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Featuring stunning large scale portraits by Rachel Perrin
Being Human features a collection of striking portraits and figurative works by artist Rachel Perrin. The works in this exhibition examine layered emotions and states of being as the artist explores the complexities and subtleties of emotion in her subjects and of being human in general.
Rachel Perrin is a Melbourne based visual artist with an interest in drawing, painting and portraiture. After studying dance and having a lengthy career in fashion her interest in painting began after having her own portrait painted by acclaimed artist Peter Wegner. Rachel says she knew that painting was the right fit for her as soon as she picked up a brush. She went on to study at Latrobe College of Art and Design where she was influenced by some outstanding contemporary artists who were lecturing there.
Rachel describes her art as human, observational, textural, emotive and alive. She explains, "People are the reason I make art and my paintings are a direct representation of my response to, or connection with, my sitter. Facial expressions are often loaded or very subtle because people just aren't that straight forward."
Rachel uses an interesting technique called pyrography in her work, burning images onto wood, usually American or Tasmanian oak, and then adding detail with mixed media of oil paint, conte and ink to create incredible, hyper-realistic portraits of her subjects.
In her exhibition Being Human Rachel investigates emotional process and layered states of being. The pieces in this show are all large-scale portraits as Rachel feels the sitter or viewer can relate more directly when images are within a certain scale.
For this show, the artist uses multiple images of her subjects in each portrait in order to achieve a deeper understanding of each individual. Rachel says, "I use direct lighting, shadows and multiple images of my sitters to highlight emotional flux, and transcend physical likeness in traditional portraiture to achieve a broader insight into the individual, and into the complexities of simply being human."
The exhibition features nine works including the following:
This fascinating piece is titled Knowing and uses oil and burning on Tasmanian oak
The beauty of pyrography as a technique is that it uses the earthy and sepia hues and textures inherent in the material to enhance the warm flesh tones we see in the portraits. For me, the works are at once full of life, personality and character but also capture a more thoughtful or reserved side of the subjects.
It is astounding to me that these stunning images start out as a plain piece of timber and through the skill and talent of the artist become such beautiful, captivating and realistic artworks.
Rachel finds her inspiration everywhere. While her subjects may appear to be quite random, she says the commonality is that they are all people she is drawn to - talented and self-motivated people with busy minds. Some of her portraits are of people she knows but she also confesses to being unafraid to ask an interesting stranger to agree to be painted.
For this artist, it can be the tiniest thing that triggers an idea and she is inspired by many contemporary artists and painters. One of her current favourites is Caroline Westerhout, a Dutch artist, due to the interesting work she does with faces and oil paint.
The exhibition Being Human will commence at Off the Kerb Gallery on 28th September 2017 and will run until 12th October 2017 in the Front Gallery.
Opening night is on Friday 29th September from 6pm - 9pm.
Other exhibitions showing at Off the Kerb during this period include "Res Cogitans" by Rhys Knight in the Back Gallery, "Live Your Best Life" by Coco Meacham in the Side Gallery and "Lateralisation" by Liam Snootle in the Upstairs Gallery.
Off the Kerb Gallery is located at 66B Johnston Street Collingwood. The Gallery is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 12.30pm - 6pm and on Saturday and Sundays from 12 noon until 5pm. Entry to the Gallery is free.