Skin deep

NATALIE SCHOLTZ’S latest exhibition Skin in the Game is a thought-provoking meditation on skin colour.

With a Persian mum and African father, it’s a theme close to the Fremantle artist’s heart.

Her paintings explore the residue of past relationships, travels, community work and academia.

“Whilst observing the ripple effects of colonialism in Australia,” Scholtz says.

Working in the disability sector, and with refugees, also influenced her paintings.

• Fremantle Artist Natlie Scholtz (top) and one of her artworks from Skin in the Game. Photos by Rachel Elizabeth

It’s not the first time Scholtz has explored complex relationships through art, but never at such an intimate level.

“This new body of work is the first time I have painted my own skin colour,” she tells the Herald. 

“I’m not sure if it’s psychological or social, but I thought I have never tried to mix my own brown.”

Her figurative portraits show her mum’s lighter Persian brown complexion and her dad’s darker features.

“I sit in the middle, and these works are looking at that,” Scholtz says.

Artist friends warned her about the project.

“They said ‘if you’re playing with brown you’re going to be buying a lot of tubes of paint, because it’s a hard colour to mix’.”

Scholtz was born in the UK, but her family immigrated to Australia when she was a young child.

She returned to England and briefly attended the London Academy of Drawing, but is mostly self taught.

“My dad was my main influence.” Using a mix of oils, pencil, paper and canvas, Scholtz’s portraits are figurative, “but not abstract to where it’s yellow dots on the paper.”

“I observe my introversion, awkwardness and curiosity of self and what it feels like to have ‘skin in the game’.”

The exhibition is on at Post Irving, Holland Street, Fremantle until April 5, Thursday-Sunday. 

by JENNY D’ANGER

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