Art with a difference

Jelle van den Berg's Double Dutch, oil on canvas (sold)

One of the most enlightening art exhibitions staged in the village was opened just before Christmas.

Local artist Jelle van den Berg has been joined by NSW South Coast artists Richard Hook and Leonie Watson in an exhibition titled Figures of Difference.

Expressing aspecting styles, the three artists are providing new and interesting works on display in the museum’s art gallery/exhibition centre.

“This exhibition presents paintings by three Illawarra artists who make use of the human figure. Its rationale is two-fold: to contrast some dramatically different approaches to working with the body in painting and to show how these varied representations also embody very different approaches to the medium and its history,” artist Jelle van den Berg said.

Richard Hooks described his works: “These paintings shift our attention to the ambiguous figure-ground relations of modern painting and abstraction.

“The body is celebrated for its inherent mobility and its potential to generate new structures for paintings.

“However, the figures are not merely arbitrary compositional devices. Each body takes up a position that is always part of some action, moving or still.”

For Leonie Watson, draperies come to stand in for the body by visual analogy: the skin’s surface is evoked by creases, folds, bulges and invaginations that suggest the body’s hidden topographies.

Watson employs drapery as a sculptural object in order to develop a language of unexpected forms for articulating aspects of everyday existence normally hidden from view.

The paintings appropriate Baroque style in their extreme chiaroscuro and their theatricality, but they also recall the inversions of Surrealism and thus acknowledge the continuing relevance of these historical models to contemporary art practice.

The exhibition opened its doors on Saturday December 16 while the conclusion date has been set for March 10, 2018.

All commercial aspects of the paintings are subject to the painter’s whims although the inclination is they are treasured and like the objects in the nearby museum — some are not for sale.

The eyefest is different to what the museum has put on display before — a refreshing montage in scope and interpretation.



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