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"Paradise Lost, Found: Karin Ryan, Philip Adams and Janice McBride"
2004-08-15 until 2004-09-05
Eltham Wiregrass Gallery
Eltham, VC, AU Australia

"Paradise Lost, Found". Eltham Wiregrass Gallery (Melbourne, Australia) presents exhibition of three local artists: Karin Ryan, Philip Adams and Janice McBride. The works majority of which are small size combine painting and printmaking techniques. Of course, the artworks displayed represent different styles, varied artistic expression tools and formulas. However, there is a strong uniting sense of nostalgic self-reflections and dreamy imagery at the show. Interestingly, the theme suggested by the gallery for the project - "Paradise Lost, Found", brought similar emotions in artists‚ work only with very slight variations even so more in style than in the viewing of the subject matter. Landscapes, some with lonely dreamy human figures dominate the exhibition. Images of what we would like to see but not being able and afraid of loosing for ever or pictures inhabiting our memories that we wish became a reality - they all are there, in the show in one form or another.

Janice McBride images are most symbolic and abstract of all. She uses a combination of monoprints, collages, painting and sanding to create her ephemeral characters, suspended in their own dreamy reality. Sharp edges and bright colours sit nicely on the drafting film surface enhancing religious icon-like compositions.

Another participating artist - P. Adams uses more realistic style, meticulously depicting every detail of the overgrown, luscious, full of life landscapes. His paintings represent an ideal of Australian Arcadia, naïve and innocent and, most likely, on the verge of being lost.

Simplicity and childishness of Karin Ryan's gouaches mixed with sense of imminent danger and anxiety create an uneasy tension. Her colourful compositions remind of imaginatory illustrations that could be easily used for bed time stories about a nasty stepmother or a black fairy, where most of the time, as we all know, the good forces after long struggle end up wining.

There is a sense of illusion, bordering on the angst of surreal in works of all the presented artists, even in the case of scrupulously realistic paintings by P.Adams. As a dramatic remainder of reality, the line separating the "Lost" and the "Found" remains invisible in the works at the show. The gallery itself is located in the area of Melbourne that is known for its art traditions as well as for nature preservation efforts and ongoing policies. Images of the luscious greenery or idyllic figures in the nostalgic landscape that most likely exist in our memories and maybe can still be found by the keen artists are very timely and strongly resonate with the inner thoughts of the viewing public.

- Ausra Larbey, Melbourne


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