Sunday, November 30, 2014

Newcastle Art Space - The Strutt Sisters & Toni Amidy

Watching the ascension of The Strutt Sisters is a part time habit for most of us Novocastrian art types.  It can’t be denied their quirky and brilliant art work entices a grin and has us swanning about in nostalgic reveries.  And it’s a treat at the moment to see so many of their works on exhibit at Newcastle Art Space.  Garish colour collides with strident pattern and combined with the quaint images it all adds up to idealise femininity.  These kitsch works emphasise the beauty of the girl and perhaps along the way remind us that once connectivity was as easy as poking your head over the neighbours fence to borrow a cup of sugar.

But there’s lurking within the confines of each of these fanciful installations a sad discontent where lives were woven with gossip, drudgery and prejudice.  To delve into the narrative of each work of art makes the viewing of The Strutt Sisters work so much more rewarding.

Occupying the second gallery at NAS is painter Toni Amidy.  It’s an impressive collection of abstracted works each thoughtfully composed.  Appealing use of paint, whether it is acrylic or oil, is a big draw card.  There are many standouts in this exhibition but for me I kept returning to those works that were rich in texture and painterly prowess.  A snapshot of a queue in Posturing 3 is painted so vigorously and with such movement I had trouble removing myself from the gallery.  Observing how artists treat the touching of positive and negative space is intriguing and Amidy consistently uses confidence to create rich juxtapositions.  It’s a notable exhibition, one that will have me searching for more of Amidy’s work in future.

“Let the Chips Fall Where They May” by The Strutt Sisters and “Surface Tension” by Toni Amidy both conclude on Sunday.

Kerri Smith
Guest Reviewer

13th November – 30th November 2014

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