Kylie Elkington, ‘Twiggy Heath Myrtle Arrangement’, 2018. Oil on Belgium linen, 137 x 110cm. Courtesy: the artists and Colville Gallery, Hobart

Kylie Elkington treats the world of her favoured native Australian plants with a romantic touch of paint, which recalls the great pre-Raphaelite artists emerging from England in the mid-19th century. Then, as now, the world was in rapid change with the advent of the Industrial revolution, but those artists, and Elkington alike, chose to ignore those temporary troubles nearby, and focus on eternal themes of life cycles and the beauty of nature in its wildest forms.

The minutiae of life are what is observed, and the keenness of her observations are rewarded with repeated and concentrated viewings of her best works, which seems to endlessly open up into mysteriously deep fields created with oil paint on a two-dimensional surface. The choice of Elkington’s subjects is never accidental – the humble Australian natives.

Elkington’s practice shares the objectives of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood who sought to differ from the ‘mechanistic’ art of its day by seeking a return to abundant detail, intense colour, and complex (often circular) compositions favoured by certain Renaissance painters. All of this history and its romantic poetic links informs Elkington’s works. The works maintain a jewel-like clarity, from the layered application of transparent pigments and colour range favoured by the pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
‘Native Engagement’ builds on previous works in this direction which focus on the minutiae of landscape, but also to exercise liberties which shift the focus from scientific documentation to a more poetic and nuanced depiction of a small section of earth and what it sustains.  Employing a range of transparent oils in the manner of pre-Raphaelite painters, her aim is to draw close attention to the light and detail, and understated beauty which can be witnessed while experiencing the Australian landscape.  

Exhibition opens: 5.30–7.30pm, Friday 29 June 2018
Exhibition closes: 17 July 2018
Location: Colville Gallery, 91 Salamanca Plc, Hobart TAS
Phone: + 61 3 62244 088


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