previous
Exhibition
Soft Focus
1 June - 1 July 2023

Exhibition Opening: Saturday 3 June, 2 – 4 pm.

To view and purchase artworks from this series
scroll to the end of this webpage or visit the gallery before the 1st of July 2023.

Ethereal, opalescent and multifaceted Kate Vassallo’s chromatic paintings of crystalline abstract forms appear to slowly dissolve and re-materialise before your eyes, pulsing with colour and life. Never static, always shifting, her layered paintings are created slowly and methodically, allowing the viewer to continuously discover something new within each artwork. Their faceted planes evoke the folds of origami, the facets of a cut jewel, or dazzling rays of sunbeams – with each painting visually expanding to become much more than the sum of their parts. As an artist fast becoming recognised and lauded for paintings defined by her signature palette and the deft softness of her mark-making, Kate Vassallo is an artist to watch.

Fascinated with the idea of using the process of painting to reveal and capture the magical qualities of ephemera such as passing time, shifting light, and evolving memories, Kate Vassallo’s soft and subtle works continue to reward the eye with every viewing.

Fragments of dust are embedded within the paint, like stars in some far away galaxy, and around which the layers of paint so deliciously pool, are markers of the time it has taken to create each work. Layer upon layer of thin, glossy paint are applied as part of a painstaking process. The slow evolution of each work is reminiscent of the slow passage of time, light and life.

With a string of exhibitions under her belt, Kate Vassallo has held solo presentations of her work at Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Galerie pompom, Wellington St Projects, Firstdraft and a raft of other arts institutions. Her work debuted as part of PICA’s well-renowned showcase of emerging talent ‘Hatched’ in 2011. She recently presented a solo exhibition at Goulburn Regional Art Gallery (in December 2022) and is currently working on a major public art work, commissioned by Major Projects Canberra for the Canberra Hospital Expansion, which will be unveiled later this year.

Ethereal. Alluring. Whimsical.
Experience Kate Vassallo.
Experience. Artereal.

Installation images by Jessica Maurer Photography.

Soft Focus is a new body of paintings, repetitiously and ritualistically built up slowly with thin layers of acrylic paint. Small imperfections created by dust imbedded in the surfaces are amplified through layers of paint pooling around them, building the sensation of time in these layers, like geological strata. My aim is to use the surface and material to capture and communicate time. These paintings have a sense of history and memory imbedded in their softly abstract forms and matte, muted, hazy surfaces.

Colour and conveying a sense of light and space is central to how these paintings operate. Using a repetitious mark making process, the layers of paint are always applied by dragging a brush in a consistent radial direction. Over time, these soft marks allude to rays of light, something I’ve further extended through the small ‘Sunset’ series.

I like that these ‘rays of light’ can hint towards the sun setting on a vast landscape or light glistening in a tiny geological gemstone specimen. Scale itself becomes abstracted or difficult to read.

Each layer of painted colour obscures or merges with those beneath, changing visually over time in relation to one another. Similarly, as the abstract geometric shapes layer over each other, they slowly soften their hard edges. I wanted to push the softness and ambiguity in these abstract picture planes, while also creating complex and dense patches of colour. It is hard to put your finger on exactly what colours have gone into building up their surfaces or where one layer stops and another starts. I intend for these to feel somewhat unsettled and indirect. I like it when abstraction can leave viewers with unanswered questions.

Artwork images by Document Photography

‘When making artworks, my focus is setting the scene for something to happen in the studio. Using rules and parameters, I develop fully fleshed out “systems” of materially focused steps. Usually highly repetitious, these processes slowly unfold over time.

Setting myself a structure to work within, I operate with discipline and concentration in the studio. This structured approach is visually echoed in the formal geometric shapes and straight lines. While the steps I set myself when making these works are preplanned and formulated, I always leave space for agency, intuition and chance to enter the fold. The composition and shapes that build up these works are dictated by chance, rather than control.

My artworks are a labour of love, spending highly focused time, along with mental and physical energy, building up their surfaces. This time and labour means I feel quite personally connected to my studio output, like a small piece of myself is imbedded in my works.

Using this abstract visual language and specific material qualities I have developed in the studio, I want to elicit soft sensations of light, space, time, memory and nostalgia. I am also interested in using abstraction to communicate visualisations of process, labour, control, chance, freedom and agency.’ – Artist Statement, Kate Vassallo

All prices are in Australian dollars and inclusive of GST.
Delivery costs not included – please contact the gallery for assistance with delivery.

Prices are correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change without notice.
For sales enquiries email: info@artereal.com.au

Kate Vassallo

Portal

2023
acrylic on canvas
96 x 86 cm
$2,500 (SOLD)
Kate Vassallo

Glow

2023
acrylic on canvas
96 x 86 cm
$2,500 (SOLD)
Kate Vassallo

Luminous Flux

2023
acrylic on canvas
68 x 56 cm
$1,700 (SOLD)
Kate Vassallo

Shifted

2023
acrylic on canvas
68 x 56 cm
$1,700
Buy Now
Kate Vassallo

Fuzzy

2023
acrylic on canvas
56 x 46 cm
$1,200
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Kate Vassallo

Ghosting

2023
acrylic on canvas
56 x 46 cm
$1,200
Buy Now
Kate Vassallo

Sunset #1

2023
acrylic on canvas
46 x 56 cm
$1,200
Buy Now
Kate Vassallo

Sunset #2

2023
acrylic on canvas
46 x 56 cm
$1,200 (SOLD)
Kate Vassallo

Sunset #3

2023
acrylic on canvas
46 x 56 cm
$1,200 (SOLD)
Kate Vassallo

Sunset #4

2023
acrylic on canvas
46 x 56 cm
$1,200
Buy Now

Additional Information

Upcoming Exhibition

main gallery
Owen Leong
5 April - 27 April 2024

Previous Exhibition

main gallery
Hyun-Hee Lee
2 February - 24 February 2024