For those who follow both our gallery and Michael Reid Northern Beaches, the name Kate Vella will be very familiar. She is known for capturing the beauty of homegrown flowers, fruit and vintage crockery on her canvases. For this Special Release she has turned her eye to the landscape surrounding her home and studio in the Southern Highlands of NSW and focussed in on the sheds and outbuildings.
Since her debut solo exhibition, ‘Antidote’, in Sydney in 2019, Vella has gone on to participate in numerous shows and collaborations. Her work has also been selected for various art prizes, including the Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize 2020, the Kangaroo Valley Art Prize 2020, and the Meroogal Women’s Art Prize 2020. In July 2022 she was awarded 1st prize at The Bowral Art Gallery Still Life Prize judged by John Bokor and in March 2023 she was awarded the Hannah Forbes Memorial Prize as part of the BOCCA Art Prize judged by Ben Quilty for her painting ‘Corrugated Iron Shed’.
“Through my paintings, I explore the captivating beauty and profound significance of sheds and outbuildings nestled within the rural landscape of the Southern Highlands and South Coast regions. These structures, often overlooked or taken for granted, embody a rich tapestry of history, culture, and human connection to the land. They serve as silent witnesses to the evolving agricultural practices and the enduring spirit of the communities they belong to.
With each brushstroke, I strive to convey the inherent character and individuality of each shed and outbuilding. These structures, weathered by time and elements, bear the marks of their history. Cracks, peeling paint, and aged iron become visual testaments to the passage of time and the stories they hold. Through my paintings, I aim to immortalise their essence, capturing their weathered charm, and inviting viewers to contemplate the stories they silently whisper. I aim to honour and celebrate this heritage, paying homage to the hard work, resilience, and connection to the land that they symbolise.”