The Moores Building Contemporary Art Gallery
46 Henry St, Fremantle WA
Opening Event: 10th June 2011. Continues until 26th June 2011.
In her first solo exhibition in Western Australia, Genevieve Montgomerie seeks to represent what she believes is the undercurrent of WA’s identity – the life giving water!
“Water of Life” invites audiences to kick off their shoes and paddle into the coastal playgrounds of this great state – leaving behind schedules, pressures and yearning.. all associated with the pace of contemporary living, to “be” intoxicated by the water that is always lapping at our shores, yet is so often missed as the cultural pulse of the Indian Ocean hemmed state of Australia.
Montgomerie’s style weaves effortlessly between social realism and a contemporary take on the techniques of the Old Masters. Painterly yet rendered, inviting yet intimately personal reflections, her works are a testament to the light, depth, moods, possibilities and energies of the cleansing water of life she finds herself immersed in!
The works are big – the biggest is 2.4m x 1.5m and being frameless they serve as an open window to the mesmerising water worlds, an illusionary space that leaves the four walls of a gallery in a distant past.
Having moved West from Melbourne thirteen years ago where Montgomerie graduated from Melbourne University and taught Visual Art and History at a Secondary Level, Montgomerie is still awe struck on a daily basis at the natural beauty of her adopted coastline. “For more than a decade I have felt Western Australia’s unmistakable pride for being ‘Western’ and given its isolation, this pride is certainly warranted. Yet as an outsider I feel that many Western Australians long for a sense of identity that is not their own – an identity that works with bigger cities, larger populations and hugely fluctuating seasons – an identity that is not reflective of the pulsating lifeline lapping at their shores. Fostered by this eternal yearning for more, I question whether sometimes Western Australians have lost sight of the jewels in their own crown? Sadly I observe that too few Western Australians savour what I believe is quintessentially their cultural soul – the life giving water!!”
From deep within her brushstrokes of aqua translucency she seeks to SCREAM that a culture emerging from the depths of this healing water is indeed fertile! 13 years into her Western Australian Artistic career, it is Montgomerie’s technical refinement, her use of pure luminous colour and ever changing vaporous atmosphere, all flooded in golden light that could only EVER be Western Australia!
“Be it the surfer heading across Yallingup reef in the hope of catching that perfect 5.45am wave or the 8 year old having her first lesson in snorkelling at Green’s Pool, Denmark; the early riser at Geordie Bay, paddling into shore from his boat to grab the morning paper or the toddler frantically pouncing on jellyfish in the shallows of Mosman Bay.....their lives at the water’s edge are informed by its powerful rhythms, its hypnotic calm. They are cleansed by its tinkling sounds and its life force. They embrace their days under its enormous WA sky with a willingness to simply ‘be’ in the moments of life in this mesmerizing place.
This, I believe is it – a true identity... stunningly complete, a water life lapping at our skin.”