Gallery Rouan, Limassol.23rd October to 3rd November 2009
The exhibition explores the painting process through approximately 25 oil paintings.
The first series in the exhibition challenges the developing urban landscape within Limassol and its juxtaposition to the natural environment. Focusing on tower blocks built in the 1980’s and 1990’s; the impact they have had on the peaceful Limassol vistas is explored through colour, texture and form. Asking the question, “What effect do these imposing structures have on the disappearing traditional, architectural landscape of old Limassol?” Paradoxically, these man made structures that were built for purpose (to house more people on a smaller plot of land), are now left to rot and die having never been maintained.
Kelly aims to capture the damp, ill maintained, crumbling, exteriors of the tower blocks through the layering of textures on the canvas. Using different hues of green washes, then wiping off the stains and paint spume to reveal decaying surfaces, various techniques are employed including scratching onto the canvas with sharp implements, focusing on the structure’s shape and roof tops containing hoards of satellite cables, arials and watertanks. The freshness of painterly marks, contradict the rugged and potent images. Deliberately choosing to work in monochrome creates a different and challenging image. Sap green was chosen because it’s naturally an organic colour, and represents the loss of the natural environment that has accommodated these tower blocks.
A series of oil studies on watermelons, iconic of summer and also representative of the painful acrid summer months in Cyprus, makes up the final part of the exhibition. The vivid reds and purples create a sharp contrast from the monochrome green of the tower block series.
Quite playful, fun and visual some have a darker, sinister side that emphasizes the putrid smell of decaying skin and flesh. The watermelon pink metamorphoses into a bruised purple and red, to resemble decaying animal carcasses. This series of paintings are much softer in their execution which explore organic natural forms that are both transparent and opaque. The compositions develop the smooth shape and forms found in nature, and move away from the harsh crumbling tower blocks.
Kelly Norman graduated from the University of Portsmouth in 1998 with a BA Hons in Art Design and Media .She then went on to complete a Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Art at The Cyprus College of Art in 2003.She lives and works in Limassol .
Notes on Green.
“Carrying the light from the moon to dye the mountain stream” - Xu Yin, Five Dynasties poet talking about Mi Se.
“It’s not easy bein’ green” - Kermit, The Muppets frog puppet, singing about identity.
In China green was a secret colour, so secret royalty could own it. Found on a special kind of porcelain called Mi Se pronounced “Mee Ser” meaning mysterious colour.
“Celadons” is the generic name given in China to all green coloured ceramics. Best described as misty, dreamy, ghostly, pale, foggy-delicate some of the best celadons are deeply flawed they have a deep spider’s web pattern on them or “crackle” which to some western tastes is strange. To Chinese people it looks tantalizing like the fissures in jade. The crackle effect has to be carefully managed so that paradoxically the bowl became perfect by being slightly imperfect. “You can’t get it too wrong, but you have to get it just wrong enough”. Celadon represents nature and harmony, the fading green of summer to earthy autumnal red. Its boldness to a salted appetite would have been like a sorbet to the glutted pallet.
Most striking are the hand painted wallpapers from china, green tendrils creeping up the walls with extra birds, flowers and even a special banana tree pasted on top. In the 1770’s a chemist experimenting with colour paint produced a most astonishing green “Scheele’s green” which contained levels of arsenic that were extremely poisonous! Manufacturers used it in a range of paints and papers, and for years’ people happily painted poison onto their walls.
The love of green was one shared by many artists, for of course green is in many ways the most natural colour in the world.