Posts Tagged ‘Kristin Headlam

19
Jun
11

Kristin Headlam @ Charles Nodrum Gallery

Kristin Headlam MAYSunday, 19 June 2011

Kristin Headlam @ Charles Nodrum Gallery

Kristin Headlam’s current exhibition at the Charles Nodrum Gallery is perhaps one of the most honest shows I’ve seen of hers in years. For the better part of the last decade Headlam’s paintings were inspired by media photography. They gave the artist an opportunity to participate in issues affecting domestic and international affairs. With subtle manipulation of images she commented or critiqued the media, society, and governmental policies. Most importantly of all, she was able to experiment with new paints and pigments, reduce her colour palette to a monotone, and develop new painting techniques which became more fluid and unrestrained in the process. However, the locus of her identity during this period was internalised.

Kristin Headlam CHRISIn the current exhibition, Kristin once again concentrates on her own environment – her studio, her garden, her backyard, her pot plant, her Chris. She is seemingly picking up where she left off around 2000-2001, the last time she shared with the audience the intimacy of her space. Headlam revisits her previously tighter and controlled brushwork, though the fluidity of previous years is preserved towards the outer edges of the canvas.

However, the last body of work on this subject was flooded with sunlight; the backyard was dominated by bright green and golden plants, and the blossoming purple wisteria carefully edged its way along the fence line. In this exhibition by contrast her canvases are permeated by a subdued silvery atmosphere of winter’s afternoon. Everything is in a state of decay and disrepair. Fences are falling; the lattice is buckled; unruly wisteria branches snake their way around the garden; a little Roman head lies cracked and overturned; and even her favourite chair has a spring sticking out underneath, standing on the studio floor strewn with autumn leaves. The last time Kristin shared her studio environment with us, she showed herself – with an obvious nod to Velasquez – in the midst of creativity, engaged in an artistic process. Here by contrast her studio is empty, bathed in cold and impersonal neon light. Canvases are turned against the wall. The single canvas on the easel remains blank.

Kristin Headlam FEBRUARY

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde’s bon mot, every painting by an artist is a portrait of the artist. Headlam’s ubiquitous presence is conspicuous despite her physical absence from the canvasses. I left the gallery feeling that instead of seeing an exhibition of landscapes I have just seen an exhibition of the most intimately revealing self-portraits of an artist in the autumn of her life.

[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2011. This article is copyright, but full or partial use is welcome with proper acknowledgement. Where applicable, images are courtesy of the artists and their galleries.]

17
Feb
10

Caring for Aehee @ Cowwarr Art Space

Aehee - Self-Portrait  from "Caring for Aehee" series(cont.) Friday, 11 February 2010

Dear Diary,

As mentioned previously, the Cowwarr Art Space also includes a number of self-contained artists’ studios and cottages, which over the recent years have attracted interdisciplinary artists from around Australia and overseas. One of the latest artists-in-residence was Aehee, a young photographic, conceptual, and video artist from Korea. One of her works, a video collage from the series Caring for Aehee, is currently projected in the exhibition space.

Caring for Aehee is an ongoing project where the artist moulds herself to wishes, ideas, and directions of others. She spent a year being ‘cared for’ as a house pet, and another year as a model. The current projection is the extension of the latter body of work. If preceding video projections and stills documented Aehee being dressed, made up, directed, and posed by others, this video turns attention away from the model and concentrates on the photographer. The work collages the videos of professional and amateur photographers (including myself) directing Aehee as she poses for the camera.

Aehee - as directed and photographed by me in "Caring for Aehee" projectOne of the most revealing and unexpected aspects of the video is how similar were our directives to Aehee – notwithstanding our level of professionalism (or lack thereof), age, gender, or cultural background. There are consecutive sequences, which show photographers asking Aehee to smile; to take two steps back; to raise her hands; to lean this way or that. Another sequence records the exclamations of self-satisfied delights with our own work – as well as with Aehee’s ability to follow our directions; words like wonderful, perfect, great, etc., are repeated ad infinitum in a whole spectrum of voices and accents. The video collage is an interesting study in the nature of human identity and – despite the obvious differences – preconditioned societal similarities among us, as if there are only that many ways in which one can (or knows how to) direct a model.

The work made me think of Kristin Headlam’s series of “bridal paintings”, where the focus was not so much on the bride or the groom, but on the photographer, and the interactions between wedding photographers and wedding parties. In the similar vein, Aehee’s innovative work concentrates not on the model but on the photographer, objectifying the objectifier.

[© Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg 2010. This article is copyright, but the full or partial use is WELCOME with the full and proper acknowledgment]




Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg

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