From Sharne Wolff…
The first thing that strikes you about Mia Oatley’s new series of paintings is the stunning colour. To paint the female figures for Venus & Me, Oatley began with inspiration from Australian native birds and their habitats, that not only provided her with an exotic palette, but also several of the titles – Canary Women, Lorikeet Ladies and Fern Forest. In the larger works, bold sections of colour work to attract the viewer, and to organise space and depth in the pictures.
Venus mythology encompasses ideas about love and sex, beauty and seduction. Oatley has a fascination with the way women have been portrayed in art history from Botticelli’s Birth of Venus to Manet’s Olympia. With Venus & Me she’s taken the opportunity to reinvent the female form from her perspective as a young Australian female. Each subject has a very individual look and communicates a different emotion or character. “I wanted to do more than just put a delicate pretty woman on a pedestal. My women are raw, in your face, beautiful, powerful and gentle all at once. A perfect expression of the force that is modern woman living in an extreme era”, says Oatley.
Until October 24
Richard Martin Art, Woollahra, Sydney
Pic: Mia Oatley ‘Canary Woman’, mixed media on canvas, 130 x 170cm. Courtesy the artist and Richard Martin Art Gallery.