Walking Through a Studio Over Time
Louise Feneley
August 31, 2021
-
September 25, 2021
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Driving to Louise Feneley’s studio in Adelaide’s sea-side suburb of Marino, the main source of her inspiration becomes apparent: the ocean. Only a narrow strip of bitumen separates her home from the beach. Multi-coloured shells, polished pebbles, dried seaweed and driftwood, tastefully arranged in baskets, line the ascent to Louise’s place; similar arrangements in vases and bowls proliferate throughout the house. Her intimate knowledge of the beach is evident: it is not the place she visits casually or virtually; her connection with it is deep and personal.


The symbiotic relationship between humans and nature is central to Louise’s oeuvre. Not too dissimilarly to the grand tradition of the nineteenth-century Romanticists, she portrays the powerful immensity and timelessness of nature versus the corresponding fragility and transience of human experience.


Her depiction of rolling waves in paintings such as Swell and Inside Water is monumental and vertiginous. The viewer is positioned in the extreme foreground, arrested by the beauty of vision and the play of turquoise and aquamarine tints, blinded by the whiteness of foaming crests, submitting to the ultimate peril for the momentous experience of synaesthetic beauty.


The unstoppable forces of nature are apparent in Louise’s landscape paintings. The pearlescent Songs of a Tiny Landscape and Receding Storm appear to exist in a numinous space between the water and the land. While The Wonderful Event and Song to the Winds and the Moon capture the elements in a centrifugal swirl of wind and water, a promise of calm is offered by rainbow-edged nimbuses.


The artist’s still-lifes can also be interpreted as a reflection upon nature’s duality as giver and destroyer: the bounty and detritus alternate in a continuous journey of artistic explorations. Another layer to the possibilities inherent within still-life genre is offered in the multi-panelled piece, The Committee for Global and Social Warming: it represents a dinner party, where each of the plates is a symbolic, observant, and insightful portrayal of each of the dinner guests.


In panels from the Weather Project suite, humble weather balloons have been transformed into the pearl, that inchoate object of human existence. Steeped in legends since times immemorial, born of the sea, carried aloft by the goddess of love, the pearls have been emblematic of femininity, fecundity, and the mysteries of birth: in the Medieval and Renaissance eras, no bridal portrait was complete without a piece of jewellery set with a trinity of pearls.


Such paintings as Sunday 22nd and Silent Day (as well as, more obliquely, Memories of Winter and The Wonderer Within Me) illustrate Louise’s abilities as a portrait painter (the artist’s works had been selected as finalists in RSASA, Portia Geach, and Doug Moran portrait prizes). However, even within these works, the oneness between the human and the sea is obvious, whether in the symbolic representation of the artist’s father as an archer, or in Louise’s own self-portrait, with strands of hair and fringes of the scarf tremulant in sea breeze.


A distinguishing feature of Louise’s paintings is their fine execution: in many of the works, the smoothness of surface belies the evidence of human touch. Atmospheric effects are minutely observed and carefully captured. The challenge of conveying translucency with opaque materials on a two-dimensional canvas can be observed in intricate details in the paintings of waves as well as glass objects. An eagle-eyed observer will be rewarded with a gift of discovering miniature human forms in foetal positions caught up in the maelstrom of nature.


Louise Feneley, painter of portraits, landscapes, and still-lifes, has been exhibiting regularly in Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney. Her works have been included in important curated and survey exhibitions of contemporary Australian art, including at the SASA Gallery in Adelaide, Gippsland Art Gallery in Sale (Vic), and the Parliament House in Canberra. Louise’s works had been selected as finalists in numerous art prizes, and on many occasions she had walked away with the highly coveted ‘People’s Choice Award.’ Louise’s works are to be found in the Parliament House in Canberra, as well as in selected regional, tertiary, and corporate collections in Australia and abroad.

Louise Feneley

Based in Adelaide’s sea-side suburb of Marino, Louise Feneley draws her inspiration from the sea and the symbiotic relationship between humans and nature. Not too dissimilarly to the grand tradition of the nineteenth-century Romanticists, she portrays the powerful immensity of the ocean and the comparable fragility of human experience. The swirling movement of wind and water influence her landscape paintings, many of which appear to exist in a numinous space between the water and the land. The artist’s still-lifes can also be interpreted as a reflection upon nature’s duality as giver and destroyer: the bounty and detritus alternate in a continuous journey of artistic explorations.


The paintings are finely executed, demonstrating the smoothness of surface that belies the evidence of human touch. Atmospheric effects are minutely observed and carefully captured. The challenge of conveying translucency with opaque materials on a two-dimensional canvass can be observed in a breath-taking detail in the paintings of waves as well as glass objects. An eagle-eyed observer will be rewarded with a gift of discovering miniature human figures in foetal positions caught up in the maelstrom of nature.


Louise Feneley, painter of portraits, landscapes, and still-lifes, has been exhibiting regularly since the 1970s in Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney. Her works have been included in important curated and survey exhibitions of contemporary Australian art, including at SASA Gallery in Adelaide, Gippsland Art Gallery in Sale (Vic), and the Parliament House in Canberra. Louise’s works had been selected as finalists in numerous art prizes, and on many occasions she had walked away with the highly coveted ‘People’s Choice Award.’ Louise’s works are to be found in the Parliament House in Canberra, as well as in selected regional, tertiary, and corporate collections in Australia and abroad.

Walking Through a Studio Over Time
by
Louise Feneley
August 31, 2021
-
September 25, 2021
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