Layers and Secrets | Margie Kelk

April 21 – May 3, 2004

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In our modern, chaotic world, the need for quiet, contemplative space drives people to search for solace in hidden places. My oil paintings feature shifting layers of thick impasto paint which surround, yet offer entry into a mysterious space suggestive of refuge and peace.

The richness of colour and thickness of the paint layers underscore the material qualities of the paint itself. The painting process is a long one, characterized by constructing, developing, often destroying and reconstructing visual fragments of ideas.

For Margie Kelk, an acknowledged major source of inspiration is the work of British painter Howard Hodgkin. Hodgkin is perhaps best known for his abstracts evoking the somewhat paradoxical experience of memory without detail; that is, the experience of recall infused with little else but emotion.

Like Hodgkin, Kelk is interested expressing the phenominal through abstraction. Four key elements make up her visual language: geometry, figuration, colour and gesture. Kelk deftly combines these elements in imagery that suggests, rather the enigma of inner life. Geometry and figuration create the perception of depth and help frame and focus our attention. Bold colours are laid down in thick brush strokes of impasto, and are then scraped on places to reveal layers. Layers evoke a sense of the passage of time as we know that time must pass before one layer can be applied over another.

Kelk’s abstract landscapes – psychological landscapes as it were – serve as an apt metaphor for the psyche: layers refer to secrets rooted in time, and space reflects a quintessential characteristics of phenomenology; namely, that it is multi-dimensional, non-linear, and untimately, never compeltely knowable.

Margie Kelk

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