Olympia series, 2016
Exhibited in Steal at Linton & Kay Galleries (Perth City, Western Australia) 28 May – June 2016.
Curated by Anna Sabadini. Steal is a group show that celebrates the ideas of other painters, even, yes, pinching them. This is a time-honoured tradition – it links with the past and other artists, acknowledging them as sources of regeneration and growth for contemporary work. The ten Perth painters in this exhibition range from established to emerging: George Haynes, Ben Joel, Bec Juniper, Lesley Munro, Tori Benz, Melanie Dare, Ian Williams, Jarrad Martyn and Kim Kim Kim. Anna Sabadini, the curator, as well as a participating artist, has invited them to nick ideas (formal or conceptual) from others in order to develop, challenge, or renew their own practices.
The painting Olympia touches on many different ideas including ‘the gaze’. Through painting from the perspective of inside this painting I seek to re-contextualise this pivotal concept as well as investigate the process of painting itself.
I am interested in perspective and how context changes meaning and understanding. More than 15 years ago I visited this idea of painting from within the viewpoint of the painting itself. Looking out from the inside of the painting. I originally chose Olympia because of its subject matter. The gaze and how women are perceived. At the time Manet’s painting rocked the social conventions. A subject such as this gazing back defiantly at the audience. A nude woman being more than just an object and/or reference to a historical or mythological event.
I wanted to address this idea of the gaze. Not just of the view from inside this historically significant painting, the change in attitudes to the painting’s subjects, the model’s gaze or the audience’s gaze but also my gaze as the artist. I wanted to turn the painting around. The underbelly of the painting becoming the viewer. The audience taking on this perspective so the creator and the act of creating becoming the subject. I wanted to see what was underneath.