# 42735

DAVIS, Anna et al.

Louise Hearman

$75.00 AUD

With essays by Anna Davis and John McDonald. Sydney : Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, 2016. Oblong quarto, illustrated wrappers, pp. 208, illustrated. With a signed letter from curator Anna David to collector Liz Laverty who loaned some of the works in the exhibition.

‘This exhibition is the first major museum survey of Australian painter Louise Hearman, featuring painting and drawings from across her more than 25-year practice. The Melbourne-based artist is best known for her dark dream-like paintings where things are never quite as they seem. It is up to us to imagine what is glimmering in the half-light or lurking deep in the shadows, as the artist offers no written clues to the evocative contents of her works, which are nearly always left untitled. Contemplative and obsessive in her approach, Hearman returns repeatedly to a number of motifs in her work – a child’s radiant face, the back of someone’s head, a glowing orb, a deserted road, an aeroplane gliding through a liquid sky, a phosphorescent sunset, a melancholic cloud, dogs, flowers, birds, cats and, perhaps most bizarrely, rows of shining teeth smiling at us. The luminous subjects of her portraits tend to float in a sea of blackness or abstract fields of colour, while her landscapes are often set at the edges of bush and suburbia, captured at twilight or dawn, their uncertain light spawning otherworldly forms and imbuing them with a supernatural quality. Hearman collects imagery for her paintings by closely observing and photographing her experiences. She then merges these photographs with other recalled and imagined images in her mind and works in her studio to create unsettling compositions that blend and transform the commonplace into something extraordinary. With great technical skill, she focuses on capturing precise qualities of light in her subjects, conveying moments of intense radiance and darkness. The light in her paintings is beautiful but it can also disfigure, producing undefined spaces and monstrous forms. These disconcerting images are reminiscent of fleeting sensory impressions, like something glimpsed but not quite seen, caught at the moment before conscious apprehension. Hearman’s paintings are often said to have a cinematic quality, and like film stills they capture transient moments of imaginary time. By combining commonplace imagery with highly personal visions of the unknown and the unknowable, her art hints at the wonders of the universe and the compelling nonverbal nature of our thoughts and imaginings.’ – Trove