Space and Place: Elaine d’Esterre and Nicky Perkin

Posted 6 April 2017

Surfcoast Art Space 7-30 April, 2017

Shop 2, 103 Great Ocean road (Bottom Of Noble St.), Anglesea

Nicky Perkin and Elaine d’Esterre are two Surf Coast artists who share a love both of painting and printmaking.  Their unique creative processes, however, are filtered through very different world views.

A shared exhibition at the Surfcoast Art Space, ‘Space and Place: Elaine d’Esterre and Nicky Perkin’, opening on the 11th of April, offers the chance for their work to enter into a sort of dialogue.  Perkin’s delicately blurred visions evoke the essence of place,  in a response to the very different Australian landscape for this London-born and raised artist.  Blaring blue Lake Mungo skies dominate d’Esterre’s abstract compositions in the show. In a faint echo of Australian indigenous philosophy, her works seem to simultaneously map the dimensions of time and space.

D’Esterre makes work about significant places, not perhaps so much significant on a personal level, but more in a geological and environmental sense. Lake Mungo, where Elaine was inspired to make the series of paintings on display in ‘Space and Place’, is one such place.  Along with the rest of the Willandra Lakes Region in western NSW, where it is situated, Mungo was World Heritage Listed in 1981. With the archaeological discoveries of the ancient human remains known as Mungo Man and Lady, the site was seen as representing the major stages in Earth’s evolutionary history, songoing geological processes Australia’s indigenous history.  D’Esterre’s interest in deep geological time, and how we perceive it, is expressed in her layered and complex abstractions.

Her artistic process involves creating “preparatory drawings that lead into a type of deconstruction and then a revisualisation of geological forms” in an attempt at “a visual simulation of Nature’s narrative, timeline and transformation”.

Nicky Perkin’s work evoke strong feelings despite their soft mistiness, and it is not surprising to learn that her abstracted landscapes are influenced by the British Romantic painter J.M.W. Turner.  She particularly responds she says to Turner’s “emphasis on an emotional response to nature, the way in which sun, fire, smoke, wind and water affect and transform the natural world”.

Perkin describes her work as having “a deliberate silence”, and says that she presents  “a space” with which she hopes to engage the viewer.  “It is in our nature to fill that void” she explains “bringing our own interpretation to the viewing, remembering a similar journey or view “.

In describing her creative process, Perkin says “I endlessly apply pigment and rub or  scratch it away to reveal the surface underneath”.  These excavations reveal more than just her materials.  They also have an uncanny knack of revealing the heart of the viewer.

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