This exhibition, Outside In, features new works by Melbourne abstract painters, Julia Powles, Mary Barton and Georgia Biggs. Each artist, in her own fashion, deals with the core elements of non-objective painting, utilising her own techniques and methods.
Julia Powles’ sweeping, looping brush-marks traverse her works, creating intriguing spatial depths and concentrations of focus. In each piece, the energy is ‘controlled’ by the four edges of the work. Sometimes, the abstract forms are held fast, inside the defined space; sometimes the painterly movements sweep against the edges, to be bounced back into the picture plane; sometimes the forms almost threaten to break free of the constraining edge. The viewer becomes swept up in the directions that the brush describes, following the twists and overlaps in Powles’ Baroque arrangements.
Mary Barton offers vivid depictions of abstracted forms suggestive of nature and landscape. Her works are an opulent cocktail of the world’s sights, sounds and colours, all focused through a kind of personal kaleidoscopic filter. Her intense violets, minty greens and swoony cyclamens hasten out towards the viewer in exuberant waves. The works are a presentation of the ‘outside’, natural world, replete with all its mystery, scope and intensity, here restrained by the parameters of the canvases which contain them. They prompt us to consider the sharp-edged elements of the natural realm.
Georgia Biggs extends her area of interest, often mixing the dry medium of charcoal with the wet medium of ink. Her work is about the expressive force of the human body, just as much as the resulting abstract marks and gestures on her painted surfaces. The viewer is keenly aware of the energetic motion of the artist’s arm as she applies, crosses out, or re-establishes a flurry of marks, ‘taming’ them, here and there, by the use of strong, anchoring colour. Here, too, the ‘outer’ human gestures are enclosed and ‘tamed’ by the internal edges of the painted surface.
The works in this exhibition are essentially about themselves – they are paintings about the process of painting. They are about shape and colour, gesture and texture, and the various ways in which artists focus their thoughts and methods in order to present their unique conceptions.
Steve Cox, 2018.