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The Crevice – Madeleine Kelly Madeleine Kelly's solo exhibition included eight large and four smaller paintings, and a light installation, a recent departure for her practice. Rendered in a muted palette of purples, yellows, greys and greens her paintings show otherworldly landscapes, interiors with huddled figures, underground mineral caverns, hybrid creatures and flooded houses beneath a striated sky. Poetic and allusive, the paintings demonstrated the artist’s dexterous line work and her ability to create seamless surfaces through the application of thin washes of paint. Visually and thematically this was a coherent and strong exhibition, and indicated a new direction for the artist.
In these works, inspired by a trip to the Kimberley, the crevice functions in a number of conceptual ways; the form of the crevice lends shape to the split, and the dialectic of the split—a term that implies rupture and limitation—is expressed initially through this form. The vertical natural walls of a crevice correspond to built walls; as a site conflating the ‘natural’ and the ‘cultural’, they suggest the cultural structures that enclose us and dictate our paths (such as money and finite resources).
Since landscape is the locus upon which we form our collective memory—both the expression of our romanticised national identity and shared history of colonial exploitation—the depiction of the Australian landscape is a site of contestation, being the interface of human activity and exploitation.