We are delighted to receive this review of Getting warmer.
Emerging Melbourne based painter Louise Tate has a new show at Geelong’s Boom Gallery, Getting warmer. The show is installed at Boom’s main space until the 12th of July. Louise’s work is concerned with the wonders of the natural world, climatic change and its impact, memory, personal and historic narrative and female identity.
Louise began working on this painterly body of work after returning from a residency in Brooklyn, NY, at the NARS Foundation. The paintings are a far cry from the immense grey, urban canyons that we associate with New York. The show is bound by a colourful languid, unsaturated, light drenched, pastel colour palette, where patterned flora and painterly plant shapes cascade figuratively in vertical broken forms, down framed formats. Although not the artists intention the works remind the viewer of paintings by the Post Impressionist “Les Nabis” group, who painted themes of women in gardens, stylistically adapted from Japanese prints, and re interpreted photographic resources. This late 19th century movement has resurged as historic and influential fodder among contemporary figurative painters like Njideka Akunyili Crosby and Karin Mamma Andersson two of Tate’s influences. Louise like Andersson and Akunyili Crosby employ photographic elements, landscape & memories of the garden as a metaphoric space and recurring theme. Her work is fluid and luminous, utilising dappled shape and shadow to evoke a sort of camouflage patterning that creates a sort of “hide and seek” or “I spy” where the viewer is enticed to find or reveal untold mysteries.
Louise arrived at the theme “Getting warmer” after the impact of the catastrophic events of the 2019 bushfire disaster, that devastated Australia’s east coast. During the summer the skies and air were polluted with smoke and haze, the orange and pink light that it created felt apocalyptic and somewhat foreboding or dystopian. The orange light and heat is evident in the colour palette that Tate has used for this body of work. But the work is not about complete disaster or total loss, it reflects a sort of hope for the earth and the Australian Landscape. In an interview for the Hopper prize the artist describes how the world might look if humans hypothetically no longer exist. “I began to imagine what a world in which we no longer exist would look like. This led to a whole series of work featuring disembodied clothing that seemingly floated amidst an unpopulated Australian landscape.”(1 )
In some of painting’s, ghostly forms of floating clothing represent human absence, an absence that allows a thriving regeneration and rebuilding of a natural order, this is where the “hide and seek” interplay is most effective, evocative and sensitive, revealing a world that can be both bleak and optimistic.
Getting warmer is not just a phrase that describes a climatic condition it is also a phrase we use when we invite someone to find out sorts of mysteries that we may want to reveal. Louise Tate’s work is somewhat puzzling with unsolved problems for the viewer to seek, her painting softly speaks with redolent vigour, its genuine and refreshing given abundance of noise and self promotion in an uncertain and rapidly changing world.
To see a full listing for Getting warmer click here.