Evie Cahir’s studio space inside her Abbotsford apartment has the best light and the smoothest floors. It’s the perfect setup for her work, which sees her laying sheets of paper along the floor, and getting on her hands and knees to grind, smudge and blend pastels onto her work.
It’s a physical and slow process, says Evie, who uses oil sticks, soft pastels, gouache (opaque watercolour) and pencils to create vivid, radiant artwork, full of luminous colour.
‘I work across many pieces at once, usually four or five. Depending on size, I may spend five to six hours spread between multiple works… this is to make sure I don’t have time to second guess any decisions – I just let it all out!,’ she explains.
It’s a trust in this fervor that guides Evie to create her pieces, which are imbued with – and inspired by – emotion and feeling.
‘It’s a frenzy at times for the smaller works. But for larger gradient works, it’s a drawn out ritual of cleaning the studio, layering the pastel shades to create the feeling I had in mind, letting it sit and dry after setting it, painting over areas or cropping parts that stood out as special.’
She’s inspired by sunrises, sunsets, light and shadow, and more explicitly by ‘the joyous feeling of taking off in a plane, sheets drying on the line outside, new smells… and being alone, but not lonely’.
These references are made even more clear in the delightful titles Evie chooses for her works, such as, ‘Tasting Notes: like a warm bath for your eyes; you’re swimming in a huge Rockpool and a lady paddles over and yells “it’s like swimming in champagne!“‘; and ‘Sky With A Velvet Finish… walking around the block as I wait for my fish & chips’.
Titles so detailed, it’s hard not to look at the vibrant works without seeing and understanding the exact sentiment described. ‘Naming works is my favourite part of having an exhibition,’ the artist admits.
Her most recent solo show, ‘We’ve Got That Yet’ at Backwoods Gallery in Melbourne, perfectly captured the celebration and exploration of the potent emotion that so inspires her work.
‘Artistically, my voice keeps getting stronger and stronger,’ she says, ‘I turned 30 this year, I’ve been looking forward to being this age since I was little – and it’s even better than I thought. Now, I look forward to an even stronger voice when I’m 60!’