Understory

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Understory

  • Artist
    Louise Frith
  • Dates
    17 Apr—5 May 2024

Sydney artist Louise Frith returns to Murrurundi with a spectacular new series of nature studies that dazzlingly dial up the immersive qualities of her painted worlds.

Delving deep into the thickets of Australian native bush, Understory sees a profusion of wildflowers extend right to the edge of Frith’s canvas, allowing her paintings to feel less like conventional landscapes than a rich and tangled field of abstracted flora that envelopes and transports the viewer.

“Understory has a dual meaning to me,” says the artist, who spent many hours during the last 12 months at Sydney’s North Head observing the interplay of plant life, its seasonal shifts and the dappled light and shade filtering down to the underbrush. “There is the literal layer of vegetation under trees, but also the story of renewal, emergence and growth that is symbolic of life all around us.”

These bursts of plant life are rendered with the artist’s signature painterly style, which displays a skilful entanglement of intricate precision and expressive flourish. Understory is at once a culmination of the artist’s celebrated practice to date and an exciting progression as she moves into more impressionistic, expansive, optically charged terrain.

“When I am immersed in the landscape of North Head, all my senses are fully engaged,” says Frith. “There are the sounds of birds and insects, honey-scented flora, a layered visual carpet of vegetation that sometimes looks like jewels in the landscape. It is a place to be lost in.”

Glimpse

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Glimpse

  • Artist
    Chelsea Gustafsson
  • Dates
    10—28 Apr 2024

Chelsea Gustafsson is back to Murrurundi with a special release of new painting.

Building on the success of her most recent body of work – in which old chairs salvaged from roadside cleanups were dazzlingly recast as the stars of hyper-detailed, highly cinematic still-life miniature paintings – Glimpse pushes the artist’s subject and approach even further into playful and beguiling territory.

Interested in still life’s storytelling possibilities – the alchemy of objects staged in dynamic sculptural arrangements – Gustafsson has amassed a passionate following with her extraordinarily detailed, small-scale paintings rendered with realist precision and filmic panache.

With Glimpse, the artist brings an extra dimension to her still-life tableaux, toying with perspective, framing and scale and layering pictures within pictures. Collaged in space, these compositions read as tiny trompe l’oeil – fabulously deceptive with almost nesting-doll effects and endlessly fascinating to peer into.

1858 – American Flag

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1858 – American Flag

Maker Unknown.
32-star American flag, 1858-59
large hand-sewn linen flag
2640 x 1350 mm (8 feet 8 inches x 4 feet 5 inches)
Framed
$25,000

Provenance
David Spode (1936 – 2013), antiquarian book collector.
Douglas Stewart Fine Books, Melbourne
Michael Reid, Sydney
Private collection, Sydney

The Pre-Civil War Flag has been additionally authenticated by Mr. John Hays, Head of American Furniture & Decorative Arts, Christie’s America, September 2014

Each of the 13 stripes being a separate piece of fabric, with 32 hand-sewn and individually appliquéd stars configured in four aligned rows of eight on the canton, the hoist edge stencilled 3 yd [i.e. yard] American. The opposite edge with a small silk label stitched on inscribed in ink in a contemporary hand ‘Scriven’ (possibly the name of the owner), some loss at lower right edge and scattered small perforations and mothing, but overall in a good state of preservation, a scarce example of this flag which was in official use for only a year between July 1858 and July 1859, following the admission of Minnesota to the Union (May 1858) and prior to the granting of statehood to Oregon (February 1859).

In the pre-Civil War period, American flags were made almost exclusively for public use, a fact which contributes to the rarity of this flag. However, although the 32-star flag was officially obsolete well before the first shots of the war in April 1861, examples would most certainly have been carried into battle by Union regiments.

32-star American flags are rare. This is largely because they were only official for one year (1858-59), but it is also a result of the fact that this time frame occurred prior to the Civil War, in an era when use of the Stars & Stripes was not used on private land. Flags were becoming popular in political campaigning, but their use had yet to be widespread in the display of general patriotism.

Minnesota joined the Union as the 32nd state on May 11th, 1858. The 32-star flag became official on July 4th of that year and remained so until July 3rd of 1859. Since Oregon joined the Union on February 14th, 1859, however, production of 32-star flags probably ceased well before July. For this reason, the 32-star count likely saw use for only 9 months. This made it one of the shortest-lived flags in early America.

Moon Phases

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Moon Phases

  • Artist
    Kathy Liu
  • Dates
    27 Mar—21 Apr 2024

We are excited to welcome our first solo exhibition from Kathy Liu, an impressive talent who first caught our attention as a standout finalist in the 2023 National Emerging Art Prize.

Now showing at Murrurundi, Moon Phases follows the artist’s successful showing in our group survey Abstract – where her paintings bewitched with their ethereal, gossamer clouds of colour that gestured towards hazy memories or half-remembered dreams.

“This body of work is a window into my subconscious under different psychological states – ups and downs, just like the full moon or the eclipse,” says the artist. “Some works present nocturnal, mysterious dreams; others are more joyful and playful.”

Those interested in acquiring work from Moon Phases by Kathy Liu are encouraged to contact danielsoma@michaelreid.com.au

Immerse

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Immerse

  • Artist
    Ben Waters
  • Dates
    15 Feb—31 Mar 2024

Ben Waters‘s graphic paintings of the Pittwater region make their Murrurundi debut, following hugely successful solo exhibitions at our Eora/Sydney and Northern Beaches galleries.

Exploring the idea of immersion through its various resonances – from forays in the landscape and the feelings this evokes to the way it can reverberate through memory – the exhibition launches a suite of Ben Waters projects across three Michael Reid platforms in 2024, offering exciting opportunities for the artist’s rapidly expanding audience to experience and acquire his beautiful, utterly original paintings.

Feels like home

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Feels like home

  • Artist
    Helen McCullagh
  • Dates
    8—25 Feb 2024
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