Free­dom of ex­pres­sion

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Weeklylife - Jes­sica Nico

THIR­TEEN might be con­sid­ered an un­lucky num­ber for some, but not th­ese artists.

Thir­teen WA Por­trait Artists mem­bers have come to­gether to ex­hibit their favourite pieces of work in new Fre­man­tle por­trai­ture show, Skin Deep 2016.

With names like two-time Archibald fi­nal­ist Peter Ciemi­tis, Black Swan highly com­mended win­ner Josh Cock­ing and lo­cal artists Dae­vid An­der­son, of Leed­erville, and Cottes­loe’s Tessa McOnie, the ex­hi­bi­tion will be awash with beau­ti­ful strokes, eye-catching colours and amaz­ing emo­tions.

Artist Brad Dur­rant said the group’s found­ing mem­bers came to­gether af­ter the 2011 Black Swan Prize and since then had grown from a ca­sual gath­er­ing to meet­ings that were more for­mal.

“In 2014 af­ter a few years of meet­ing up as a ca­sual group, we started talk­ing about hold­ing a group ex­hi­bi­tion as a way of giv­ing the group and the artists some ex­po­sure, while shar­ing the costs,” he said.

“This came at a time when many WA art gal­leries were clos­ing down, so op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­hibit were re­duc­ing.

“We held our first group ex­hi­bi­tion in Jan­uary, 2015, at Ki­dogo Art House and it was so suc­cess­ful we de­cided to do it again.”

In­gle­wood artist Peter Ciemi­tis said the ex­hi­bi­tion might be the pub­lic’s last op­por­tu­nity to view his por­trait of Peter Greste fol­low­ing its pur­chase by a col­lec­tor.

“I’m par­tic­u­larly pleased to show my por­trait of Peter Greste in this show,” Ciemi­tis said.

“It at­tempted to deal with his re­solve and de­ter­mi­na­tion.

“It plays with the idea of his spa­tial dis­em­bod­i­ment, his dis­con­nec­tion with the out­side world dur­ing his im­pris­on­ment, and the bar-like neg­a­tive spa­ces be­tween pan­els are the frac­tures and di­vi­sions im­posed upon both Peter and on free speech.”

Ciemi­tis said Skin Deep 2016 demon­strated the ca­ma­raderie be­tween artists in this field and their en­thu­si­asm for shar­ing knowl­edge and ideas.

“A group show like this of­fers the au­di­ence a chance to see a ‘sur­vey’ of dif­fer­ent prac­tice types,” he said.

Artist Dae­vid An­der­son agreed and said group shows widened an artist’s au­di­ence.

“Per­haps peo­ple come to see one thing but end up see­ing some­thing else they really like, and wouldn't have sought out vol­un­tar­ily,” An­der­son said.

“Por­trai­ture is such a fas­ci­nat­ing genre – peo­ple are drawn to peo­ple – and I think the pub­lic will love to see all the vary­ing ap­proaches.”

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