On further relection

A duo show by Kangaroo Valley-based artists Myriam Kin-Yee and Githa Pilbrow

Its been a good year for KV artist Myriam Kin-Yee who having decided to enter a few of the local art awards, met with pleasing success. She was especially delighted in winning 2nd prize in the BDAS (Bowral & District Art Society) John Copes Portrait award this September for her portrait of Martin Wesley-Smith.

Myriam was pleased to also win the BDAS Pirtek Still Life award in July for her painting ‘The Gift Again’, a prize which enabled her to attend a much desired Summer Workshop at the famous London Slade School of Art where she could hone her figurative painting skills in preparation for her planned re-entry into portraiture work. The models held the same pose during the whole day (with breaks of course) for an entire fortnight, a rare occasion for an in-depth study.

Myriam comments on “Through the Looking Glass” (a portrait of Martin Wesley-Smith)

To me, Martin is the friendly, kind, quietly spoken, witty, at times mildly ambivalent and always hospitable Kangaroo Valley neighbour with whom to share a drink or dinner.

To the public, Martin is one of Australia’s leading and much awarded composers. His work has been described as ‘eclectic’ and ‘kaleidoscopic’, spanning from children’s songs, choral music, chamber and orchestral works, operas, electronic compositions and audio-visual pieces to name a few.

A passionate champion of human rights, Martin is well known for his politically inspired works. He has been a teacher and mentor to many of Australia’s acclaimed contemporary musicians. There is also a large body of work influenced by the life, ideas and writings of Lewis Caroll, hence the title of the portrait.

Martin often works with his librettist brother Peter. I would love to have portrayed the twins, but having focused mainly on still life in recent years, I found that challenge a little too daunting… definitely for next time!

“The set up of the flower paintings is a conscious controlled act by me. With Martin, the set up was already there. It was his environment, his work place. The fabric on the sofa reflected his deep interest and travels in cultures steeped in spirituality, the small carvings from New Guinea and East Timor whose political plight plays an enormous part in his music and operas, the quirky Tuba and layers of music papers and folders, the darkened and quiet room magically lit from a truly beautiful outside environment, and countless other associations… they were him, his creation, his spirit… all I had to do was try and transpose all that onto my canvas, the poetry already existed in the environment which was an extension of Martin. The fact that I personally know and admire this talented, kind and quirky man also helps.”

To complete the trifecta, Myriam’s painting ‘Portrait of an Intruder’ was chosen as a finalist for the Meroogal Women’s art prize exhibition, organised by Sydney Living Museums. The entrants were required to respond to the house, the garden and the amazing collection of objects of the historic Meroogal House in Nowra. Myriam’s painting shows her own reflection in one of the curious and beautiful objects stored in the pantry. The first prize was won by the enormously talented Linda Dening, also a wonderful drawing teacher to at least 5 of our Kangaroo Valley artists… in the family, so to speak!

Making art is predominently a solitary pursuit, so it is sometimes a relief to be able to reach out and belong to these various art associations. Meeting up and occasionally working with the ‘like minded’ can be inspiring, guiding and certainly supportive. If you support these associations, they support you right back. The BDAS for one, is an incredibly pro-active centre for the Arts, which not only organises yearly awards but has great facilities where one can take workshops as well as give them, attend interesting and quirky fund raising functions to name a few services.

From time to time one artists find another artist with whom they feel ‘simpatico’. Myriam and Githa Pilbrow like to paint together ‘en plein air’, and on November 9 their first duo exhibition will open at the Jing Jo Gallery.

Githa Pilbrow’s painting ‘The Guardian’ was chosen as a finalist for the Shoalhaven Contemporary Art Prize exhibition in the Nowra Shoalhaven Regional Gallery last year, organised by JBBarts (Jervis Bay and Basin Arts) another very active and worthwhile art body…

Titled ‘On further reflection’ this show will run for the months of November and December. Both artists were part of the group exhibition ‘On Reflection’ in the Palm House, Sydney Botanic Gardens earlier this year, and at the time it seemed like a good idea to bring the show down to the valley for local exposure. Githa however, just about had a total sell out… a problem, but a most enviable one!