Karlee Rawkins creates a series of colourful and bold paintings in this exhibition exploring perception and change. The works depict extinct species of birds and animals in her confident and instinctive style, creating a wondrous realm and a reminder of the fleeting nature of life.
Based on the north coast of New South Wales, award-winning painter Karlee Rawkins’ vibrant images of flora and fauna reflect the artist’s deep fascination with the natural world and highlight the role creatures play within our imagination. Informed in part by the lush diversity of her local ecosystem Rawkins’ works depict a ceaselessly verdant world full of growth and possibility.
Taking inspiration from the myriad of global narratives that feature creatures from the plant and animal kingdoms, her dynamic acrylics on canvas bring to the fore the enduring importance of cultural storytelling as a means of processing humanity’s relationship to nature. Echoing the designs and motifs of ancient Indian fabrics, medieval tapestries, folk art imagery, or even the pages of a well-loved picture book, the totemic characters Rawkins’ conjures are full of powerful meanings and symbolic potential.
Attracted to the ways in which pattern and line intersect with form and colour, Rawkins skilfully integrates discernible representation with subtle, intuitive abstraction. There is a wildness to her mark-making and bold, celebratory use of colour resulting in portraits that are transformative, otherworldly, and profoundly ritualistic. This dexterous sense of composition and lively mark-making is captivating, revealing both child-like veneration and sophisticated appreciation for the form and character of her subjects.
‘I use animal imagery in my work as a metaphor for human emotions and experiences. The animals are distorted and flattened, often combining with patterns to create intentionally ambiguous compositions. I aim to emphasize the vulnerability and awkwardness of my subject and challenge a viewer’s recognition and sense of association.’ Karlee Rawkins
Gallery open: Tues-Fri 11am-6pm; Sat 11am-5pm (not open Sunday or Monday)