Adrienne Gaha’s mirage-like dreamscapes are an emotional and intuitive response to the world, constrained by her formal understanding of painting, surface, and form. Working with glazes, she layers and rubs colours into each other in a process of putting on and wiping off, letting the drips of paint and turpentine create interesting details in the surface. While doing so, she allows her mind to wander and contemplate life and the rhythms of the world around her.

Inspiration might come from mysticism, popular culture, politics, or art history, with Gaha often returning to the same source images over and over again - how these images are reinterpreted with each iteration highlights how she herself is changing over time. The combination of the first two colour layers in a painting are considered rather than spontaneous, often conveying a sense of nostalgia.

Gaha appears to work quickly, with many paintings on the go at one time. But integral to this process is a period of separation from the works - physically putting them away until she is ready to resolve them. This period of waiting is as much a part of the process as the physical act of painting.

The result is ethereal works that collapse the socio-political, emotional, and technical into a single space. Like a Troxler’s fade, tangible moments disappear into the background, figuration breaks down into abstraction, and light fades to shadow. Yet despite this elusiveness, an essence stays for the audience to respond to and recast through their own personal narrative.

Adrienne Gaha is a Sydney-born artist now living and working between Australia and Europe. An alum of the Sydney College of the Arts and the National Art School, Sydney, her work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions throughout Australia as well as New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Mexico. A finalist in the Grace Cossington Smith Painting Award (2015, 2014) and the Geelong Contemporary Painting Prize (2014), her work is held in public, university and private collections through Australia.

Carrie McCarthy 2021