Jane Aliendi & Kirsty McIntyre, Together Alone. Grainger Gallery. Dairy Road, Fyshwick. Until November 13.
Together Alone showcases the work of Jane Aliendi and Kirsty McIntyre.
Aliendi's works are oil on panel and range in size, the smallest being 25 x 17cm, the largest 65 x 49cm. The pictorial protagonists of her still-lifes are chiefly flora and fruit, singly or in combination, depicted mostly on sharply angled flat surfaces, non-specific, but definitely domestic backgrounds. The spatial configurations in her works are not only visually interesting but also relate to the thematic impulse that informs them.
For Aliendi the everyday, the quotidian objects that we encounter on a daily basis, hold a sense of beauty that is often either ignored or taken for granted. She quietly suggests that beauty can be expressed through intimate confrontations with our surroundings and with appreciating what enlivens our domestic habitats.
Placing her flowers, fruit, vases, and the like, in angled pictorial spaces that push out into the viewers' space creates a finely tuned aesthetic tension that brings the questions she is posing into the forefront.
In Blue Vase Poppy Seeds, a small and beautifully scaled work, a trio of vases (and their shadows) sit on a self-created diagonal and advance through the pictorial space. That space is defined by the rich red of the background wall and the creamy white of the surface on which the vases sit.
The vases and their floral contents break the monochrome backgrounds and imbue a sense of movement into the work. This kinetic element is reinforced in the artist's signature continuation of the picture's motifs outside the pictorial space. The rich blue vase at the front of the picture plane, pushes out of the left-hand front corner and its depiction is purposefully incomplete.
This is a clever aesthetic ploy, sometimes referred to as "tranche de vie" ("slice of life"), that uses the incomplete, or a part of the motif, to depict the whole, the latter visualised by the viewer who knows it is there but in fact doesn't see it. Here the vase trio moves through the space in a strictly defined painterly gesture.
In other works Aliendi plays with the delineation of space and the placements of objects within it. In Forget-Me-Nots the overall surface is activated by the profusion of floral details spread across the tablecloth on which the two vases sit.
The strict diagonal seen above is here softened but is nevertheless absolutely present. The vases push towards the image's right-hand edge. That thrust is broken by the partial depiction of the deep blue vase emblazoned with a floral medallion.
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The same device as used in other works but each is given a singular identity through the artist's skilled understanding of the impact of spatial and formal variation. Aliendi's use of paint is especially attractive.
Paint is applied thickly and its viscous characteristics joyfully celebrated. The activity of painting is as much the subject of these beautiful gems as is the exhortation to embrace the everyday.
Kirsty McIntyre's use of space is markedly different to that of Jane Aliendi. Both demonstrate highly individual approaches to essentially similar subject-matter but both achieve very different ends. McIntyre adopts an aerial viewpoint in her still-lifes.
Viewers look down onto her light-filled compositions populated (mostly) with Australian native flowers.
McIntyre's use of pattern is beautifully controlled. In, for example, Red Apple with Tea Tree, the main motifs sit on a white plate, its vivid whiteness capturing the intricate shadows of the apple and tea tree flowers. The plate sits on a bright tablecloth decorated with floral motifs.
The artist use of an intense light suffuses the overall composition allowing each element to be clearly delineated and hold pictorial autonomy. Light also imbues a sense of McIntyre's capturing a moment in time.
The beautifully random compositions filled with freely dispersed floral and other objects have a sense of delicate movement, of the transitoriness of nature and of the innate beauty in that transitoriness.
Together Alone is a charming exhibition with two distinct artistic personalities showcasing their unique yet related intimate views of their worlds.
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