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Archive > Rachel Bavich, Abstracted: State of Place

Exhibition runs from 6pm 16th October – 3pm 29th October 2015.

This exhibition is the culmination of two years of work exploring the Victorian landscape and my responses to it. My fascination with landscape began in early childhood while I was living in North West Western Australia where I watched sunsets daily with my mother. Colour and light were central to my formative experiences of the environment and remain so today. Time, also was of intense interest to me. The singular moment in particular and rapid natural change in general. In an environment where the day to day washes away I find that my perception changes and I see in a different and heightened way. I notice more and perceive colour more intensely. This coupled with an abiding interest in the way environment can shape thought and imagination has led me to explore these ideas in painting.

Being in the Australian bush is, for me, a totally immersive experience and it is that kind of sensory and perceptual immersion which informs these works. The works are abstracted landscapes painted in Gouache and Acrylic on Watercolour paper. The paintings take the form of small poetic explorations of light, colour and emotion. The works are as much about perception as they are about landscape and how the mind responds to being in a stimulus rich environment outside of everyday experiences. Attention and focus are key experiences in environments which take us out of the quotidian or day to day and into the sphere of the poetic imagination. It is this idea which forms the core of this work.

These paintings are, however, abstractions. My personal experiences of walking in the bush are only the beginning of the process. I take them and create and construct deliberate and considered compositions which are intended to communicate to the viewer in a way similar to poetry. That is a clarified and specific moment of intense perception and feeling.

The paintings consist of subtle layers of gouache built up rapidly working with a wet in wet technique. Once dry I create calligraphic marks in acrylic paint which juxtaposes in texture and colour with the translucent gouache layers. I use gouache as opposed to traditional watercolour for the stronger intensity of pigment in the gouache. This technique maintains the pigment integrity through the layers of paint. The marks form points of focus for the viewer to find a path through the images and compositionally intensify the layered backgrounds.