– Other Worlds – Philip Wolfhagen’s Latest Exhibition

by Elizabeth Fritz

Other Worlds, is a collection of landscape paintings that embody the subtleties of the natural world; the changing light and weather, the evolving colours and the textural intricacies of the environment. But it’s the depth within the landscapes, the movement, and the emotional response that standout.

The landscape that surrounds Tasmanian artist Philip Wolfhagen, has been penetrating his being for a long time. They are triggers for new works, sources of colour and light, and they are a connection to the past and the present. Landscapes, and elements within the landscapes fuel his imagination and solidify a starting point. From here, with the inclusion of classical music, beeswax, and a primary colour palette his evocative and perceptual paintings begin to develop.

Philip Wolfhagen The Serpentine Path 2015 Oil and beeswax on linen 96.0 x 338.0 cm (overall) Image courtesy the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne
Philip Wolfhagen
The Serpentine Path 2015
Oil and beeswax on linen
96.0 x 338.0 cm (overall)
Image courtesy the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne

The Serpentine Path 2015, a group of three paintings on linen with oil and beeswax, depicts impressions of the undulations in the land. Rocks, shrubs and paths and a never-ending horizon complete the picture. The subdued colours of browns, greys and greens are blended to create contrast, depth and texture all at once. For Wolfhagen, a landscape isn’t about precision and accuracy but rather a representation of the natural world, in which he harnesses the atmosphere, the mood and the light. His paintings are emotive and represent a snapshot of a fleeting moment in nature.

Philip Wolfhagen Other World No. 1 2015 oil and beeswax on linen 200.0 x 214.0 cm Image courtesy the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne
Philip Wolfhagen
Other World No. 1 2015
oil and beeswax on linen
200.0 x 214.0 cm
Image courtesy the artist and Karen Woodbury Gallery, Melbourne

The large scale Other World No.1 2015 draws the viewer into the landscape. The shear size is like a window you could move through. Strong shades of browns and oranges in the foreground are gradually teamed with greys and blues that fade into the distance. The painting commands stillness as the eye moves into the distance. It is as though Wolfhagen’s landscapes urge the viewer to stop and take notice.

Discussion between author and Philip Wolfhagen

Elizabeth
I have read that music plays a very important part in your painting process. One of the standout features in your paintings is movement, is it your engagement with the music that enlivens your paintings?

Phillip
I would say that listening to music keeps me aloof from the act of painting. It is a means to maintaining a separation; it promotes more rational thought processes, and is a caution against too much self awareness. It is possible that the influence of the music translates into movement, if not in the image itself, then certainly in the accumulation of gestures that comprise the image.

Elizabeth 
Another standout feature is the depth you create in your landscapes. Does the depth represent the deep feelings you have with the natural world and the deep respect for the historical and cultural past?

Phillip 
The illusion of receding space is a vital element in my work because each successive painting is representative of a journey; a never ending reinvention of self. The passage from ones own position to the always shifting vanishing point is inexhaustible in its potential for meaning. 

Philip Wolfhagen
Other Worlds
1 July-1 August 2015

Karen Woodbury Gallery
Level 1/167 Flinders Lane
Melbourne

Melbourne Exhibition Review: Kate Daw – Love, Work (Show Me Grace)

Kate Daw: Love, Work (Show Me Grace)
at Sarah Scout Presents, Melbourne

Elizabeth Fritz

Kate Daw’s exhibition, Love, Work (Show Me Grace) is her third solo exhibition at Sarah Scout Presents.

As I entered the gallery’s hallway, I was surrounded by pale lilac wallpaper with a floral motif. This is Daw’s installation that has been described as ambitious. It felt intimate and inviting and made quite an impact but on closer inspection it started to reveal a whole lot more.

I started noticing uneven edges and fraying, this wallpaper is in fact pieces of dyed calico that have been pasted to the wall. The origin of the floral images is twofold; the gardenias are photographs straight from Daw’s garden and her student created the linear flower drawing. These two images have been printed onto fabric to create a visually rich and somewhat feminine feel. The textural effect works well. “Striking” commented a man as he walked into the hallway.

Image courtesy of artist and Sarah Scout Presents.
Image courtesy of artist and Sarah Scout Presents.

The remaining space is comprised of a further two rooms. The artwork in the first room was not what I expected. There are two paintings, one on canvas with the word ‘MAM’SELLE’ and the other on reclaimed blackboards comprising of light blue flowers heads. On the adjacent wall was a series of small boards, some with text and some with images. I read the texts over and over trying to get a sense of the meaning. One of the boards posed this question; “What is important in your life? “Fresh coffee and a sense of autonomy” was the response. There are in fact big questions offered up on these small boards. Such as what true happiness might be? And is there ever a point of satisfaction we arrive at? What initially appeared to be a somewhat underwhelming room was suddenly being transformed into a contemplative space. Here the viewer could be confronted with weighty topics that were based on actual conversations between Daw and a few young women.

Daw’s diverse influences continue to be evident in the second room. Floral motifs, words painted on black boards and references to sisterhood dominate.

KATE DAW Blue Flowers (when we slept in the studio you gave me some good ideas) 2015 oil paint on found blackboard 41.5 x 60.5 cm (framed) Image courtesy the artist and Sarah Scout Presents
KATE DAW Blue Flowers (when we slept in the studio you gave me some good ideas)
2015
oil paint on found blackboard
41.5 x 60.5 cm (framed)
Image courtesy the artist and Sarah Scout Presents
I am not really interested in logical links, rather how far I can stretch things both from their     original source and from one another. I am fascinated by certain books, relationships, memories and associative, sensory experience, among other things.
Kate Daw in conversation with author.

Love, Work (Show Me Grace) is a collection that showcases Daw’s interest in literature, design and reproduction but at the same time there is something jarring about how she paired the complexities of the underlying subject matter to the almost simplistic, child-like works of art. But perhaps this is precisely what makes it compelling and thought provoking.

Love, Work (Show Me Grace), until May 16
Open Wed-Sat 12pm-5pm

sarahscoutpresents.com
Suite 15, Level 1
12 Collins St. Melbourne