Savour

  • Artist
    Llael McDonald
  • Dates
    6 Jun—7 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 ten 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.

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