Geometric abstraction focus of solo exhibition
Sunday, October 16, 2011 at 9:37AM
Denise Smithson

Beth Kirkland - Untitled 5 (Source_derivations 1 series) 2011 oil on panel 41x40cmBeth Kirkland - RiverSea 2010 oil on panel 41x41cmAlbany, Western Australia based Canadian artist Beth Kirkland will hold her first solo Perth exhibition at Nyisztor Studio later this month.

Source_derivations 1 opens on October 29 and will showcase Kirkland’s geometric abstraction to a new audience.

Originally from Toronto, Ontario, Kirkland has lived in Australia since 1975. She has exhibited regularly in Western Australia and Sydney, and is also a visual arts lecturer at the Great Southern Institute in Albany, WA.

Award-winning artist Ron Nyisztor from Nyisztor Studio was looking forward to Kirkland exhibiting in the artist-run space in Melville, as he thought her work was interesting and unique. He particularly welcomed the chance for a regional WA artist to show their work.

 For Kirkland, the use of abstraction in her art is a way of expressing a sense of place.

 “Overall, abstraction is my way of grasping, rendering and reconciling my experiences. In the case of Source-derivations 1, these experiences arise from my visit to Gibraltar Point Centre for the Arts in Toronto in 2009,” she said.

“I’m interested in how abstraction might express the sense of being out of place or of being in two places at once -feelings familiar to the ‘un-reconciled migrant’. The context of this exploration was the city.

“In 2009, I spent three months in my home town of Toronto, living and working at an arts centre on the Toronto Islands, a recreational area just 10 minutes from the city by ferry. I walked much of downtown Toronto photographing pre-existing monochromes or grids, constructing a portrait of the city.

“I liked the juxtaposition of the order and calm I find in geometric abstraction with the unruly city environment in which these works are located.”

This exploration led to the work presented in Source_derivations 1.

“The paintings are derived from the photographs taken in Toronto, which are included in the exhibition. Some of the resulting paintings may be interpreted as jarring, others quite beautiful,” Kirkland said.

“There are consistencies in the language that I have used which is the repetitive mark-making, the paint strokes, the stripes, the division of the painting surface and also the architectural forms - there are shapes that are not organic but building-like and give the feeling of the built environment landscape translated into flatness.

“I have a background in weaving, and I sometimes think my painting has been influenced by the often repetitious processes involved, as well as the fine fibres I used to work with. The lines in some of my painting recall the warp threads suspended loosely within the interior space of the loom prior to their being tightened for weaving.”

Kirkland has just returned from a second residency at the Gibraltar Point Centre for the Arts in Toronto where she has conducted research into the Renaissance use of architectural backgrounds in religious paintings. She intends that this research lead to Source_derivations 2, to be held in Sydney in 2012.

Kirkland was a finalist in 2009 and 2011 $25,000 City of Albany Art Prize, Albany, WA, - the national annual acquisitive prize for paintings.

Source_derivations 1 by Beth Kirkland opens at Nyisztor Studio, 391 Canning Highway, Melville, WA, on October 29 until November 13. Gallery hours Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 2pm-5pm.

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