burgess_robyn_spill MJ

Robyn Burgess


The Staircase



Wednesday 4 - Sunday 29 September 2019

Opening Wednesday 4 September, 6.30-8pm
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My paintings continue to latch onto architectural spaces and their structured assemblages – not the habitable spaces I researched for years overseas but internal areas which clamour for the understanding of composition and pictorial strategies in both expansive and entrapped alignment.

These images are carriers of thoughts and feelings so there is still the struggle between pictorial necessity and artistic intention. The paintings share layering, textured surfaces, suggestion and time; they are somewhat resistant to one’s natural search for literal meanings – they savour the process of painting, the physical properties of paint and what a painting is. In reality, the paintings Spill and Standing in the Dark are big empty canvases waiting for an image, leaning against the studio wall. In my world they are finished paintings, loaded with questions. They imply absence over representation, a narrative without a story.

I go up the stairs to my studio loft every day, but I can never truly know what will happen or how I will react to yesterday’s work. I do know that the space is always a mess, things everywhere; but it is the stuff of research, comfort and tactics. The staircase to my studio is in my family home; when I arrive at the top and close the door, I know I am elsewhere.

Standing in the Dark is a sombre work – it’s title hints at the repetitive practice of turning the studio lights out at night so I can think in semi-darkness – willing the choices I have made between structure and accident to speak to me. The ‘present’ is an instant, but the paintings telltale texture holds time in abeyance. I often think painting is odd; for me destruction lies at the heart of the creative process and my paintings harbour both calculated ideas and spontaneous impulses. As in life, if it were not for hope the heart would break.

The Gallery Notes

The series of small paintings are of people looking at paintings both here and overseas. They have evolved from sketches made from memory and on site. Unlike the large paintings, they are often left in a rough state and do not seek the ‘tension’ of layer upon layer of paint. Usually they are studies worked on whilst waiting for other canvases to dry. Nevertheless they inform me about freshness, underpainting and roughness; the characteristics I admire in drawing and much painting. I see these figures as shapes in a composition, of human stance and behaviour. But they remain anonymous, never allowing doubt to fall into certainty.” Robyn Burgess

Opening Night wines supplied by

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