19 Karen Contemporary Artspace has a lot of style, a refreshing approach and plenty of streetwise charm, right in the middle of Mermaid Beach.
The gallery was launched in 2008 as a commercial contemporary art gallery and under the guiding hand of its director, Terri Lew, it hosts six solo and/or group exhibitions a year. One of the exhibitions this year is German Peter Nowotny’s Reflection ornaments and the spirit of Gold Coast.
Peter Nowotny is a multi disciplinary artist who starts with painting on canvas and then further develops his piece by using a computer. Dark figurines at the background of the painting form the starting point on which the colourful, ornamental shapes play. With the aid of self-written software, the artist who studied communications engineering, dismantles his paintings into their components, with notions of contemporary life depicted by a love-child of a paintbrush and a wireless mouse.
“My work focuses on the interactions between figuration (image) and ornament (concrete), between narcissistic reflections of the Western world and the prohibition of the pictures in the Islamic world,” Peter Nowotny said of his work.
“The motives come from the world of fashion and the imaginaries of modern media. I reflect the divergence but also the convergence between the perfect realistic pictures from Occident and the fascinating ornamental pattern of the Orient. A topic which is currently having a grip on our world both politically and culturally!”
As an art consumer, a culture enthusiast and a Gold Coaster, I am always quite intrigued by how different artists perceive our city. I have seen and written about exhibitions where artists from outside the Gold Coast have interpreted the area and how its essence has emerged for them.
Peter Nowotny’s Gold Coast seems quite different to mine. It has the recognisable, almost stereotypical trademarks; the superficial, trendy figures with a flare for life. But there is a more serious, structured, slightly separate, yet colourful ornamental order floating at the forefront. Sometimes he might cover the eyes or the mouths of the figures or sometimes just simply form a beautifying, decorative component that together with the background form an interesting and confronting whole.
Peter Nowotny’s work is not the ‘easiest’ you will see but give it time and thought and it will entice and engage. And while you are there please check out the other solo exhibition Wave Rave at the gallery featuring the work of R. Nicholas Kuzyk’s.
Kuzyk’s art pictured above.
Peter Nowotny’s Reflection ornaments and the spirit of Gold Coast and R Nicholas Kuzyk’s Wave Rave run until 7 March 2015 at 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace, 19 Karen Avenue, Mermaid Beach. More at 19karen.com.au.