02
Jun
13

Exhibition: ‘Sophia Szilagyi: water studies’ at Beaver Galleries, Canberra

Exhibition dates: 23rd May – 11th June 2013

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“It is intangible, incalculable, a thing to be felt, not comprehended – a music of the eyes, a melody of the heart…”

John Ruskin, art critic

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“Once, Turner had himself lashed to the mast of a ship for several hours, during a furious storm, so that he could later paint the storm. Obviously, it was not the storm itself that Turner intended to paint. What he intended to paint was a representation of the storm. One’s language is frequently imprecise in that manner, I have discovered.”

David Markson, Wittgenstein’s Mistress

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How appropriate that these stunning water studies by artist Sophia Szilagyi should be exhibited in Canberra as the blockbuster J. M. W. Turner exhibition Turner from the Tate: The Making of a Master opens at the National Gallery of Australia.

I love everything thing about these works: the compacted and layered sense of space (the eye of the printmaker brought to bare in the construction of the images rather than the eye of the photographer), the lack of a traditional vanishing point that allows the viewer to be immersed in the prints, the tonality, the texture and immediacy of the images. Szilagyi pushes the work to the limits and, amid the swirling masses of light and colour, a powerful mood is evoked.1 These towering, raging canvases portray the gathering force of the sea, its immediacy and energy; its danger, wonder and sublime beauty. They are as much landscapes of the mind and the imagination as of the sea. Turner, lashed to  a mast during a furious storm so that he could later paint a representation of the storm, would surely have been proud of these meditations upon nature/life. Bravura. Bravo.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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Many thankx to Beaver Galleries for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Sophia Szilagyi. 'night waves I' 2013

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Sophia Szilagyi
night waves I
2013
Pigment print on archival rag paper
Edition 2 of 15
29 x 29cm

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Sophia Szilagyi. 'stormy seas (after Courbet)' 2013

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Sophia Szilagyi
stormy seas (after Courbet)
2013
Pigment print on archival rag paper
Edition 2 of 15
30 x 35cm

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Sophia Szilagyi. 'wave' 2013

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Sophia Szilagyi
wave
2013
Pigment print on archival rag paper
Edition 9 of 20
49.5 x 57cm

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Sophia Szilagyi. 'breaking' 2013

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Sophia Szilagyi
breaking
2013
Pigment print on archival rag paper
Edition 4 of 10
96 x 122cm

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“Sophia Szilagyi is a printmaker who uses digital printmaking to create scenes of re-interpreted memory and experience. In her multi-layered compositions, Sophia explores the relationship between fiction and non-fiction, challenging our perceptions of reality and the effects of physical sensation and emotional response on memory. Sophia’s artistic process begins with an impression of a certain painting, personal photograph or experience. Images from a variety of sources are combined and overlapped so that the general interpretation of her work is a patchwork of real and imagined experiences. Sophia achieves this seamless layering by using digital technology, giving her the freedom to manipulate the imagery to create the desired mood and expression. The completed works are printed on archival rag paper as this highly absorbent surface enhances the softness and dreamlike quality of her imagery. In this current exhibition, Sophia draws her inspiration from the sea and coast, exploring the dualities of intersections between light and dark, earth and ocean. Through her prints, Sophia seeks to capture a sense of wonder, fear, beauty and, sometimes, danger that exists in both nature and the imagination.

Sophia Szilagyi graduated with First Class Honours from the School of Art and Culture at RMIT in 2000. Since graduating, Sophia has held a number of solo shows as well as participating in many group exhibitions across Australia. Her work has been selected in numerous print awards including the Fremantle Print Prize (2007) and the Banyule Award for Works on Paper (2011, 2009 and 2007). In 2005, Sophia was commissioned to complete a work for the Print Council of Australia and her work is represented in collections including the Burnie Regional Art Museum, La Trobe Regional Art Gallery, Wagga Wagga Art Gallery, Queensland University of Technology and State Library of Victoria.”

Press release from Beaver Galleries

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Sophia Szilagyi. 'light sea' 2013

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Sophia Szilagyi
light sea
2013
Pigment print on archival rag paper
Edition 1 of 15

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Sophia Szilagyi. 'dark sea' 2013

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Sophia Szilagyi
dark sea
2013
Pigment print on archival rag paper
Edition 1 of 15
22 x 22 cm

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Sophia Szilagyi. 'ocean view I' 2013

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Sophia Szilagyi
ocean view I
2013
Pigment print on archival rag paper
Edition 1 of 5
76 x 77cm

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Sophia Szilagyi. 'ocean view II' 2013

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Sophia Szilagyi
ocean view II
2013
Pigment print on archival rag paper
Edition 4 of 5
78 x 74cm

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Sophia Szilagyi. 'settling' 2013

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Sophia Szilagyi
settling
2013
Pigment print on archival rag paper
Edition 2 of 10
80 x 70cm

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1. See Grishin, Sasha. “Genius shows his true colours,” in The Age newspaper, Saturday, June 1, 2013, p.2.

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Beaver Galleries
81 Denison Street
Deakin, Canberra
ACT 2600, Australia
T: 02 6282 5294

Opening hours
Tuesday – Friday 10am – 5pm
Saturday – Sunday 9am – 5pm

Beaver Galleries website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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