A while ago, Vinh asked me to open this show. At the time I laughed and said: Are you bloody mad? Because although I was very pleased and flattered to be asked, the caliber of the art and artists you see today is pretty high. Let me explain a little more fully (Artists are in alphabetical order):
42.0 x 32.0 cm, Watercolour and pen
Anthony Van Lam: Is there nothing this lad can’t do? He’s already earned his creative stripes with his dancewear and fashion label but Anthony is already making a name for himself as an artist. His work is deeply personal and you can see references to the fashion industry in many of his images. As an emerging artist, his dedication to his craft and commitment to deliver is impressive and I can see his style evolving with each new show.
28.0 x 28.0 cm, Watercolour
David Hayden: I was recently blown away by David’s abstracts as I knew him for the intricate, delicate and beautifully presented miniature sculptures. As one artist whose ambition is to become an abstract painter, I understand how astonishing it is to turn from producing extremely precise, detailed miniatures sculptures to expressive and free abstracts such as his.
57.0 x 74.0 cm, Watercolour on Arches paper 300 gsm
Helen Dubrovich: There’s something about Helen’s work that keeps me captivated. Some of her pieces I have likened to Chagall and Kandinsky – there’s an unmistakable Russian influence. Helen’s work is constantly evolving and I confess now that more than once I’ve muttered some uncharitable things under my breath when she’s hit on a perfect technique I’ve tried for weeks without success on.
110.0 x 80.0 cm, Mixed media oil acrylic ink on canvas
Lino Pierre’s work perfectly balances bold abstracts with well formed figures and detail – you can see his mastery of the human form combined with architectural elements in much of his work making strong, multi-layered works that draw you in for a closer look.
16.0 x 20.0 cm, Ink
Lamice Ali – another of my favourites from the Artshine stable – I was blown away with Lamice’s detailed drawings when I saw them in another gallery and was so pleased to find her here. Lamice’s works are almost hyper realistic in style but they also capture fleeting moments of magic and whimsy that lift them to something else.
40.0 x 30.0 cm, Pen & Ink on paper
Marie Widolf’s alter ego Gertrude is a stroke of genius: she is beautifully drawn – a testament to Marie’s grasp of anatomical drawing and skill and the humour is gentle but sharply and brilliantly observed. Gertrude is just starting her life. Watch this space – Posy Simmons has a run for her money.
Oil on canvas
54.0 x 44.0 cm
Naomi Charles: creates beautiful, lyrical abstracts with a colour palette that has me going in shades of admiration and outright jealousy. Her work is expressive and modern but in my mind it also recalls some of the paintings from the Blue rider artist movement at the beginning of the 19th Century.
Acrylic on canvas
76.0 x 38.0 cm
Olga Kolesnik: Olga’s strong still lifes bring to mind the work of Chris Canning and thea proctor but she is neither – she’s Olga. Her colours and layers of paint make for rich and sumptuous works that will liven any wall. There’s no twee chocolate box art here – what is lovely is the Australasian influence in the light and colours in works of a very European style.
Acrylic on silk
100.0 x 65.0 cm
Violetta Kurbanova: I’ve been a fan of Violetta’s delicate watercolours on silk since she introduced me to them a couple of years ago. Her technique is astonishing and the amount of precise detail she manages to achieve with one of the most unforgiving mediums is nothing short of inspired. Also, while I wasn’t paying attention Violetta has shown work regularly and has steadily acquired awards and commendations.
These artists would probably be termed (as I am), ‘emerging artists’ – a name that I really dislike. Some have returned to art after busy careers and I think I’m right when I say that we all are still experimenting and evolving. I have watched the work of these artists only for a short period of say 1-3 years and I have seen their work develop and evolve at a rate is frankly astonishing as an old hand: the development and assurance, the line work and compositions are all amazing for people who are often producing art around other commitments.
So in closing: As an artist, a buyer/collector who has been in the art game for some time, I believe that it’s at shows like this that good investments are made. I think it is true when they say that Australia is the hardest country in the world to sell art. I have first hand experience of this – people have money to invest in art but they tend to buy what their interior designers/financial advisors tell them. Dreadful. You don’t get the next Wendy Sharpe, Charles Blackman or Cressida Campbell at Olsen Irwin, Saatchi or Sydney contemporary. They’re already at the top of their game and you need deep pockets. The best collections and possibly most valuable have been made by people who buy with their heart and their eye – who bought work from students or emerging artists for relatively small sums but loved them anyway. .