In Kylie Banyard’s newest paintings the mood is simultaneously mystical, technicolour, strangely nostalgic and enduringly hopeful. While her latest oil and acrylic works emerged from interests in the experimental American art school Black Mountain College, which in the mid-20th century emphasised holistic learning, this isn’t necessarily clear. Yet the aura of the influence is apparent, particularly in the most compelling paintings that depict women working together in acts of toil and farming, their skin tinged by vivid pinks and blues, blending into the environment in which they work. Existing in luminous lighting, the women’s movements are choreographed in ways that feel caring and reciprocal, not exploitative or competitive.
For an artist with a practice across many mediums, it’s clear Banyard knows painting: colours expertly morph into one another; shaded and flattened areas are designed for maximum impact; a single painting of a house is masterfully skewed, drifting on a pink background, curiously emerging as both a relic from the past and a dream of the future. Alongside the paintings are textile and sculptural forms, yet these don’t quite enhance the atmosphere the paintings so brilliantly conjure − a reverie on labour and creation, and women being with women.