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Viky Garden - say it to my face

say it to my face                                          & ...

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say it to my face                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As a respected artist who rarely publicly displays her work, a new exhibition by Viky Garden is a delightful treat.

From Viky Garden’s earliest drawings the artist has consistently depicted herself as the central subject in her paintings where she explores themes of identity.  Generally, Garden is preoccupied with figures in isolation but there is an compelling improvisational quality to her new work which is evident in the figure in the painting “1 March” and in “2 February” where the imposing figure is draped majestically in a red shawl. In the eponymous painting “Two”, two figures appear side by side rendered quite differently, although appearing with equal standing.

Garden’s imagery has progressed significantly where a more painterly expressionist style has been employed. Portrayed in a more abstract manner, the faces reveal less definition with a greater emphasis on chiaroscuro (the treatment of light and shade). The gestural and lively application of paint supports the somewhat distorted yet alluring nature of the subject. 

“I stopped painting for a couple of months at the end of 2015. I did this previously in 2012, dissecting my process, which ushered in a more informal, looser style.  Because I work in solitude, it’s important to challenge myself, to take risks, so I decided to switch from oils to acrylics – a different medium and a whole new ball-game”.   Garden further explains…” With the abstract paintings, there’s no pre-drawing process of any kind, it’s very much ‘point and shoot’ with liquid paint, bits of card and a stick – any drawing line that exists is done at the same time as the painting”.

Detail is not necessarily a part of this painting process; many of the titles signify only the month each painting was created, preserving their ambiguity, although in the work “Woman & Cat”, the artists grey cat is included in the portrait adding a significant degree of presence and gravity to the painting.  At the same time Viky Garden continues to explore her own intuitive personal, emotional, and philosophical landscape in these new works.

This commanding series of paintings serve to cement Garden’s place as a New Zealand portrait artist with exceptional and enduring ability. Garden has been a finalist in the NZ Adam Portrait Awards several times and is a finalist in this year’s Parkin Drawing Award.

Viky Garden’s exhibition opens on Wednesday 1st August is on view until the 18th August 2018.

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