Abbey McCulloch ‘Zero’

4 May – 25 May 2017

"ZERO is an exhibition of paintings reflecting on the idea that stillness is an illusive and yet oh-so-necessary state of being. Silencing our self-chatter can be a constant battle and I often wonder whether softening our inner chaos is even possible, especially today when constant noise seems to come from everywhere. 

These new works are about escaping to ourselves for comfort and refusing to look elsewhere and this can sometimes feel like running back into a burning house. Each of these paintings explore this idea that we can be our own salve, our own sanctuary. ZERO is about a fascination with disconnecting. I have recently discovered the benefits of meditation, I’m only just starting out but I have already felt it’s soothing nudge in reminding us of how effective we can be at undoing our own damage." Abbey McCulloch - March 2017

Women as social beings: mothers, daughters, sisters - the manner in which the feminine might present itself when the public gaze is not present and perfection not a requirement - this is what concerns Abbey McCulloch. Her paintings of the female persona, while grounded in the tradition of self-portraiture, also act as vehicles for exploring emotions ranging from awe to frustration, from screaming abandon to resolute determination. McCulloch says she looks to create a “reflexive mirroring process” using her own image as a prop to lay bare contrivances necessary for emotional survival in our overly self-conscious culture. Her ease and facility in working with the face and figure lead to “a mix of theatre, a bit of softening, some exaggeration” and subsequently, an incisive glimpse into forthright, unsentimental observation

Her palette favours complementary colours applied in thin layers, building to a sense of irony: opposites work against one another in disagreement and tension. “My work is an absolutely private pilgrimage. I want the viewer to feel the struggle between risk and hesitation”. 

McCulloch holds a Masters in Fine Art from the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. Named as one of Australia’s 50 Most Collectable Artists by Art Collector in 2009, 2010 and 2011, she has been a finalist in the Archibald Prize three times (with portraits of Toni Collette [2007], Nell Schofield [2009] and Naomi Watts in 2013). She has also been a finalist in the Redland Art Prize, the Paul Guest Drawing Prize, the Northern Rivers Portrait Prize, the Stan and Maureen Duke Prize and the Metro Art Prize.