WENDY STAVRIANOS AT NICHOLAS THOMPSON
The abstraction of Wendy Stavrianos’ recent body of work results from the artist’s psychological and physical observations of the inescapable effects of contemporary climate catastrophe. The outcome is a collection of paintings, characterised by sharp contrasting pastels and deep black tones that reflect on the harsh reduction of the Australian landscape, marred by drought, dryness and heat.
Through the Window of an Inner Room is the outcome of Stavrianos’ private reverie about the deeper sentiment of objects, namely those collected in and around her central Victorian studio space. Living and working in this remote landscape, Stavrianos is a gatherer and cataloguer of objects whose beauty emerges from their tarnished environmental status. In the body of work’s transition from internal, individual space to collective viewing, Stavrianos ruminates on the known consequences of mankind’s willful misuse of the natural world.
However, these paintings cannot be viewed strictly as a defeated monologue on the effects of human environmental intervention but rather as an homage to the ‘wounded beauty’, or what remains of the natural world in a state of destruction. In intricate, dark line drawing layered on top of swathes of pinks, yellows and blue-greys, Stavrianos anchors the resilience of the Australian landscape to place and memory. It is the tension between the distinctive formal approach to colour and line in these works that expose the psychology and physicality of Stavrianos’ practice. Relying on acrylic for its qualities of immediacy and malleability, Stavrianos echoes the urgency needed from humanity to reduce climate impacts. Ultimately, the organic treatment of hues is assigned a framework in the artist’s over-drawing, exemplifying the tension between how we occupy the world and how this contributes to what remains.