17 FEB – 5 MAR 2016
Gallery 9 welcomes back Tonee Messiah for her eighth solo exhibition: Over Considered.
Messiah begins each work by spontaneously painting in a solid ground. This ground is then built on, with various hard and soft forms overlapping and intersecting in an archeological drift. The effect is one of movement and agitation, closure and expansion, drawing the viewer towards the inner sub-structure of the painting.
For Messiah, this new series is a reflection on the chaotic and artificially ‘harvested’ nature of our contemporary identities. Her shifting, variegated surfaces indicate a psychological restlessness. However, the invitation to move beyond surface drama, towards the uncluttered centre, is always there. Messiah treats the silently structuring understory of a painting as a metaphor for the authentic self. She explains:
These works are a visual reflection on a society that is at odds with itself, which has lost the confidence to navigate the difficult task of honesty and authenticity. Our experiences are shared as social currency before they are understood; our identities are constructed and reimagined without reflection or comprehension. What importance do we place on connections between experience and understanding? The images that arise in this body of work are reflections on a generation that confuses acute consideration with deep thought. The varied visual language of composition and style allude to the haphazard harvesting nature of our self-creation, the choices we make about our identity are informed by aesthetic whimsy and stylistic fluidity. Now more than ever, being what you are rather than who you are requires over consideration.
Tonee Messiah is an honours graduate of Sydney College of the Arts (2004) whom Pulizer Prize winning critic, Sebastian Smee (The Boston Globe, The Australian), in 2007 identified as one of the nation’s most interesting young artists. In 2015 she was a finalist in the Hazelhurst Works on Paper and Paddington Art Prizes. Her work is held in the collections of Artbank, Monash University Museum of Art as well as numerous corporate and private collections.