West End oil painter Kate McKay and I met last week to talk about her latest exhibition with friend Angelica Roache-Wilson at The Hold Artspace. The Hold Artspace’s latest exhibition showcases art works and installations by Laini Burton, Kate McKay, Angelica Roach-Wilson and Ann Russell.
The View from Here featured works by Kate McKay and Angelica Roache-Wilson. Kate’s oil paintings depict photorealistic but ambiguous landscapes. Kate thinks she has a personal approach in her monotone colours. “It’s really interesting to see while I have painted these places, people could put them to anywhere in the world. I just want to create a world where everyone relates differently.” Her works give people glimpses of the wilderness; they place the onlooker in a surrealistic world that disconnects with their surroundings. One of my favourite works of hers was a landscape filled with mossy stones, it was as if the viewer was entering a ruin. The subdued tone makes you wonder if such a place exists.
Angelica has taken a different approach. In abstract shapes, it seems like she focuses more on her approach to processes than a realistic painting like Kate. “I like to keep my process loose; to experiment with different shapes and colours until i feel an image beginning to surface. When it comes to resolving these works I work very intuitively, trusting that the everyday visual influences around me from billboards and architecture will manifest naturally,” Angelica said. She agrees that painting these works is therapeutic; she is drawn into them and becomes detached from the world around her.
“BELT” by Laini Burton is a curved mirror hung in the middle of the space. Red strings tied onto two ends of the wall entrap a heart, creating an abstract but physical reflection of the heart. Upon entering, the overhanging structure provides a jaw-dropping moment due to its monumental size.
Ann Russell’s “Enchanted Forest” takes you to a primitive world of elemental woods with plants, ambient sounds, scents and an overall mellow palette. Did I mention one has to open a door in order to enter this “forest”? The forest draws on the codes and symbols of fairytale narratives, the result is a submersion into a calm and safe place. I noted in the guestbook, “This place is so beautiful I wish I could sit here forever”. Ann’s installation is an enchanting trip into another world.
Words and photos by Donny Lau