Donna Sue Robson specialises in the communication- and healing-arts. Jamie Natural Health and Healing is her energy-healing consultancy. Her modalities, workshops and boutique natural products can be viewed and purchased from www.jamienatural.com.
The face is a road map of our journeys
Emma Rose presents 'Face It', a series of 20 portraits of varied size and media, at The Long Gallery at Montsalvat.
'Face It' art exhibition has been 20 years in the making. Now showing at the grand Montsalvat in Eltham, 'Face It' is the work of Emma Rose, an extraordinary mid-career, painter-print-maker whose artistic execution is surpassed only by the care and respect she has devoted to portraying personal experiences. Rose's depth of vision is truly courageous when you consider that her models are either members of her own family, or friends whom she knows very well. Emma has painted, photographed and explored each individual's journey and transformed their stories into an artistic, collective epic.
Photogravure is an artistic feature of this highly emotive exhibition.
'Face It' is a living narrative that shows events, challenges and resilience through the face. Emma Rose, who is both art therapist and fine artist, has created a poignant collection that draws you into to the real-life experiences her models. The overwhelming audience reaction is to stop and reflect on how our face tells our stories, etched through lines, expressions and reactions for all to see. 'Face It' has clever, embedded layers that give you 'knowing' and yet, keeps you wondering.
Emma has celebrated the lives of her family with crisp honesty and spiritual sensitivity. However, within her intense portraiture, there is room for audience interpretation as we are invited to read the face and fill in the detail. There is almost a sleight of hand as what is effectively biographical portraiture, seems autobiographical. Not only does Emma's art 'speak' to you, as we 'face it', we engage in active conversation.
Even though both men and women are represented in this exhibition, there is an emphasis on men's emotional journeys as many portraits have come from another of Emma's artistic commitment, which was to paint boys and young men who have been challenged by their maternal relationships. It is so refreshing for male emotions to be clarified through facial art. The relationship between Emma and her models adds a gentle haze to each study, giving 'Face It' a spellbinding halo of beauty.
An Array of Artistic Techniques
'Face It' combines Emma's love of print-making, photography and portraiture. Technique is layered to create a facial narrative.
Artist Emma Rose is a portrait painter, print-maker and photographer, and she uses all of these skills in this collection. She has carefully selected Middle-Eastern prints to frame her photographic studies. The precision of sacred geometry is yet another tool that enhances visual story-telling and suggests character. The back-drop prints and their symbolism give low contrast, reflective hue to the intensity of the facial studies, suggesting that context is in fact, personal sub-text.
Photogravure, which is a particular way of processing and printing photographs, adds anticipation and a brilliant immediacy to each piece. Photogravure creates textural dimension, narrative juxtaposition, and suggests, just like the technical process itself, that there is a slow progression to the building of our layers, masks, landscapes and personalities. Emma Rose was a finalist for the Nillumbik prize 2018 and another of her photogravure portraits can be seen in the Finalists' Exhibition displayed in The Barn Gallery of Montsalvat until June 22nd.
By relying on the face to tell the 'soul story', Emma has included large-scale oil portraitures that fully engage the senses. Struck by the scale and intensity of these subjects, we ponder not just on events and emotions, but on 'the world of relationships', as we feel the relationship between subject and artist, as well as the inter-relationships between family members. It is fascinating to consider how single family events can shape us differently. This engagement compels us to re-look at images over and over again.
Emma's choice of male models sets this exhibition apart.
On the right-hand-side of The Long Gallery, Emma's small scale portraits provide intimate contrast, luring the viewer to engage in personal worlds at the micro-level. Use of scale becomes yet another thread to creating complexity and reflection. As we do reflect, it is as if we intuitively add our own colour to these black and white photographic etchings which quickly become larger than life.
Images from 'Face It' remain etched in the mind's eye: as eyes lock we intimately connect and transport each model's life into real time. True audience engagement is a testament to the visual and emotive power of Emma's exhibition, grounded through genius technical choices and execution. 'Face It' inspires human empathy and challenges us to face our own truths by owning what our own faces may naturally reveal.
Entry to 'Face It' is free, but if you want to see the Nillumbik's Finalist's Exhibition and Montsalvat's other spaces, buildings and exhibits, entry is $14 for adults, $10 concession and $8 for children ($35 for a family). Montsalvat has a cosy, upmarket Melbourne-style café, but if you choose your day, pack a picnic and soak up the history and ecological beauty of one of Melbourne's greatest art monuments.