This year I have been lucky enough to write commissions for some of my favourite artists, such as Adriane Strampp, whose work I have been a long admirer of. I first saw her paintings on display at the S.H. Ervin Gallery Salon des Refusés exhibition Wynne Prize selection in 2014. I have called myself a fan girl ever since. The manner in which Strampp layers landscape to create a sense of mystery and haunting intrigue captured my imagination straight away and hasn’t stopped drawing me in since.
When Adriane contacted me and asked me to write about her works with Hill Smith Gallery at the 2017 Hong Kong art fair, I said yes! and started scribbling drafts straight away. This suite of works included coloured monochrome works in addition to her class grey-scale pieces and I delighted in observing the developments in her signature style.
You can read my introduction and see a full catalogue of Strampp’s works for the 2017 Hong Kong Art Fair here. Or, head to her website to see her current exhibitions and details of her representation. Read my catalogue entry below:
Adriane Strampp is a Melbourne-based artist whose work challenges perceptions through her unique monochromatic palette, materials, and light. Strampp’s works search for a spatial connection, creating barriers between viewers and the relationship they have to their environment. As an artist who grew up as a nomadic child, Strampp is fascinated with creating a sense of place and connection. These themes run strongly like a thread through each of her paintings.
A. Strampp, Daybreak, oil on linen with wax, 2017
It is not unusual for artists to be inspired by the beauty and scale of their environment. Like most traditional landscape paintings, Strampp’s works retain a focus on natural light. However, while other artists are concerned with brightening their renditions of place, Strampp seeks to dim the dial on sunlight by using monotones. In doing so she playfully renders scenes that are withdrawn from the light as a device to lure viewers in to her work and decide what is real and what is not. In her practice, Strampp can spend long periods of time colour-mixing, claiming that if the tone is not exactly right it is difficult for her to connect to the piece.
An example of this is Daybreak. In this particular work half the canvas is shroud in dark shadows while the other is dimly lit by a murky sky. The scene is unclear: that is the point. Strampp’s painting is a metaphorical mirror being held up to her viewers. What connections do they make here? What is their connection to this inverted world? As in all Strampp’s works, the viewers eye cannot help but travel through the painting. Viewers must search behind the visual barrier’s Strampp creates, through reflections and past shadows to piece the vision of a landscape together.
A. Strampp, Shimmer, oil on linen with wax, 2013
Strampp’s practice involves layering oil and wax to control reflections and monochrome shades. It is difficult to see a suite of Strampp’s works and not be struck by her clever use of gradient tones to create a sense of atmosphere and evoke connections from viewers. The effect of this is an intense moodiness that shifts depending on the viewers standpoint and levels of natural light. Employing a monochromatic palette is hugely important in this process and is imperative to achieving a sense of stillness in her works. The overall effect of this in both the pink and grey works, is soothing and calming.
Adriane Strampp is a talented artist committed to the exploration of connections and spatial perspectives. By exploring these themes in her pink and grey works, Strampp creates a sense of place and connection for viewers to explore. ♦
A. Strampp, Diversion, oil on linen with wax, 2017