Year at Home exhibition captures ‘the sublime mundane’

Gunnedah Shire Council

When the chains of COVID-19 lock-downs and restrictions fell over NSW, Louisa Riordan’s world stood still, but the stillness brought her art to life.

For the Gunnedah artist, ‘A Year at Home’ has been a year of discovery. As the world slowed, her paintbrushes captured the shadow of the days passing, awaiting the next day to come.

These works are ready to be discovered in Ms Riordan’s first local exhibition, opening at the Gunnedah Bicentennial Creative Arts Gallery on Friday, 9 December at 6pm.

“My paintings are an autobiographical rendering of moments, tasks, objects and feelings experienced during the past two years of intense home dwelling. Themes of domesticity and motherhood are as inescapable in them as the role itself,” she said.

“Surviving and growing through this time has inspired me to examine my every day. I have come to find joy and wonder in familiar scenes, practises and belongings – the sublime mundane.

“Working in acrylic paint allows me to be both messy and, occasionally, refined – a concept which happily summarises my brain, life and paintings.”

Ms Riordan’s “favourite pastime” as a child was drawing and she pursued this at university where she completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2007.

“I had a large gap to pursue other career options and have a family,” she said.

“Having kids has reignited my interest in painting. I guess I needed to rediscover a part of my old self as matrescence is all-consuming.

“Painting and mark-making is my preferred medium. I love colour and oscillating between an illustrative style and using paint in a thick painterly manner.”

Local residents may also know Ms Riordan as a past owner of Bitter Suite Café, and the artist behind the colourful cockatoos created with sister Alice McLean for Council’s Vibrant Precincts Project in the alleyway between Conadilly and Little Conadilly streets in 2017.

What: A Year at Home exhibition

When: Opening at 6pm, Friday, 9 December 2022

Where: Gunnedah Bicentennial Creative Arts Gallery, 81-83 Chandos Street, Gunnedah.

Continues until: 3pm, Friday, 20 January, 2023

Caption: Louisa Riordan’s still-life paintings are an autobiographical rendering of moments, tasks, objects and feelings the artist experienced during COVID-19 lock-downs.

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