A review of Stephanie Crisp's exhibition
L’Estrange Gallery, Sumner
21 October – 16 November 2008
Gardens and nature inspire Stephanie Crisp. She says, ‘My painting is not an isolated event, but part of my everyday life.’ In these richly coloured works of plants, naturalistic to stylized, life seems to be the dominant theme.
The L’Estrange Gallery space is intimate. Spotlighting gives jewel-like attention to the individual images. The dark wooden floor reflects and bounces the light, enhancing the shadows as a point of difference.
An organic feast of varied plant life pervades the picture space, including leaves, trees, ferns and artichokes. Dancing colour, darting patterns and swirling lines depict movement. The plant material seems to change and grow while looking, in contrast to the frozen moment of the painting.
Board Walk No.1 (2008) demonstrates this beautifully. The work features centripetal, fragmented pieces of stylized plant life. Frenzied movement, energy, colour and life is dynamic, yet held captive within the defined rectangle.
This confined action creates an interesting play between the two-dimensional plane of painting and the three-dimensional painted image. Stephanie enhances the contrast of dimensions by overtly breaking the flow of the subject. She forces the eye to jump frenetically about the work with her use of form and colour.
In comparison, Artichokes (2008) is a calmer, more harmonious work. Hues of sage green and mid blue are enlivened by glimpses of fiery red permeating from the background.
Off the Track (2008) has a specifically New Zealand dense bush feel, with palm-like fronds prominent amongst swirling ferns, painted in autumn tones.
Gallery owner Bryan L’Estrange describes Stephanie’s work as having progressed while continuing in a unique and recognisable style. The show sold well, with a selection of works redisplayed throughout the gallery.
Reviewed and written by Janet Joyce
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