Presented by Leah Grant
Reviewed 11 July 2015
Young Adelaide artist, Leah Grant, presents her first SALA exhibition Light Spectrum of Existence at Rundle Street’s Tin Cat Café, displaying her latest works which focus on the interplay of light and colour and the emotions they can evoke.
Although it isn’t obvious at first, each work is a giclee (high quality) print of photo that enlarges a single section of her two original artworks, See (ink on canvas), and Spectrum (resin and ink on canvas). Interestingly, the original paintings have been placed further towards the back of the cafe so the majority of the prints are experienced before you see the original paintings they emerged from.
Through her use of colour, Grant captures light and its movement within specific moments of time. The intimate setting of the Tin Cat Café is ablaze with her palette of bright, bold colours which are the first impact on the viewer, and in the end the lasting impression of the exhibition.
Stylistically Grant experimented when photographing the original paintings, to capture different moments and images of light. Some prints, photographed while still, create a clean cut resolution of colour edges, sometimes contrasted with the texture of the paper. At other times the camera is moved while photographing the painting to project light movement within the artwork; such as a blur of colour or shafts of splintered light cutting across the print. All of these different effects are created through Grant’s artistic choices as she photographs the original paintings, experimenting with outcomes and differentiating the prints. At the other end of the process, Grant completed some works with a resin finish, creating a reflection of the surrounding light which becomes part of the artwork itself.
Grant’s intention is to evoke positive feelings through her works and she largely achieves this through her use of bright and lively colours. Somewhat contrastingly, she wanted to create feelings of serenity and contemplation within her audience, which aren’t normally associated with such vibrant colours. Grant succeeds in creating these emotions through the exclusion of harsh lines and sombre dark colours, allowing the soft edges to tone down the bright aspects of the artwork.
Grant had many influences, including American Abstract Impressionist painter, Mark Rothko, whose work surprised her with the intensity of the emotions she experienced when encountering his paintings. She was taken with the power that Rothko’s use of colour commanded, and the strong emotions it conjured within her. Rothko’s early works presented flat areas of colour, while his later, more abstract work featured large soft-edged areas of colour, and his influence can clearly be seen in Grant’s works.
This exhibition displays similar works to Grant’s seven light boxes found on Blyth Street in the Adelaide CBD. They were commissioned earlier this year by the Adelaide City Council to make the street a safer and more positive environment – themes that Grant continued within her works for this exhibition.
Reviewed by Georgina Smerd
Venue: Tin Cat Café, 107 Rundle Street, Kent Town
Season: 12 July – 23 August 2015
Tickets: Free Entry