On the balmy Saturday night just past 19 Karen Contemporary Art Space at Mermaid Beach held an opening night for artists James Reka and Abigael Whittaker.
The two solo shows entitled ‘The vision Splendid’ by Abigael Whittaker and ‘Outside Infinity’ by James Reka were marked in contrast but their differences in style kept the audience attentive and engaged.
One of the artists, James Reka, became involved with street art in the late 90’s and now lives in Melbourne where he shares an art-space with six other street artists.
His works were intricate with layer upon layer of immense dimensions of detail.
When you look at Reka’s works it takes your eyes moments to adjust to the sci-fi style of graffiti art; like you’re looking at a magic eye puzzle.
His characters are larger-than-life and seem to be in constant conflict with someone or something.
They are quirky and odd and remind the viewer of something somewhere between an old, wrinkly, hooked-nose uncle and inspector gadget on crack.
When interviewed Reka said he was interested in the Buddhist’s idea of reincarnation and lives collected over time.
“All the pieces have that element of movement and the circular motions showing how fast time and life go,” Reka said.
While Reka explored immortality Abigael’s work on the other hand was about confronting your mortality.
Her paintings were pure femininity; an intimate, stripped back personal quest for the ultimate enlightenment.
Abigael’s works seemed romantic and floral with lots of colour and life; they were animated by the intrinsic connection between nature & living creatures.
Yet the figures that look out from the paintings were vulnerable; their harrowing stares questioning the audience.
The viewer is left to make up their own mind about what the underlying shapes and symbols mean and to ask themselves how they hope to reach the ultimate enlightenment.
Abigael when interviewed said that she largely creates art for herself.
“It has to be a really personal thing.”
“Obviously you think about how people will interpret your work but you can’t be too swayed by what people will think,” she said.
A definite favourite was one of her larger works entitled “achievement of balance and inner harmony after a time of trial and tribulation” where a female figure is seated with her neck encircled by rainbow lorikeets.
The night felt like it had just the right crowd; young and old alike and nottoo many people so you could freely admire the works within your own realm.
The two shows complemented and contrasted each other; it was like being able to look at the scope of contemporary art all in one night.
These two shows will be exhibiting at 19 Karen (19 Karen Avenue, Mermaid Beach ) until the 28th August.
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