Stripes 3

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Stripes 3

  • Artist
    Brenton Dreschler
  • Dates
    15 Aug—15 Sep 2024

Brenton Drechsler (he/him) is an Australian emerging visual artist. He was born in Campbelltown, South Australia on Kaurna Country. Brenton studied at TAFE SA from 2006 to 2010 and completed an Advanced Diploma in Fashion Design and Technology. In his graduating year he won the 2010 TAFE SA Student of the Year award. Brenton was self-employed as a fashion designer until 2015. Brenton attained his Bachelor of Visual Art at Adelaide Central School of Art in 2022, winning the Hill Smith Art Advisory award for Painting and Drawing. Brenton went on to complete an Honour’s year of study in 2023, at Adelaide Central School of Art, achieving a First-Class Honours result. Brenton’s practice explores ideas around opacity, personal narrative, and orientation through the lens of his queer subjectivity. He also explores the absence of belonging to place through the materiality of paint.

“My painting practice has emerged as a part of my ongoing exploration into the materiality of paint and how I can navigate my orientation within arts practice. As a queer person growing up in Australian heteronormative culture, my lived experiences have generated a sense of ill fit that is ever-present. The ties that have emerged between my queer identity, research, and the materiality of painting has led me to an exploration of how the interconnectedness of practice can generate a sense of belonging and how that also speaks to my sexual identity. Multiplicities, binaries, repetitions, and dualities are all tropes in my work, evoking the back-and-forth nature of being queer. An ever present, non-human alter ego emerges in the form of a green and white stripe which binds my work together, present in each composition. Other reoccurring motifs, like dark skies, vintage cars, foreign urban environments, and assorted garments create a narrative that speaks to my queer subjectivity. Upon reflection, I have come to see the act of painting is an important part of orienting and finding my bearings in the world.” ~ Brenton Drechsler

Opening Night

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Opening Night

  • Artist
    Andrea Huelin
  • Dates
    5 Jul—11 Aug 2024
  • Catalogue
    Download now

Opening Night is the first body of work created in Andrea Huelin‘s new Melbourne Studio, worlds away from the tropical climes of Cairns, where she previously based her practice. For an artist so attuned to the nuances of light, it feels entirely natural that this change of scenery can be felt in Huelin’s newest paintings.

In this exhibition, little ensembles of eclectic vessels, glassware and tchotchkes gleaned from inner-city op-shops appear awash with the ambient glow of vintage table lamps, set agains thick, velvety curtains in cloistered nighttime settings.

The result is a fabulous air of theatricality that’s reflected in this exhibitions title. Where we were once used to observing spiky tangles of tropical flora, the melodramatic nocturnes of Opening Night present elegant masses of gladioli, orchids and other blooms that the viewer might imagine being heaped on the thespian’s dressing table after a standing ovation.

This is Andrea Huelin’s first solo exhibition at Michael Reid Southern Highlands. For information on paintings available to acquire, please contact danielsoma@michaelreid.com.au. An exclusive preview catalogue can also be downloaded here.

High Country

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High Country

Over her five years with Michael Reid, Waugh has forged a deeply original visual language. She wields her brush like a ballpoint pen, following the loops and arcs of a signature. The effect is one of rippling movement, as though these paintings were realised in the midst of striding through the bush and meandering down fire trails, rather than from a fixed and distant vantage point. By treating her brush in this way, Waugh proclaims an affinity with the essential principle of this immense country: it is never constant: always in flux.

With High Country, Melanie Waugh has absorbed the colours and boulder-strewn terrain of Cathedral Rock National Park on Gumbaynggirr and Anaiwan country, allowing this beguiling notch of the New England Tablelands to modify and inflect both her palette and forms. Located an hour’s drive from Waugh’s family home on the NSW Mid North Coast, Cathedral Rock holds deep significance for the artist. “In this series,” she writes, “I have continued with painting places of rest and solace. Here, ancient volcanic rocks have formed and created a natural sculpture park that is deeply immersive.”

Waugh holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the National Art School and a Master of Arts from UNSW. She has garnered recognition as a finalist in several prestigious art prizes, including the Hawkesbury Art Prize (2019), the King’s School Art Prize (2020), the National Emerging Art Prize (2021), and the 9×5 Landscape Prize (2021).

High Country is the last opportunity for collectors to acquire new pieces from Waugh in 2024.

Autumn Fruit and Flowers

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Autumn Fruit and Flowers

  • Artist
    Louise Anders
  • Dates
    1—27 Jul 2024

Titled “Autumn Fruit and Foliage,” this small offering of six perfectly composed, beautifully resolved still-life paintings marks Louise Anders’ first new release at the gallery in over a year. This collection follows her shortlisting in the prestigious 2023 Lester Art Prize.

Trained in classical painting and drawing methods, Louise’s artistic journey began in 2015 when she left a decade-long career as a scientist to pursue her passion for art. She later completed her studies at the Grand Central Atelier in New York under Jacob Collins. Collins’ style of classical realism—which enshrines the representational mode of Dutch (and broadly Northern European) vanitas—clearly influences her work.

Like Collins, Anders asserts the continuing value of traditional painterly precepts: close and direct observation of her subject, fidelity to the way things truly appear, and an almost scholarly focus on training and technique.

Having returned to her hometown of Adelaide, where she established a studio in the picturesque Adelaide Hills, Anders draws inspiration from her local environment and close observations of nature’s cyclical rhythms.

Observing buds bloom, blossoms transforming into fruit, and leaves fade and fall, she gathers these elements from her garden, capturing them from life and deftly rendering the intricate beauty of nature through a graceful interplay of light and shadows.

Works from “Autumn Fruit and Foliage” by Louise Anders are now available to acquire

Always Felt Like Home

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Always Felt Like Home

  • Artist
    Stacey Mrmacovski
  • Dates
    18 Jun—21 Jul 2024

There is great power in simplicity, and with an economy of stroke, so much can be said of the landscape Stacey Mrmacovski conjures. Based in Melbourne/Wurundjeri, Mrmacovski is inspired by the colours and lighting of the Australian landscape, and her works are purely emotive depictions influenced by both Impressionism and Expressionism.

Stacey makes use of the impasto technique, which requires heaping paint onto the canvas and quickly whipping and slicing it into form. This thickened paint records gestures in a way that acrylic simply cannot. Moving closer to any one of these five paintings, one can appreciate the intricate peaks and troughs of the paint – as though it were its own kind of landscape.

The artist’s decision to serialize the titles of these works by Roman numerals and part numbers underscores the importance of viewing them as a cohesive body. This body transitions from darker shades, suggesting a Turner-esque storm or tempest, to lighter tones, which take on a misty and ethereal appearance—evoking the sensation of observing rapidly changing weather over an ocean.

Muddy Water

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Muddy Water

  • Artist
    Carly Le Cerf
  • Dates
    31 May—25 Jun 2024

Following the debut of Unfolding at Perth Council House Gallery, WA, Muddy Water is Carly Le Cerf’s first solo exhibition at Michael Reid Southern Highlands. Muddy Water is an epic painterly tribute to the Pilbara, capturing its breathtaking topography with dynamic gestural forms, textural details and vivid earth tones.

“Arranging elements within each panel guides the eye, conveying a sense of vastness,” says Le Cerf, who begins each work by immersing herself in the landscape and translating the emotions that arise. “My aim is to allow viewers to visually ‘walk through’ the landscape.”

The power of the artist’s paintings derives in part from her attention to materiality, which simultaneously evokes the environment’s granular, gritty detail while zooming out to convey its vast, heroic, elemental heft. “Using encaustic – a medium of beeswax, pigment and damar resin – adds tactile and sensory dimensions to my work,” says Le Cerf.

“I strive to not only replicate visuals but also evoke the emotional and sensory aspects of the landscape, exploring my relationship with it,” says the artist, who begins each series by immersing herself in the landscape, recording her time in the field with sketches and colour swatches that translate her emotional response. “My aim is to convey the awe I felt as the morning sun bathed the landscape.”

Muddy Water is on view in our top floor gallery at Michael Reid Southern Highlands until Tuesday, 25 June.

Savour

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Savour

  • Artist
    Llael McDonald
  • Dates
    6 Jun—6 Jul 2024

Llael McDonald, a seasoned artist with over twenty-seven years of experience, paints meditative still-life works that honour the classical genre of vanitas. The pieces that form Savour – her latest solo offering for Michael Reid Southern Highlands – are appropriately characterised by their moody and introspective tone.

Across eleven oil paintings, Llael depicts lusciously formed fruits, flowers, and fine china, set before darkened tonal grounds. A Baroque sensibility is achieved in the artist’s deft balancing of light, as well as her rigorous commitment to attaining an exact likeness of her subjects. But the artist’s works, while indebted to a movement that took form centuries ago, are not maudlin advertisements for the inexorable passage of time. They are bursting with life and rejoice in the quiet, often dramatic beauty of simple things.

There is a filmic, soft-brushed surface quality to Llael’s ten pieces in Savour – achieved by the artist’s slow, almost meditative, painting process. One senses that Llael takes a certain refuge in art-making – it’s promise of long, uninterrupted periods of focus and attention. Indeed, when she describes Savour as a “ celebration of the power of food to unify” – the image of a dining table is conjured: another ritual that, like art making, offers a chance of reprieve from the din and distractions of our daytime lives. 

For such compressed and spare compositions, the pieces in Savour continue to offer up new, surprising details to the returning viewer – such that her masses of brushwork harbour small images likely missed on first glance. 

Llael’s work appears in collections across Australia and internationally (England, France and USA). She now has a studio in the Victorian highlands where she continues her painting practices.

A Collector’s View II: Haven in the heart of Berrima 

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A Collector’s View II: Haven in the heart of Berrima 

  • Artist
    Bonita Kemarre Woodman, Catherine Field, Darlene Kemarre Woodman, Denise Ngwarraye Bonney, Julianne Ross Allcorn, Julz Beresford, Kerri Kerley, Kristen Burgham, Kristy Hussey, Lori Pensini, Lucy Vader, Melanie Waugh, Meg Walters, Neridah Stockley, Rosie Kemarre Morton, Rosina Gunjarrwanga, Sarah McDonald, Sophie Sachs

Walking through the home of this Southern Highlands collector is to embark on a passage from the original heritage architecture of the front (central dormer window, high-pitched galvanized iron roof, bull-nosed verandah) to a more modern, minimalist arrangement in the rear, with an impressive vaulted ceiling and oversized south and west-facing windows.

This spanning of time and design sensibilities is also reflected in their art collection, which balances classical landscape pieces done in oils (judiciously selected from antiques stores) with contemporary works of figurative abstraction, held in spare, shadowbox frames.

Pairing new art acquisitions with antique works is a brilliant way to give context to your collection, to anchor emerging voices in the Australian scene with choice pieces from the turn of the century or earlier. A rich collision of styles can be struck, creating a potent record of changing values, from the academy style of yore to the expanded field of today.

It can also be a useful way of seeing, on one wall, just how a contemporary artist borrows, and meaningfully departs from tradition, throwing their experimentations into even sharper relief.

Work from First Nations painters, carvers, and weavers is at the very forefront of this collection. Seen leaning beside a sleigh-style daybed is a piece from Rosina Gunjarrwanga, adorned with ‘rarrk’ or abstract crosshatching and representative of the design for the crow totem ancestor called ‘Djimarr’. Today, this being exists in the form of a rock, which is permanently submerged at the bottom of Kurrurldul Creek—a sacred site south of Maningrida (Arnhem Land, NT).

The staggering Artist of Ampilatwatja piece that hangs between two studded club chairs is credited with the hand of three women: Denise Ngwarraye Bonney, Bonita Kemarre Woodman, and Darlene Kemarre Woodman (following the strong matriarchal lineage of this community). Ampilatwatja paintings are defined by resplendent arrays of colour and detailed dot patterns depicting the flowering plants, wide blue skies, and green plains of their Country, northeast of Alice Springs on the Aherrenge Aboriginal Land Trust.

A distinctive feature of their work is an overhead perspective of plants used for ‘Arreth’ (strong bush medicine), as seen in our available piece from Rosie Kemarre Morton.

Beneath the collaborative Ampilatwatja work, and set upon a small chest, is a symmetrically-handled vase from Kristy Hussey—mirroring the pleasing balance struck by the identical chairs and patterned cushions.

Large south-and west-facing windows in the dining/lounge room open out into an exquisitely maintained garden, integrating indoors and out and allowing natural light to gather in pools. The garden surrounds a set of mature cold-climate trees, which tower over the home.

Sturdiness, simplicity, and craftsmanship are qualities clearly prized by these collectors, as seen in the robust wooden furnishings, particularly an oversized rustic coffee table made from a reclaimed piece of timber. In their soft furnishings, these collectors have infused nearly every inch with a calming neutral palette of ivories, camels, and ochres.

An available piece from Meg Walters (whose latest solo exhibition Space Between Dreams is now on display in our ground floor gallery at Michael Reid Southern Highlands) energizes the living area, joining one of Julz Beresford‘s Snowy Mountains depictions. Seen below, the tawny hues of a Julianne Ross Allcorn piece are the perfect accompaniment to the rich walnut tones of an antique buffet (her latest solo exhibition Through an Artist’s Journal is now open in the top floor gallery). An urn piece from Kristen Burgham could have plausibly been lifted from an archaeological deposit, but the deliberately intact material ‘trim’ suggests rawness and something still in the process of formation. Her works appear in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Victoria.

The dining table that spans nearly the length of the lounge room is tied together by a Lucy Vader landscape, where one grand horizontal is met by another.

In the adjacent living area, a wicker occasional chair is the ideal spot to bask in the afternoon sun or leaf through an issue of Highlife magazine.

A commanding antique oak hutch supports a piece from the 2023 NEAP Winner, Sophie Sachs. This precise still life, completed on aluminium board, appears to absorb the excess light in the room, throwing it against her painted subjects. A small kinship is achieved between an emerald claret jug and a Granny Smith apple.

A starry morning scene from Melanie Waugh hangs above this collector’s occasional chair. Soft textural brush marks adorn the canvases in thick, fast-worked layers. Below this, eucalyptus leaves burst forth from a Catherine Field vessel.

In a home that forbids ostentation and banishes clutter, a pair of elemental vessels from esteemed ceramicist Neridah Stockley is exactly what is needed for the kitchen island—and nothing more. Neridah’s compositions take place on a four-dimensional plane, with gestural mark-making winding along each side.

Mirroring the wise old trees that stretch just out of view of the window frame, a piece from Sarah McDonald is a core inclusion in this collector’s kitchen. First introduced as part of Art Station at Michael Reid Murrurundi, McDonald captures the texture of bark and lichen with layers of oil impasto that, when seen against the neutral ground of the linen canvas, appear staggeringly lifelike.

This collector proves that tight corners and slim spaces aren’t to be feared—placing a small still-life from Kerri Kerley beside a charmingly refurbished kitchen hutch. Kerley’s work bursts with radiant colour, energy, and an evocative sense that our past lives are embedded in the objects we accumulate.

A work from Lori Pensini takes pride of place in the entry hall, framed by a floor-to-ceiling library in the sitting room. One feels insulated by the vastness of knowledge contained on the shelves, and this archival sensibility is cleverly mirrored in the Pensini work, which resembles a found photograph, slightly bleached and worn over the years.

The objects that line the shelves are beautifully considered and crucially kept to a minimum, so as never to overshadow the colour play of the book spines, almost like little punctuation marks.

Higher Ground

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Higher Ground

  • Artist
    Emily Gordon
  • Dates
    2 May—2 Jun 2024

Raised in Oakland California, Emily Gordon first moved to Australia in 2005 and now splits her time between downtown Sydney and Gunning NSW. Her limited-release cityscapes explore Sydney’s historic surrounds. Rhythm, light and pattern inform and elevate everyday moments, and the work allows viewers to share in her personal visual narrative. Emily is a represented artist with Michael Reid Northern Beaches, and ‘Higher Ground’ follows four sold out solo shows with the Michael Reid galleries. She is a finalist in the 2024 Ravenswood Art Prize, and previous finalist in the National Emerging Art Prize and Mosman Art Prize.

Higher Ground is a re-examination of familiar surrounds – set on Gadigal Land in the heart of historic Sydney, the works explore a highly examined subject to unearth something new and special to share. The development of the series ran as a dual-process, delving into years of archival photography in the area, mining for untapped gems of inspiration, as well as scaling new heights to capture known vistas from a fresh aspect.

There is compounded meaning in higher ground: when seeking a new perspective, the instinctual choice is to move physically upward, to take in broader surrounds. I explored elevated spaces within – and on top of – buildings and outlooks that brought entirely fresh entry to the subject matter that I have worked with previously (in spite of a crippling fear of heights).

We also head for higher ground seeking safety from danger, and there is an element of searching for respite from anxiety in familiar places, in calming rhythms and transcendent light. Diving back through my photo archives allows me to be subsumed by the quest to find and translate beautiful moments from my past personal narratives and share this sense of found peace.

Strategically, holding the high ground is advantageous, but I am more interested in the moral connotations. In my own seeking of higher ground, I have been undertaking an internal examination toward living in a more principled manner – a journey to better understand ethical precepts cultivated in parallel to these works, which ultimately cannot be divorced from the context of their production.”

~ Emily Gordon 2024

Through An Artist’s Journal

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Through An Artist’s Journal

  • Artist
    Julianne Ross Allcorn
  • Dates
    12 Apr—19 May 2024
  • Catalogue
    Download now

After being thrust into major art collector conversations in 2022, when the Art Gallery of NSW selected her as a finalist in both the Archibald Prize and Wynne Prize, Julianne Ross Allcorn returns to Michael Reid Southern Highlands with an exhibition of paintings conjuring magical impressions of the Australian landscape. In these utterly original works, charismatic critters are glimpsed through overlapping flora and wispy layers of eucalyptus against smatterings of glitter and areas of exposed plywood.

“From top to bottom, left to right, Allcorn’s paintings read as if you are standing within a grove of native trees,” writes Michael Reid OAM of the exquisitely layered thickets of Australian bush brilliantly conjured by the artist with her fine, wisp-like strokes and smatterings of gold-flecked magic.

To receive an exclusive preview or to arrange a viewing appointment at Michael Reid Sydney , please contact danielsoma@michaelreid.com.au

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