For Melbourne artist Georgia Spain, good art has the power not only to imitate life, but to ‘remind us of our humanity’. And she’s been busy exploring this very ethos in her powerful, current body of work.
The VCA graduate has always been a painter, despite initially focusing on music for a few years after she finished her studies in 2015. ‘I began spending more and more time in the studio and then started showing work about four or five years ago,’ Georgia says.
She now works from an industrial warehouse building in Preston, which she shares with two other artists. Each artist has their own separate space inside – allowing Georgia’s creativity to spill out from her abstract canvases and onto the walls, floors and almost every surface of the light-filled studio.
Her workspace has recently been consumed by images and reference material from current news cycles and global events in the lead up to her solo show. After nine months of work, ‘Time is the thing a body moves through’ has just opened at Tolarno Galleries.
‘I have been looking at imagery of protests, climate catastrophes like flooding, tsunamis, earthquakes and global conflicts – and trying to find ways to talk about some of these issue within my work,’ Georgia says.
As a result, humans are the subjects of her expressive and abstract works, focusing on people ‘in the midst of action or movement’. Her smaller works feature lone faces with ambiguous expressions, but the larger, epic-scale works are filled with crowded, chaotic scenes. Some groups appear to be dancing together in harmony, while other bodies intwined in these clusters seem to slip away into ominous washes of dark colour.
But these dynamic scenes aren’t a clear recreation of one global event or another. Instead, the artist says her intuitive process often means ‘the content or narrative of the work emerges through the act of painting’. It makes her artworks even more intriguing, as the mystery behind her layered paintings reflects the same existential complexities as the real-world events that inspire them.
See Georgia’s solo show at in Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne until October 22.