Adrienne Gaha

Adrienne Gaha is a Sydney-born painter who lives between Australia, France and the UK. She has exhibited both domestically and internationally since 1986, and features in the collections of major institutions including National Gallery of Victoria and Art Gallery of Western Australia. Her works are an energetic fusion of abstraction and figuration, developed through references to mythological scenes from art history that seem to rise to the surface like revealed pentimenti. Figures from Titian, Bouguereau and Bunny are intimated through curving brushstrokes. Ocean swells, oaks and striding horses emerge across her canvases. To achieve this, Gaha uses paint in all the ways it can be handled – smudging, scumbling, wiping back with turpentine using rags and brushes, making glazes, and building up with thick brushstrokes. Gaha’s skilful applications of paint coaxes the eye into focusing on the material beauty and liquid quality of the painted surface.

In the words of London-based critic Brooke Fitzsimons, “The images she makes are evanescent. Like mirages, the forms seem unstable and transitional; at once, holding shape and dissolving back into paint. It is the oscillation between these two states that sets up an elemental tension in all of the works here. … An adept draughtsperson, she displays control of the imagery on the one hand and abandoned, spontaneous mark making on the other. There can be visual transparency and depth: Cupid and a swooning Psyche, Bunny’s languorous women, clouds and trees and space. But she disrupts these passages with pools of opaque paint.”

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