Scary selfie

• Stef Rae’s artwork Anonymous.

THREE female artists reflect on the relationship between self image and the environment in their stunning new exhibition Holding Self. 

Sarah Dixon, Natalie Scholtz and Stef Rae work out of neighbouring studios at the PS Art Space in Fremantle, and decided to join forces for their debut collaboration.

Featuring about 35 paintings on paper, board, canvas and linen, ranging from 10cm to more than a metre long, the exhibition has a wide range of styles and imagery, reflecting each artist’s personality.

One of the more disturbing pieces is Rae’s Anonymous, where a human face has been reduced to an explosion of yellow colour with pink gaping holes for eyes and a mouth (there’s not really a nose). 

Couched in a black void, the mix of acrylic and oils is a powerful statement.

Born in WA, Rae likes to experiment with paint – “an evolving investigation in materials, creating a diverse range of paintings engaging in discussions between reality and imagination”.

The other end of the spectrum is Dixon’s tranquil still life of a vase with flowers; or is it?

On closer inspection the flowers are wilting and despite the use of mellow, relaxing colours, there is an undercurrent of sadness and decay.

The painting’s title I feel like I’m dying doesn’t pull any punches.

Originally from Canada, Dixon’s art “reflects the space between the corporeal body, spirit and outer world. Manifested through oil paint on canvas, the fragments piece together space and time through memories, sexuality, movement and the decay of the body.”

Scholtz’s Investigation Self is a clever portrait with hidden depths. A skull and naked woman blend into a watery reflection, and the use of mixed mediums creates the feeling of multiple personalities.

The old-school hat gives the portrait an air of yesteryear, reminiscent of David Bowie in The Man who Fell to Earth.

A Persian South African, raised in Australia, Scholtz’s works are not “literal representations, but observations of the complexity of being human.”

Scholtz describes Holding Self as “snippets of the three us; the similarities and differences as artists working out of neighbouring studios, and how we choose to hold self through art.”

The exhibition is at the Percy Flint bar and restaurant, 211 South Terrace in South Fremantle, until July 17.


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