Artists in Isolation
Janet Dawson, Ashley Frost, Rod Holdaway, Steve Lopes & Ian Marr
9 June - 25 July 2020
Solitude has often been a natural state for artists to flourish. For many, it is a choice and a way to retreat and focus on making art and the generation of ideas. This time of global pandemic, and an age of social distancing and self-isolation has meant a great shift in the way we engage socially and within both our public and private spaces. Despite many artists’ penchant for solitude, these shifts to isolation have greatly impacted the ways artists have been engaging with their art. Artists in Isolation showcases the works of JANET DAWSON, ASHLEY FROST, ROD HOLDAWAY, STEVE LOPES and IAN MARR and reveals how their art practices have continued and even evolved over this time of pandemic induced isolation.
JANET DAWSON’s ongoing desire to explore and expose the resonance of a place emerges in her works of the coastal landscape in Southern Victoria where she now lives. Her small pastel plein air drawings depict her home in the quiet dawn hours. A small painting depicting a bustling street scene of people outside a supermarket highlights the day-to-day public social interactions once taken for granted. ASHLEY FROST’s move to abstraction, and the drive to create this series of abstract paintings comes from a combination of lockdown, cancelled exhibitions and long isolation. Frost feels he is once again painting for himself rather than focusing on creating outcome orientated artwork. He refers to the term Fluffism; coined by like-minded artists to express this return to painting as a flow of creative consciousness. A return to an indulgent dimension of ‘fluffing around’, the Fluffist still maintains the conventions of colour theory, compositional elements and linear spatial relationships within the work. For FROST, this crisis induced shift and temporary movement away from painting for audience and expectation has been missed.
ROD HOLDAWAY's paintings have often reflected the transmutable and elusive nature of social interactions in public spaces. They encourage reflection upon the social constructs and contracts that underpin much of human behaviour in an exposed social context. Isolation has meant these public spaces that are typically the subject of HOLDAWAY’s work have been regularly void of people. This is seen in his recent drawings of public places such as Heazlett Park at Avoca. In these figureless landscapes, groupings of trees take on a haunting human likeness. These particular drawings are made digitally through an iPad; analogous to the ways people have adapted in order to engage with each other and the outside world during this pandemic. An avid traveller and plein air painter, STEVE LOPES finds his practice confined to his home studio during pandemic isolation. His paintings still reflect a yearning for travel and engagement with the landscape. Lopes situates his figures within landscapes at points of solitude and contemplation. The figures appear huddled, downcast and introspective. There is melancholic refrain in this series, as each figure appears disengaged from both their broader surroundings and the audience. IAN MARR’s panoramic paintings capture vast, uninterrupted, and rambling landscapes. Living rurally as a farmer has meant his isolation experience is comparatively less claustrophobic compared to those in urban locations. Depictions of these expansive vistas from the artists perspective looking out from indoor and domestic spaces speaks to this separation from the wider world. Glints of copper peak through MARR’s warm colour palette of these landscapes; appropriately twinkling and glowing with promise and allure as they catch the light.
** There will not be an opening event for this exhibition due to the current and necessary pandemic measures. All are welcome to visit the exhibition during our open hours, as well as view the exhibition online and through our social media channels.