Presented by Hill Smith Gallery
Reviewed 10 October 2015
Hill Smith Gallery is currently presenting the refreshing works of gifted Adelaide artists Deidre But-Husaim and Joshua Miels, who are great representations of the talent South Australia has to offer.
But-Husaim places the viewer in a peculiar position of observing the observers of art. Her paintings present the images of people looking at artworks in a gallery, placing us in the voyeuristic position of viewing art over the shoulders of these subjects. These people, who become more interesting to us than the artworks they’re looking at, range from old men, to young adults as well as teenagers. Hardly ever do we see their faces, but our interest is held by how they interact and respond to the artworks; taking a photo, moving around, looking closely and thinking about what’s in front of them. Some even seem to blend into the artworks, becoming at one with what they’re observing.
All her works are resoundingly peaceful, recreating the silent and leisurely atmosphere of an art gallery on a week day afternoon, and the individuals who inhabit this soothing space. Her colour scheme also reflects this with extensive use of neutral whites, blacks and beiges as well as muted greens, blues and browns. Her subjects are also never in crisp focus as But-Husaim steers clear of harsh lines and edges, using instead feathered and softer outlines.
In contrast, Miels works are like a solid punch in the face after the calmness of But-Husaim. As you enter the upstairs room, his monumentally sized portraits confront you in a masculine presence of muscular art. Miels focuses on large, colourful portraiture as a way of capturing personality and substance. His palette is often a chaos of colours that he uses to successfully bring together both the structure of the face and a sense of character within.
Miels plays with a medium of thickly textured oil paint to successfully create faces and smaller pictures of urban figures through experimentation with different strokes and techniques. In some, the texture is fluid and seemingly smeared on, while in others there is a more geometric application of texture and colour. Some faces have been blurred through dragging the wet paint down into a more semi-abstract interpretation of the subject. This is exciting portraiture and if he hasn’t already entered the Archibald that is a door he will soon be knocking on.
This exhibition is one not to be missed, and is a great representation of the extraordinary talent that can be found within our own state.
Reviewed by Georgina Smerd
Venue: Hill Smith Gallery, 113 Pirie Street, Adelaide
Season: 3 – 17 October
Tickets: Free Entry