In Belem Lett’s latest series of paintings, organic forms of strange elegance unfurl in richly coloured plumages. Mark-making is central to these works, rendered in glowing definition over white underpainting and ranging from precise repetition to bold, sweeping spontaneity.
Aviary is borne out of ongoing research into the 18th century Rococo movement, or late Baroque, a period known for its elaborate organic motifs and lavishness. Lett playfully mimics the symmetry found in baroque decoration, encouraging constellations of colour and gesture to read as flora or fauna. This mirroring also references Rorschach’s infamous ink-blots, designed to bridge the gap between the conscious and the unconscious mind. Lett’s energetic forms appear embryonic or in states of rhythmic transformation, dilating into fully fledged creatures or recoiling into abstract fields of colour and shape.
Lett is a graduate of UNSW Art and Design (formerly COFA), completing a Master of Fine Arts by research in 2013. In 2010 he was awarded the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship and undertook a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris. He regularly exhibits nationally and overseas and in 2016 has been a finalist in the Chippendale New World Art Prize, Sunshine Coast Art Prize and Paddington Art Prize. He work is included in the collections of Artbank, Mirvac, Raven Contemporary and 10 Group.
Lett features in the current issue of Art Collector magazine, on sale from 9 October. Aviary is his fourth exhibition at Gallery 9.