Exhibition: Sam Massey, 'A Lullaby For Suffering'
Finding a perfect balance of light and dark is a challenge many painters face when working in the realm of realism. Inspired by European travels, Sam Massey leans into the dark; both in palette and subject, his oil paintings are rich and lustrous.
A local painter, arts educator and Boom studio artist, we are so thrilled to have Sam's debut solo exhibition at Boom.
"A Lullaby for Suffering resulted from my exploration into beauty in darkness in conjunction with my ongoing journey as a student of representational oil painting.
The first seeds of this exhibition were sown over four years ago when I made a small painting of four roses. These seeds have been nourished by my travels to Prague, Vienna and Madrid and fertilised by the poetic darkness of Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Nick Cave. I set to painting this dark garden and found serenity in the process. This garden, for me, became a place of unending tranquillity.
In the Bible it says ‘God saw that the light was good. Then he separated the light from the darkness’. The idea that light and darkness were briefly unified compels and comforts me. The darkness of these images expresses the curiosity I have towards this thought. The act of turning these dark pictures into paintings then became a refuge from the slings and arrows of life’s absurdity, a lullaby for suffering."
Sam Massey is an award-winning artist who completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) at the National Art School, Sydney in 2015. In the following years he produced two major bodies of work. The first was selected for exhibition at the Gosford Regional Gallery as part of Emerging 2017. The subsequent series formed his first solo exhibition in 2018.
In 2019 Massey made his long-awaited pilgrimage to Europe. It was here that he encountered first-hand the work of the old masters, most notably Velazquez, whose influence has led to several career highlights. That same year he won the Traditional Fisher’s Ghost Art Award and painted his evocative portrait of Archibald winner Guy Maestri. This would be hung in the 2020 Salon des Refuses to critical acclaim. 2020 also saw Massey awarded the Mayoral Commendation for his painting The Gates, the first of his dark floral works that have become an ongoing branch of his practice. This branch bore further fruit in 2021 with a two-person show at Home Gallery which saw all but two of the series acquired by collectors old and new.
Between these highlights Massey has participated in several group exhibitions and had dozens of other pieces selected in prizes across the country. Whilst his work is most heavily collected in Sydney and Australia more broadly, he has recently entered International collections.