Karlee Rawkins

Lucky Catch

February 27 - March 29 2016

For millennia the mythic image has been a means for bringing the incomprehensible into the realm of the tangible. Through subject and painterly process, Karlee Rawkins has ever followed in this most abstract of quests.

"My show, Lucky Catch, is a series of paintings and drawings interpreting different species of Australian birds of prey," says Karlee Rawkins. "Ultimately, I have been inspired by the physiology, the plumage and the presence of these majestic birds. She goes on to explain that there is more to the new works than "just a series of bird paintings". Woven into them are her personal stories and understandings of universal symbology.

Because birds can fly, they have been seen in folkloric traditions as mediators between Heaven and Earth. Flight connotes the imagination as well as freedom from the restrictions of the earthbound world. "In many fables, birds of prey are regarded as having special powers," Karlee adds. "It was believed that great solar birds could look directly into the sun without turning away, a capacity symbolic of being able to directly face an issue, acknowledge it and address what needs to be done for the self and others."

"Birds of prey can glide for a long time and fly higher than any other bird; the Wedge-tailed eagle can soar to a height of 2 kilometers!" she continues. "Because of this ability, it is revered as a symbol of the creator spirit in Aboriginal culture. I observed Wedge-tails in the desert when I travelled through Central Australia awhile back. I wanted to convey a sense of their immense size and grandeur, but I am also making a connection between the creative process and the habits of these birds. Their gliding, sourcing and hunting a target, I relate to an artist's practice. My creative process in the studio involves a lot of waiting and watching. I look at my paintings very intensely, searching for clues to the next step; the composition shifts and moves, layers are added and removed. Then suddenly it will become apparent and I know what to do next. It is a strange, exciting and instinctual process that finally ‘catches' a painting."

"My work continues to move forward towards bolder and more expressive brushwork. Negative/positive spatial dynamics are explored in expanses of colour and compositions that fill the canvas. I am also really enjoying working on drawings as a regular part of my practice now. I love the honesty and directness of this medium. I hope to record the energy of movement and change where intricate, repetitive linework contrasts with strong, assertive markings and smudging."

Therein lies the visual poetry as Karlee aspires to express the ineffable and demonstrate the interconnectedness of all things through her art making. Beyond any skillful imitation of appearances, her intuitive, visceral approach communicates ‘essence' - that intangible ‘other' that soars above the mundanity of day-to-day reality. As with the age-old mythic images, there is a kind of sumptuous nourishment to be derived from viewing Karlee's works. It is her hope that they will awaken a sense of both the personal and the archetypal in each of us.

Karlee Rawkins attained a Bachelor of Arts (Contemporary Art) with Honours in 1999 at the University of Southern Queensland and the Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW. In 2003 she won the fifth Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship that afforded her five months at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris and travel to New York, London, Portugal and Spain. Rawkins was a Fishers Ghost Art Award finalist 2012 and Prometheus Art Award finalist 2007, 2005. She was a recipient of the Pat Corrigan Artists' Grant 2001 and the William Fletcher Trust Grant 1999.


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