Nearness (in a time of separation)

Nearness explores relationships; Ben’s connection to family near and far, Mickey’s affinity to the natural world around him and Ren’s intuitive response to those closest to him. In this uncertain time of enforced separation, these artists reflect on their connections to others through painting.

Irish born Ben Crawford lives and works in the verdant landscape of Currumbin Valley, QLD.

“As I get older I’m getting more and more nostalgic. I think this stems from a few different things in my life; having children has made me think back on my own childhood memories and given me a desire to relive moments in my past; living in Australia for the last ten years has also caused me to reflect on what home means to me. Coupled with these feelings, the events of the past few months have changed all our lives dramatically and amplified impressions of longing for a bygone era. So this is where my head has been while making these paintings. They’re personal, they’re emotional and even cathartic in a way. Sometimes photographs from my family’s collection in Ireland have been the starting point for the work, but a lot of the pieces in this show are based on memories of events from my life or even a distillation of different moments that have melded into one kind of archetypal story in my mind. I’ve found my painting has become a bit more gestural over the past year or so, perhaps as a response to the personal subject matter.”

Local artist Mickey Egan employs painting and drawing to create a rich visual awareness of his world. Depicting landscapes full of colour and form, that blend between a figurative and abstract depicted space. He is currently in residence at Boom’s Factory 21 Studios focused solely on his art practice and is looking to incorporate art & history teaching into his future endeavours.

“Art interests me from an aesthetic, historic & chronological point of view. It’s a visual form of language that I use to explore my observation, notions of broken narrative, abstract fragmentation, psychology, and the human condition. These paintings are an attempt to record natural phenomena, occurrences and encounters with the landscape, a progressive result of drawing, either “en plein air” or later from memory. My work is created using a process of layered oil paint. Along the way, certain areas become more textured than others, creating dimension, opacity and light. The final result develops over many months of constant work, application and incidental occurrence.”

Geelong artist and Boom Gallery Director Ren Inei’s work is rich with texture and tonal depth, achieved through techniques of layering and exploration of differing materials.

“This recent body of work was made almost ‘automatically’. Little focus was given to the subject matter as my concern was not in depicting a picture or a scene but rather conveying a state of being. The ‘being’ in this case refers to myself and those closest to me. They are figurative works but use the genre of landscape painting as a symbolic means. These are fluid and quite rapid paintings where I try not to get burdened down by knowing what it actually is that I am trying to achieve. Rather the intention of the artwork becomes apparent and clearer as the painting evolves. Upon completion of each piece I really enjoy contemplating and searching for their meaning. My hope is that these paintings are ‘felt’ by the viewer rather than being purely observed.”

Nearness runs until August 12. To see a full listing click here.