Monday, May 18, 2020

Sydney's Nanda\Hobbs Gallery presents the paintings of Caroline Zilinsky

Faceless, Caroline Zilinsky, oil on linen, Nanda\Hobbs Gallery, Sydney  

One thing that I have really missed since the covid-19 shutdown is gallery visits. I can no longer afford to buy, but looking remains a pleasure. I mention this now because I received an email from Sydney's Nanda/Hobbs, Gallery. It began:
Titanic by Caroline Zilinsky opens at Nanda\Hobbs—enigmatic and revealing portraits painted without without fear or favour. 
“The world started melting down and you said let’s have the show. I thought the world may not exist in a few months so I said yes but it felt a bit like shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. May as well play the violin to the bitter end and go down doing what I love.”
I blush to admit that I hadn't heard of Caroline although she is an established painter. Now back in Armidale, I am struggling to come to grips with New England painters, past and present, let alone those from elsewhere. However, I was really struck by Caroline's striking paintings.
The Senator, Caroline Zilinsky, oil on linen
Both the paintings so far included in this post are realist in style with an underlying message. Of the two, I prefer Faceless, although The Senator is striking.

There are various descriptions of Caroline's painting. Her artist's profile states:
Caroline Zilinsky is the most enigmatic of painters.  She is obsessive, highly skilled, sharp witted and possesses an eye that drills into the very soul of her sitters, revealing their most intimate truths. Her unrelenting artistic drive is intoxicating—ten-hour days at the easel is the studio norm. 
When viewing Zilinsky’s paintings, one cannot be an innocent bystander. As an artist, she has the ability to metaphorically reach out and grasp the viewer, compelling us to engage in a dialogue with her protagonists.  Her works inhabit an interesting place in contemporary Australian painting. She echoes many of the themes of the Australian Modernism greats and stylistically, acknowledges a debt to their introspective investigations into an uncomfortable world.
I suspect all that's true, although as a result there is something uncomfortably ungainly about her work. Anthea may, but would I want her too?
Anthea may or may not, Caroline Zilinsky, oil on linen
There is something brave about Nanda/Hobbs proceeding with an exhibition in current circumstances, I am not sure whether the NSW rules yet allow open viewings, but you can visit by arrangement.

You can view the full catalogue of works here along with a short video with Caroline and Ralph Hobbs discussing the work in Titanic.

In person viewings in the gallery can be made by appointment—Please contact the Gallery on 02 8599 8000 to arrange at time. The exhibition closes on 5 June.


Anonymous said...

Apropos of nothing:

"The clumsy system of public gatherings had been long since abandoned; neither Vashtin or her audience stirred from their rooms. Seated in her armchair she spoke, while they in their armchairs heard her, fairly well, and saw her, fairly well."

- The Machine Stops - E.M.Forster. Published 1909

(Read it years ago, and it has stayed with me as some measure of possible future)

Another quote:

"The woman was confused, and apologized for not having let her fall. People never touched one another. The custom had become obsolete"


ps: not a fan of the artist, but that's ok - was an interesting read/browse.

Jim Belshaw said...

kvd, you have an uncanny ability to find interesting material. Those quotes are apposite both to our current situation and indeed to the artist's apparent withdrawal from the world.

I haven't read any E M Forster including that short story. I have only skimmed it so far; will read it properly later.