luscious was developed as an outcome of Kelly’s residency at the Nancy Fairfax Artist in Residence (AIR) studio facility in March 2015.
‘Gatya’s still life compositions of pomegranates, figs, cherries, magnolias, dry foliage and decorative vessels illuminate the delicate beauty and sometimes erotic nature of the ordinary,’ Ms Muddiman said.
‘The paintings have a reflective surface which seem to glow, while in the shadows, objects are blurred and disappear into darkness.’
Gatya Kelly’s exploration of the still-life genre began as a response to her environment during a five-month stay in Italy.
She said although surrounded by the stunning Tuscan landscape and glorious colours of autumn and winter, what drew her attention where the small dead things such as leaves, sticks and branches – all nestled against the fruits of the season which were shiny and bright.
‘The textures and tones of the withered and dying were beautiful, and combined with the living flesh of olives and persimmons, seemed to create a poignant allegory of life and death that felt paintable,’ Ms Kelly said.
‘I am inspired by my everyday world and have a sensual approach to making art.
‘I am drawn to paint the personal and universal objects in my immediate environment which conjure emotions such as desire and passion, while looking for balance, colour and stillness in the drama.’
Susi Muddiman said Luscious continued to explore life and death in what could be considered a contemporary interpretation of the 16th century Dutch and Flemish vanitas painters.
‘The paintings also explore and expand the senses of touch, taste and smell,’ she said.
‘They make a deliberate effort to summon a strong emotional response that goes beyond the physicality of materials or technique.’
Ms Kelly will present an artist demonstration at the gallery on Sunday 21 February from 10am-noon DST when visitors can gain an exclusive insight into Kelly’s creative process as she works on a small painting.