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Memory + Paint / Sally Stokes, Ben Crawford & Louise Tate

Sally Stokes

Sally Stokes is a Sydney based abstract landscape artist who works from her studio amongst the angophoras in Dural and her boatshed studio in a remote part of the Hawkesbury river. Sally has completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Masters of Analytical Psychology. She has had sixteen solo shows and numerous group shows. She has been a finalist in the Sulman prize and her work has been acquired by many private collectors in Australia and internationally.

“Each winter that we head for the desert we can background the dismal news and the scandals of politicians, and feel a connection to this ancient land. Amazement. Love . Connection. Sustained Joy. The energy of land under extremes. I walk. I draw. I sit. Then it’s back to the studio and paint.”

Louise Tate

Louise Tate is an emerging artist whose practice explores historical narratives through painting. Having recently completed a Bachelor of Fine Art with 1st Class Honours from RMIT University, she currently works from her studio in the industrial arts precinct in Collingwood, Melbourne.

Her work often explores the overlapping of narratives within physical space, drawing on her own many-layered experiences of both womanhood and the complex histories of national identity. This is driven by an enduring consideration of the place of painting in history.

Louise has exhibited both locally and interstate, and has been the recipient of several awards and residencies. Recent work developed in Kyneton (Victoria) and funded by The Macfarlane Fund, juxtaposes imagery of historic colonial architecture, ancient Greek monuments and the rugged landscape of the Macedon region. Recently Louise was selected for the Protegé program at Jan Murphy Gallery in Brisbane. She will also be developing a new body of work as artist in residence at the NARS Foundation in New York in 2019.

“Drawn from my visits to Italy, Portugal and Greece, family photographs, state archives of early settler life in Victoria, and literature, this body of work is a collection of both remembered and imagined histories. A Japanese vase in an Italian museum collection, crumpled bed sheets, figures in a sugar plantation. These works form a fictionalised narrative of people and places that linger on in memory; of women I have known briefly, deeply, or never before. The hands of a great aunt, clasp together in a gesture of familial concern. Paulina, who waits for her mother on the island of Spetses. In these paintings, colour becomes a way to reimagine the lives of others; of imbuing faded memories and photographs with a new vitality. Each piece builds up painted layers of transparent colour, texture, and delicate mark-making, to create luminous images that resist the linearity of time but rather hover in the warm recess of memory.”

Ben Crawford

Ben Crawford is a painter in the post-modern tradition. He takes inspiration from a variety of sources, and uses a mixture of mediums to make his work, from traditional painting techniques with oil and synthetic polymer, to spray paint and mono-printing. His work is often bursting with colour. Surreal elements transform the traditional landscape into a somewhat mystical realm, charged with mystery. Figures, architecture and landmarks imbue Ben’s paintings with a sense of narrative, anchoring his work tentatively to reality.

“My work is often autobiographical, with stories and characters from my life informing and populating the paintings. For me, painting is about trying to find my place in the landscape. Consciously or not, my paintings are sort of like maps which I navigate this world by. Sometimes I find my way, sometimes I get horribly lost…”

Born in Cork, Ireland, Ben graduated from C.C.A.D in 2007 with a BA in Fine Art. Since 2011 he has lived in northern New South Wales, with his wife and two daughters, painting from his studio situated on an organic banana plantation. Ben has exhibited and sold his work in both hemispheres, and continues to build a strong following in Europe and Australia.

“Not being blessed with a sharp memory, I find details of the past tend to become distorted over time. While this may appear to be a limitation of sorts it has, in fact, provided an interesting springboard for this series of paintings. These pieces deal with the mythologising of memory and how we interweave the stories of others into our own experience of life.

In some cases the paintings deal specifically with events from my own life (‘Pilgrimage’ ‘Boy with Octopus’), while in others they represent an effort to interpret and visualise anecdotes that have been passed on to me (‘Always the Boy Wonder’).

Whatever the story’s origin, it has been my intention to let the artistic process add to the myths, harnessing the abstract quality of the paint itself as a driving narrative, thereby further distilling their memory.”

Memory + Paint runs until 12 August. To see a full listing click here.