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Hilarie Mais/Modern Currents at TarraWarra Museum of Art

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by Elizabeth Quinn (subscribe)
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Hilarie Mais brings the abstract to TarraWarra Museum of Art
The role of grids as a starting point for abstract artist Hilarie Mais is very apparent in the latest exhibition of her work at TarraWarra Museum of Art. Circles also feature as a motif in her paintings and constructions, and the merging of the two systems underlies much of her creative output.

TarraWarra Museum of Art, Hilarie Mais, Modern Currents, Robert Owen, Marc Besen, Eva Besen, Healesville
From the Tempus collection 2008-2017, oil on wood


She uses the interplay between light and shadow to great effect, especially in the works that are not 'hung' but exhibited leaning at a slight angle against the wall. Both her two-dimensional paintings and three-dimensional constructions evolve organically from patterns in nature. According to the artist, 'The outcome cannot be predetermined; it evolves, it can be a surprise.'

TarraWarra Museum of Art, Hilarie Mais, Modern Currents, Robert Owen, Marc Besen, Eva Besen, Healesville
Feather 2017, oil on wood


While much of her work is almost monochromatic, Mais uses multiple components and a colour spectrum in her Nomad series, based on waste plastics the artist has collected over a number of years.



A concurrent exhibition, titled Modern Currents, further explores geometry, colour and abstraction and features works from the Museum's collection. An early piece by Howard Arkley combines his signature blurred outline with atypical restraint of colour, echoing the more monochromatic Mais works.

TarraWarra Museum of Art, Hilarie Mais, Modern Currents, Robert Owen, Marc Besen, Eva Besen, Healesville
Pauses (Interchronic) 1976, synthetic polymer paint on canvas


By contrast, Melanie Harper's riotous use of pop art colour creates a vivid sensory experience for the viewer.

TarraWarra Museum of Art, Hilarie Mais, Modern Currents, Robert Owen, Marc Besen, Eva Besen, Healesville
Untitled 2002, oil on canvas


At Tarrawarra, according to exhibiting artist Robert Owen, 'nature and culture sit side by side'. This is reflected not just in the current exhibitions, but in the architecture and design of the building in which they are housed.



It's always worth the trip down the Maroondah Highway to TarraWarra and this exhibition offers two for the price of one. And - even better - March 17 and 18 is Open Weekend with free museum entry. Go for the art and stay for the views.
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Why? Two exhibitions of abstract art for the price of one
When: February 24 to April 29, 2018
Phone: (03) 5957 3100
Where: Tarrawarra Museum of Art
Cost: $10 Adults $8 Seniors card holders $5 Pensioners, concession & students Children under 12 free
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