Oh! Fortuna 2014, Colville Gallery, Hobart

Only slightly late! Works from the previous show at Colville Gallery to celebrate the new show opening last week. Photos to follow, but in the meantime, here’s the statement of intent from Oh! Fortuna, a difficult show to create.

The project references mine and others’ varying responses to life’s challenges and difficulties.

Being an Anglo-Saxon, young Australian female does not provide a lot of cultural reference material or life experience to work with as an artist. But when big things do happen in our lives, though perhaps relatively minor in the great scheme of things, they change us. I’ve seen many a Facebook quote along the lines of ‘It’s not what happens to us but how we handle it that determines who we are’ etc. I’ve personally had some passionate, and ultimately human, responses to difficulties and disappointments, but not everyone reacts the same way.

Because a difficult moment did arise in my life, the project began as ‘Angry people being angry at pointless things to be angry at’ because that’s how I felt at the time. The best part of figurative painting, however, is meeting a host of fascinating people (models, photographers, model wranglers) who all feel and act differently in these situations. One, when asked to ‘act angry’ for her painting, said simply, ‘I don’t really get angry’. It was a revelation for someone who had never really considered that getting outraged is just one way to deal with a problem. I realised I could recognise female characters from history and mythology who also approached problems in different ways, fascinatingly mirroring their modern female counterparts (although usually with some extra magic involved).

So the project, at risk of sounding trite, was cathartic. I’ve learnt an awful lot about people and myself and if that’s not the point of my figurative painting, I don’t know what is.

Aura, oil on linen, 50x65.5cm Pandora II, oil on wood panel, 50x40cm Saint Birgitta has Second Thoughts, oil on wood panel, 30x30cm Saint Birgitta, oil on wood panel, 30x30cm Psychopomp, oil on linen, 56.5x71cm Por Que No Los Dos? Wolfgang and Helen, oil on wood panel, 40x50cm Athena of Limited Patience, oil on board, 40x50cm Porcia Catonis, oil on linen, 101x77cm Pandora I, oil on wooden panel, 40x50cm

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