Stay warm, be cool

Stay warm, be cool

‘Stay warm, be cool’ is the new exhibition by Lucy Culliton. “Last summer was not kind. I live on a rural property, ‘Bibbenluke’, in South East NSW on the Monaro Plains. We have been in drought for the past four years then this January we were threatened by bushfires for weeks. These paintings are a comfortable relief from the hot dry. Still life was an obvious choice this winter. Very nice making a painting of a glowing heater on a cold day. Even the toaster gave warmth as I painted her portrait. The fans are warming up for summer which will come around far too soon. It’s good to get out of the studio sometimes. The landscape paintings are of my neighbours property. I paint little study’s out in the landscape and make big paintings in the comfort of the studio with a little bar heater keeping me warm and a bunch of dogs for company.” (Lucy Culliton, 2020)

The subjects for Lucy’s paintings are always close to home, and close at hand. Painted during winter, this exhibition documents the domestic appliances that provide comfort to the artist. Portraits of the everyday, the weathered objects are treated with reverence and whimsy, her heaters throw a convincingly warm glow while the fans sit temporarily unplugged. Following a long tradition of Australian painters like Sydney Nolan documenting the drought, her palette reflects the reality of a baked landscape. Employing the power of repetition, her paintings of rusted cans and oil pots celebrate the most humble of everyday vessels.

A graduate of the National Art School in Sydney, Culliton was recognised in a major survey at Mosman Art Gallery in 2014. Her work is held in the National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Macquarie Bank and Parliament House collections. She is a regular exhibitor in leading public awards, winning the 2006 Portia Geach Memorial Award. Culliton is a regular finalist in the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. ‘Stay warm, be cool’ is open at Jan Murphy Gallery 6 – 24 October 2020.

Image credit: Lucy Culliton, Monaro grasses (Gunningrah right, Kuringgai left), 2020, oil on canvas, 183.0 x 183.0 cm (detail)

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