From reinterpreted landscapes to embellished surface texture, we explore bold abstraction through seven different artists.
Exploring the medium is central to bold abstraction, where the paint takes life on the canvas, or the pencil narrates the buzz of life on paper through tactile mark-making.
In this Art at Home feature, each artist captures their sense of the world, which can be seen through the varying tones, colours, and textures. Be it South Africa’s wild landscape or the Australian desert – life, emotion, memory, and experience are expressed in pictorial form.
Swedish artist Jenny Lundgren describes her artworks as semi-abstract portraits, though her capturing of colour is evocative of bold abstraction. “I am not at all interested in details when I paint; I work with big gestures, I try to be fearless, I reduce and distil. I strive to find a form for each painting that is at the same time simple but also powerful, to find some kind of essence,” Jenny says.
Adelaide artist Amber Stokie shifts between drawing and painting to depict her experiences of her environment and the people who inhabit it. The bright colours and bold abstraction narrate the multifaceted elements of society, oscillating between a range of mediums, each full of life and energy.
Brazil-born and now Sydney-based artist Eduardo Santos is inspired by his childhood, growing up exploring the north of Brazil “where the river meets the ocean”. Growing up with his grandfather, an indigenous Amazonian potter and fisherman, Eduardo seeks out the ephemeral experience of where the land meets the waterways, a conflation of the natural and the ‘found’.
Born in Helsinki, Finland, Melbourne-based artist Agneta Ekholm lets her works evolve on the canvas, mastering her signature technique over years of practice. The layering of paint resembles flowing water and glass-like shapes that express her emotional and cognitive responses. “Nature is always the starting point,” Agneta says. “It acts as a mirror on the soul, a reflex. In nature, I find something that triggers a kind of personal state of mind,” she adds.
South African artist Alexia Vogel engages the environment with her lush paintings that hover between the real and the abstract. Using an instinctual and spontaneous mark-making method, Alexia trusts the falling drips on the paint to add life and texture to her artworks. The oil paint constructs its own narrative that the artist guides into composition, void of time and place. As a result, the paintings invite a sense of “immersion and getting lost or enveloped in a thought or feeling”.
Born on Texas Downs Station in northeast Western Australia in 1947, Churchill Cann (Yoonany) worked as a stockman and horse-breaker before moving to Turkey Creek (Warmun Community). Here he began painting, crafting a range of bold colours from the orche of the Kimberley region, honing his style that became recognisable around the world for its abstract depiction of the landscape. Alongside painting, Cann was a respected Elder and a healer, with knowledge of Country and the traditional Ngarrangkarni (Dreamtime) stories associated with his Culture.
Growing up in the Northern Territory shaped Zak Tilley’s experience of Australian native flora, fauna and landscape. His artwork explores how we relate and identify with the landscape; the paintings tip into abstraction thanks to the combined effect of memory and interpretation. Country is at the heart of his artistic style, developed while working in youth development and engagement in Alice Springs, facilitating creative workshops for youth and community development.