Miranda Skoczek has held solo exhibitions since 2001 in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Heide Museum of Modern Art, Margaret Lawrence Gallery (Victorian College of the Arts), McClelland Gallery and Linden New Art in Melbourne and internationally in Hong Kong and Denmark. Skoczek has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Painting) from the Victorian College of the Arts. She has been profiled in publications including The Age, Art Guide Australia, Art Almanac, Vault, Australian Art Review and Vogue Living. Skoczek's work is held in the collection of Artbank and prominent institutional, corporate and private collections.
THE CELESTIAL & THE MADNESS
8 TO 26 JUNE 2021
The abstract painter and self-described ‘colourist’ takes special delight in playing with every shade of the rainbow.
“I’m interested in what resonates with the individual. What’s important is what makes one feel good and has a visceral effect.”
While Miranda Skoczek gravitates toward pink, no hue is off limits for the Melbourne-based painter in her work or home. She discusses her art collection, the intuitive nature of her work and using colour to bring vibrance to a space.
Have you always been creative?
Yes, indeed I have been. I always took great care in the way I would position things in my room, the colours I wanted to occupy it. I was forever drawing, cutting out little pictures and creating collages, collecting and pressing flowers, and looking to nature for inspiration. I had a very active imagination and I loved to draw the places I visited. Accompanying Mum to galleries, the theatre and ballet was an entry to a magical world.
When it comes to your creative process, at what stage does colour come in?
The birth of a new work happens so automatically – I’ve never planned a painting. I can literally start a new painting with the excess paint of a work that sits beside it, or from cleaning brushes off onto the canvas. The first laid colour informs the next colour to be used, and so on and so on. I have a theoretical understanding of colour, but I also employ its use decoratively.
Aside from painting, do you have other creative outlets?
Painting is a lifelong and all-consuming exercise and, except for necessary things like paying the bills and keeping my child alive, everything I do ultimately feeds into my practice as an artist. My everyday is an endless search and consumption of images, and my home is so intrinsically linked with my work. I’m a collector of myriad objects, books, art, tribal rugs, antiques and contemporary furniture.
What colours do you like to surround yourself with in the home?
Every colour of the rainbow and beyond! I do start with a somewhat neutral palette – with a grey sofa and, ideally, white walls – and then it’s a rather carnivalesque look on top. Art covers every inch of my walls. Pink and all of its manifestations speak to me the most. I find it so joyous and uplifting and am forever painting with it.
What art do you gravitate toward for your home?
My art collection ranges from old paintings my grandparents brought with them from Europe (my favourites being portraits of my mother and aunt) to contemporary art of my peers, and beautiful, modern paintings I’ve found on eBay. My Australian Indigenous works I treasure immensely, and I always wish to add more folk art to my collection.
Interview with Elle McClure for Jones Autumn 2021, photo Oly Begg
FLOATING MOONS, DIZZYING HUES
29 JULY TO 16 AUGUST 2020
The balancing act of the combined energies of pronounced colour, gestural liberation and the physical materiality of a painted surface, quintessentially defines Miranda Skoczek. Freedoms and boundaries of everyday and historical iconography are in confluence with the natural environment in her impressive oeuvre. Art Almanac spoke with the Victorian-based artist ahead of her upcoming solo show at Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Melbourne, ‘Floating Moons and Dizzying Hues’.
I understand you work on your body of exhibited works right up to opening date. Can you tell me about this process?
In the early stages of creating a show, the energy in the studio is one of great passion and frenzy. My process begins very automatically and I’m rather physical with the works. If I start with them lying on the floor, I’m constantly circling, flipping their orientation, pouring the oils (thinned to a watercolour consistency) and covering vast areas with great gestural freedom. There’s a sense of the performative, and I’m having fun, I’m playful by nature. As the majority of my works are layered, I work on several canvases at once, easily ten, sometimes more. Once the joy turns to struggle and angst, it’s handy having the option of turning my attention to a less troublesome work.
Is there a unified direction you are channelling with these works, or are you guided by particular sources of inspiration?
I’m seldom directed by a single idea; I’m a sponge for images, gathered from my myriad books, Instagram, films, eBay, auction house websites – for antiques and decorative objects of every description, and of course, travel. With these works there are the continued themes of duality. Nature and culture. Inside and outside. High and low art. Positive and negative. Spare and fleshy surfaces. I’m as random with my motifs and symbolic forms from one canvas to the next, as I am with the historical references that interest me. I’ve recently returned to Selene, the name the ancient Greeks gave to the moon, as I’m drawn to her links to romance, and her being the eye of the night; the light where there is dark.
These new paintings appear to add to the aesthetic language synonymous with your practice – raw and expressive, a bold but playful use of colour and intuitive painterly abstraction. How important has colour and relying on your intuition been for these new works? And which leads the other?
Intuition is of utmost importance. I have said before I have a completely spiritual connection to my works. Without colour and my intuition, I really haven’t a practice. It’s that simple. Intuition leads the way; I never use colour intellectually – the colours first applied so automatically dictate the atmosphere of the finished work. One colour, mark, form always lead the next.
In the current climate people are seeking escapism from a range of visual stimuli and equally now, arguably more then ever, art is being used to make sense of times – past, present and future. You have previously stated that your paintings are not centred on social concerns and instead are places for escape and restoration. Has self-isolation and social-distancing informed these new works in any way, or changed your usual approach to working on a show? And in these trying times, has the function of your art from your personal perspective been redefined at all?
The only change brought about by the goings-on of COVID-19 has been the way nature has permeated the forms that I’ve reintroduced into my practice. As has always been the case, my pictures are positive in daily life. As a single Mum who feels most supported when immersed in nature, my son and I were/are most fortunate to live surrounded by the beauty of the Dandenong Ranges. It’s been rather interesting to see, that at times I’ve basically painted simplifications of my surrounding landscape.
13 FEBRUARY TO 3 MARCH
"Intuition, the delicate coupled with the raw and performative like sweeps of gesture. Masses of abstract colour are at times bound and bordered, hinting at or representative of forms and motifs that occupy my sub conscious. I am possessed by colour, as I am with a physical expression that is playful, instinctual and led by experience.Specific colour memories, architectonic archways, the arm of an Etruscan vessel act as triggers, leading me to more considered layers, shapes and iconography.My everyday consumption of images informing titles such as Howard as a nod to the great painter Hodgkin, The Etruscans and the afterlife testament to my obsession with antiquity and the decorative. Bit-a This, Bit-a That a reminder that not only do I borrow from the whole history of mark making and the canons of Western Art, but that irreverence and wit are never far from my thoughts."Miranda Skoczek 2019
A New Exhibition Of Raw, Gestural Works From Miranda Skoczek
One of Melbourne’s most collectible contemporary artists opens her first show of the year tomorrow.
Melbourne-based artist Miranda Skoczek rings in her first exhibition for the year with Suggesting Icons at Nicholas Thompson Gallery in Collingwood.
Totems and trophies from Miranda’s subconscious emerge from densely coloured backgrounds in Suggesting Icons. ‘I am possessed by colour… as I am with a physical expression that is playful, instinctual and led by experience,’ Miranda explains of her painterly, gestural works that almost call out to you from the other side of the room.
A dominating palette of greens from deep-sea to moss is spliced and layered with slivers of acidic yellow and candy pink – an intuitive control of colour that is signature to Miranda’s raw, expressive visual language.
Following her exhibition at Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Miranda’s work will also be included in the forthcoming exhibition Gorman: Ten Years of Collaborating at Heide Museum of Modern Art in March.
The Design Files, 12th February, 2019
FLASHES ACROSS THE FIELD
21 MARCH TO 8 APRIL 2018
MIRANDA SKOCZEK FEATURED IN AUTUMN ‘JONES’ MAGAZINE FOR DAVID JONES
Painter Miranda Skoczek on using colour to create joy in your home The abstract painter and self-described ‘colourist’ takes special delight in playing with every shade of the rainbow. MIRANDA, PICTURED IN HER STUDIO, WEARS BASSIKE COTTON CIRCLE SHIRT DRESS In the Autumn issue of JONES Home, we celebrate how the artistic principles of colour, shape and texture can…
MIRANDA SKOCZEK DISCUSSES 2020 EXHIBITION ‘FLOATING MOONS, DIZZYING HUES’ WITH RICHARD MORECROFT FOR ‘EXHIBITIONS’ VIDEO SERIES
MIRANDA SKOCZEK FEATURE BY ALICE DINGLE IN JULY AUGUST 2020 ISSUE OF ART ALMANAC
Miranda Skoczek: Floating Moons and Dizzying Hues 9 July 2020 | Alice Dingle The balancing act of the combined energies of pronounced colour, gestural liberation and the physical materiality of a painted surface, quintessentially defines Miranda Skoczek. Freedoms and boundaries of everyday and historical iconography are in confluence with the natural environment in her impressive…