art / “Painting Amongst Other Things”, at ANCA Gallery, until August 26, at ANU School of Art and Design Gallery, until September 1, and ANU Drill Hall Gallery until October 7. Reviewed by JOHN LANDT
There’s a strong sense of art history living within Sophia Szilagyi’s artworks in this exhibition containing 20 of her fine prints. The exhibition titled “Nostalgia” goes a long way to describe the emotional impact that her works exude. There’s an unanswered longing and a melancholy that invades her images, whether it’s a portrait of one of her family or a still life of a fruit bowl.
Szilagyi’s works in this exhibition lean heavily on the introspective nature of humans. The soft focus, and in some, the purposely cropped human face adds another dimension to these deeply poignant and highly stylised artworks.
In “At the Piano”, which includes her daughter sitting at a piano, could be described as almost voyeuristic, but it stands out against the other works in this exhibition. It is octagon shaped, its intimate nature is a deeply personal, and mysterious glimpse of a moment that may have never been meant to be seen by anyone. Its philosophical and psychological nature can sit within a viewer for a long time, and the quality in these works is something not to be missed.Before speaking to Madeleine Winch, I wondered if any of the people in the 18 works of oils on canvas displayed, were from real life.
Winch said: “The people in these paintings all come from the imagination, and they all reference symbolism.”
Her “humans” seem to be cut from the same mould and contain an equally detached emotional content.
In this impassive view lies a unique story, though it is hard to get inside these artworks and draw a conclusion or a feeling from what’s on the canvas. The best way to describe them might be stated as, this view is sometimes how we all see one another, as detached and distant, but still understanding and loving.
Whatever these artworks set up between the painter and the viewer, there is something underneath that seems familiar and connected. They may be an accurate portrait of the human race.
After taking in both these exhibitions at Beaver Galleries, the conclusion is that there are no similarities between the way these two artists represent humanity. However, their individual voice is determined, finely crafted and a reflective statement about being human.