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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

The exhibition runs for ten days between 15th and 25th October. For more upcoming events, visit www.theholdartspace.com or follow them on their Facebook page.

Words and photos by Donny Lau