Flinders Lane Gallery brings Australian and international artists together in ‘Story Tellers’, an exhibition co-curated by Dr Elaine Schmidt (USA) of the Bennett Collection of Women Figurative Realists, independent curator Didi Menendez (USA) and FLG Director Claire Harris.
‘Story Tellers’ presents 21 figurative paintings that portray intimate moments in the lives of others. The intrinsic nature of self and perceptions of beauty, tranquillity, emotion, solitude, connection, hope, resilience and the materiality of life are preserved in painterly evocations that both subtly and at times openly reference the artist’s own experiences of culture, political circumstance and social issues. These representations visualise the unspoken and at times fleeting moments in our lives that may otherwise go unnoticed if not for the brush of the painter.
Participating artists include Anne-Marie Zanetti, Colleen Stapleton, Elizabeth Barden, Kathrin Longhurst, Kim Leutwyler, Matthew Quick, Narelle Zeller, Vicki Sullivan and Pippa Hale-Lynch from Australia, Amanda Greive, Denise Fulton, Heather Brunetti, June Stratton, Rachel Linnemeier, Suzanne Anan and Vakseen from the USA, alongside UK artists Alex Dewars and Arina Gordienko, as well as Claudia Kaak from Germany, Laurence O’Toole from Ireland and Sonal Ramnath from India.
Linnemeier’s works titled Familiar (2019) and It Doesn’t Melt (2019) trigger feelings of nostalgia across two compositions, one featuring a man and the other a woman, both young standing at the crossroad of childhood and adult life. Each piece is painted in oil on aluminium in vibrant colours drawing visions of youthfulness and the same time confessing maturity in the poses and expressions of each figure.
The Mirror Palace (2020) explores the symbolic likenesses of resilience, fragility, persistence and ephemerality that the artist Amanda Greive sees exist between women and flowers. Pippa Hale-Lynch seeks to “capture beauty in moments of solitude” throughout her work. Here she exhibits Oblivian (2019), a portrait of her beloved cousin submerged in a body of coloured water, a solitary moment where the sound of her own breathing creates a void between herself and the world outside.
Laurence O’Toole captures perseverance of the human spirit in a painting titled Rowing (2019), where we see against the limitations of his predicament the rower continues on steadfast. “My work deals with the narrative of life, it teases out the story of why we do what we do, how we connect and why we don’t,” and “I am constantly trying to illustrate the human spirit.” “It’s the meaty issues that affect us all and I try to illustrate these, all the while, arriving at something beautiful.”
Denise Fulton’s new series of works avert the tragic fates of female characters in famous literary novels with newly imagined endings. For this exhibition, Fulton bestows Anna Karenina (2019), the protagonist of Russian author Leo Tolstoy’s greatest work, with the choice of life instead of throwing herself under a train. While Heather Brunetti’s portrait of a woman holding the horned head of a demon titled Parting Ways (2019) symbolises separation, recovery and strength. The artist shares, “I created this piece after triumphing over not only a difficult health issue, but a difficult time period of my life. I wanted to convey the varied emotions that emerge after battling anything difficult. Although we might emerge the victor, we carry the sadness and often times heavy knowledge of what we have been through with us forever.”
Online the ‘Story Tellers’ exhibition features a display 21 works with click-through links for an in-situ viewing experience of seeing the works hung on the gallery walls, a downloadable catalogue, and the show can also be explored by taking a virtual tour.