Felt Space, Adelaide SA
2nd December 2015 - 19 December 2015
I’ve never forgotten a painting by Edouard Vuillard of someone asleep called “Le Sommeil” in the Masterpieces From Paris exhibition at the National Gallery in Canberra in 2010. Measuring 33 x 64.5cm and painted in 1892, this little painting was for me the most powerful and solid work in the show. The colours spoke of the cold dampness I remember in England: black, green-greys, cream, and even the triangle of orange clothing on the chair. Compositionally dynamic with a strong diagonal, beyond the form and colour I was drawn to the quiet intimacy of this woman’s cozy slumber.
For many years I’ve sneakily drawn people asleep, capturing them quickly before they awake or move. Ever since seeing that painting I have wanted to paint someone asleep in bed. Moving into my studio at The Mill last year I was able to borrow a chaise lounge and finally got to paint people asleep. And when there wasn’t a model I painted the pillows and quilt that remained after someone had gotten up from sleeping there.
I’ve painted a series of small works of acrylic on wood of people asleep. Some are snug and warm under quilts and blankets, others putting their feet up for a few afternoon zzzz’s or happily drifting off. Peacefulness can be found in all of them. It’s a peace I’m quite envious of because there’s no way I could sleep on that lounge. My mobility wouldn’t allow it. I would find lying on the chaise lounge near impossible- I wouldn’t be able to get on or off it from/to my wheelchair plus the way my body twitches and spasms if I did lie on it I’d probably fall off. These painting are of an ease and tranquility that are impossible for me.
All works photographed by Alex Makeyev.