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Georgia Spain's Abstract Paintings Capture The Chaos Of Our Times

Studio Visit

Georgia Spain’s busy warehouse studio offers an authentic look inside her creative inner world. Image clippings and artworks fill one of the white-brick walls, while words like ‘perpetual’ and ‘joy of paint’ are sprawled on another, beside a table that’s been consumed by her paint-splattered materials.

The Melbourne artist’s works for her latest exhibition Time is the thing a body moves through have a similarly chaotic energy about them, as Georgia explores the (often tragic) events of our recent news cycle in her intriguing paintings.

3rd October, 2022

Inside Georgia Spain’s studio! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘I grew up in a household that valued making art from an early age so I think it has always been part of my life to make things,’ Georgia says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

She’s been working on her solo show for the past nine months. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘Painting is also a way to converse with other artists across history, so I spend a lot of time looking at artists who have come before me,’ Georgia adds. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘I am always collecting images and a lot of the reference material and imagery that has informed the paintings in this show comes from recent news cycles – I have been looking at imagery of protests, climate catastrophes like flooding, tsunamis, earthquakes and global conflicts.’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘A painting can take anywhere from an afternoon to a few months to make, but I’m a firm believer that all the terrible paintings I make are necessary steps to making the good ones.’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

 

She’s been using acrylic paint for her latest works. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

One of her epic works! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘I am very intuitive in the way that I work and the process is very important to me, often the content or narrative of the work emerges through the act of painting.’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Some of the snapshots from Georgia’s extensive mood board. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘This is the first show I’ve had in a couple of years where people can see the paintings in the flesh, which is very important to me! Tolarno has a beautiful new space so I am thrilled to be hanging on these walls.’ Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

The exhibition, Time is the thing a body moves through is on now at Tolarno. Photo – Courtesy Tolarno Galleries

Photo – Courtesy Tolarno Galleries

‘The Chance in the Change’ by Georgia Spain. Photo – Courtesy Tolarno Galleries

Christina Karras
Monday 3rd October 2022

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. 

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net