A new gallery in town is always welcome by those who appreciate good art. In this, their inaugural exhibition, Gallery O presents excellent examples of drawing, painting and digital images on canvas. If some of the participating artists are new on the Perth art scene, all have excellent track records, nationally and/or internationally.
This exhibition references those connections with, and respect for, the land that Indigenous people maintain in their physical and spiritual lives. Employing portraiture, landscape and abstraction, each artist responds to the sense of place held by the original owners of the land.
Sandy Abbott offers excellent acrylic, pen and pencil portraits of inspiring people, old and young. I do appreciate the artist's expertise with the medium and the ability to replicate the spidery lines in a woman's face, deeply etched furrows in the brow of an elder, or the shiny firm cheeks of a child. Better yet, Abbott goes beyond recording physiognomy to captures a sense of spirit in the eyes that reflect pride, joy, or trepidation. Respect for the subject and the medium is displayed in all these drawings.
People are also the subjects of Paul Roget's excellent digital images that have been beautifully manipulated to ignite interest and appreciation. His are folk inspired by the Dreamtime and presented with dignity. Backburner illustrates a powerful face of an elder, one that reflects strength and assurance as strong hands clap together rocks and produce fire. The image is printed on canvas and Roget has finessed the process beautifully to give an appearance of rich textural effects to the image.
John Scott also reveals a respect for Indigenous culture in his large oil and mixed media painting. Many of his paintings involve a dual imagery. Hidden Place is an example where I assumed the subject was a landscape and its reflection in water. However closer inspection reveals how each landscape, although similar, is unique. It suggests the concept of a physical world reflecting a spiritual world, two related yet distinct realities. One can view Scott's works from any alignment and still find a beautifully balanced composition. The best way to address these paintings is to approach them as one does nature, wild and wonderful from every point of view.
James Roget too offers ambiguous landscapes that draw us in and allow us to discover what is in our own imagination. Waterhole is a beautiful, mysterious place where bright green petals and brown leaves float on the surface of dark water that reflects the tree branches above. As we drift below the surface, a moon hovers in a dark sky over what could be a forbidden landscape or the ocean. Is this a quite billabong or the edge of reality?
Vanessa Roget presents stunning photo montages printed on canvas. Her series Interwoven shows beautiful, brown skin girls surrounded by exotic orange blooms. She has captured a perfect sense of the exotic innocence that fuels daydreams of South Sea Islands. And Lyne Marshall's acrylic on canvas abstractions suggest an inner landscape rather then physical geography. She references sky, horizon and rocky foreground to provide contemplative works of balanced design and harmony of hue.
If this is the quality of work we can continue to expect from this new gallery, it augers well for the visual arts scene in W.A.
Read Another Art Seen Home