Nikky Morgan-Smith

A Moment In Time

August 4 - August 18 2018

The relative isolation amidst the forests of northern NSW in which Nikky Morgan-Smith lives engenders an atmosphere conducive to contemplative and creative pursuits. Her new body of work resonates that environment's manifold energies in both imagery and process.

Nikky's recent paintings reflect her ongoing fascination with the scientific concept of murmuration: the moment in time when flocking birds instantaneously change direction. It is such critical transitions in nature that herald the edge of change and transformation. In response, her winged paintings have little to do with allegorical intent but rather, seek to express the very essence of movement. Nikky's artistic approach is as fluid and unpredictable as the murmuration phenomena in negotiating the threshold between meaning and medium. Across painted and sometimes aerosol-sprayed surfaces, the repetition of informally silkscreened imagery sets up progressive and flowing rhythms; the linear orchestration generating enormous kinetic power. Random smudging and gestural scribbles extend the visual dissolution of solidity and stasis.

Other works mark a return to animals portrayed within the confines of a domestic setting, but these are no longer exotic menagerie-like creatures, or bathroom-bound. However, the former sense of displacement does persist in the Kangaroo painting. Wild wallabies abound in the vicinity of Nikky's home and studio. In this image, runnels of pigment drip from the heritage-inspired wallpaper as if to signify the kangaroo's bewilderment at suddenly finding itself enclosed by walls. Subtly embedded within the floor are rudimentary motifs of bushland foliage. The kangaroo is still aglow with the ruddy warmth of its sun-dappled natural habitat and the contrasting blue of the interior exemplifies the anomaly of the situation in colour and symbolism.

The painting Basil doesn't particularly reference a sense of dislocation - apart from the circumstances of its inspiration. The work depicts a moment in domesticity when Nikky's dog, Basil, was shooed outside and his patterned blanket hung over the verandah railing to air in the sun. Upon glancing back she observed that Basil's quizzical attitude, with his dark fur lustrous in the light reflecting up from the deck, was a subject worth capturing. Nikky's penchant for the nuances of pattern further alerted her to the aesthetic potentials of the composition. The unexpected moment is translated in the spontaneity of her brushwork and the loose representation of the blanket's markings. Each hand-painted line and shape is at variance. Nikky imparts that she much enjoys the implicit irony of deliberately disturbing accepted notions of what constitutes a regular pattern.

The broad spectrum of Nikky's creative expression manifests the possibilities of perception and encourages the viewer to experience one's own moments in time with an enlivened sensibility.


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