For her second solo exhibition at Melanie Roger Gallery, KIRSTIN CARLIN takes her title “Pleasure Garden” from a dynamic watercolour by New Zealand artist Frances Hodgkins (1869-1947). Carlin has also taken as inspiration and points of departure landscapes from the collection of the Auckland Art Gallery and permuted these with her own virtuosic technique while also keeping in mind the high-key colours of Matisse's fauvist period. Historically, pleasure gardens were open to the public, places for leisure and recreation and Carlin has extended this sense of familiarity, fun and pleasure into her latest works.
This new suite of oils on board develops landscape forms, as did her earlier “Other Avenues” series of 2014. Within “Pleasure Garden” Carlin has deftly and assuredly conjured up tall trees with canopies mingling into clouds, serpentine paths and above all dizzying profusions of nimble lines and riotous colour. Inside these scenes, foliage, soil and sky shift and combine to form joyful and unpredictable variations of painted shapes.
Installation view with work by Emma Fitts (left), Christchurch 2014. This exhibition "Pleasure Garden" will feature a collaborative window installation with UK based artist EMMA FITTS who was recently the 2014 Olivia Spencer Bower awardee in Christchurch.
Interested in the work and life of New Zealand painter Edith Collier, Fitts began her work for "Pleasure Garden" by studying a black and white photograph taken by Annie Davis in the 1920s of Edith Collier standing with a basket of lilies in a garden. Carlin's small floral still life in shades of apricot, peach and pink has been framed in a greeny blue inspired by Edith Collier's, Maketu Pa, Kawhia, circa 1927.
Carlin and Fitts work have both evolved from imagining beyond the historical record. Fitts work "Garden Chair for Edith Collier" is constructed from an upholstery pattern in an attempt to open up a conversation on both the texture and colours of Edith's life and work. Carlin's work further extends this dialogue, combining colours from Edith Collier's landscape painting and the soft forms of her own still life imagery to extend the geometric forms of the garden chair. (or Fitts work).