Last week 30 Upstairs opened Learning to live with ghosts a stunning collection of paintings by Kiri Gillespie. The New Zealand artist is currently rounding off her MFA at Elam School of Fine Arts.
Taking over our middle room, Kiri sensitively arranged In memory of small disasters, a series that encompasses 17 pieces. The artist took full advantage of the freedom offered to her by hanging the show herself. Knowing that this may be the last time In memory of small disasters, pictured above, is shown in its full entirety it was especially important. Her patience, energy and subtle approach to this process parallels what can be felt within the works.
Together they grow and change, shapes move deeper then closer, brighter then darker. Full of movement they seem to almost sway. The conversation between the set constantly evolves and it becomes hard to pick a favorite. The texture of her paintings are curiously complex which she achieves through painting, removing and obscuring techniques. It is that continual reworking model that achieves such successful depth.
Learning to live with ghosts also features a few of Kiri’s larger paintings. This is where you get a hint of the layers beneath, the reworking of the skin. The surface of these pieces are at the mercy of the light. The natural sunlight from noon pulls out the gloss paints and then, when it is time for assistance from artifical light sources, the matte qualities come through.
Don’t just take our word for it, Kiri Gillespie’s Learning to live with ghosts exhibition is on for a little while longer and we invite you all to come and experience it yourself.
Words by Jade Townsend