News : 2016

"Art Pic: Kirsty Templeton-Davidge's Polka Dot Girl at Peter Robertson Gallery "
Fish Griwkowsky

ArtPic artist: Kirsty Templeton-Davidge

Artwork: Polka-Dot Girl, oil on canvas

Show: Hole-and-Corner, opening Thursday, June 23, 7-9 p.m., through July 12

It’s actually what’s not there that immediately grabs you looking at Kirsty Templeton-Davidge’s latest series — backs turned, torsos cropped below the neckline, all rendered gorgeously.

“Broadly, they are all portraits without portraits, reflecting on our need to deliberately conceal certain aspects of ourselves even from those we know best,” says Templeton-Davidge. “The work should convey a sourceless tension. The beauty represented in my work is not pretty, but reflective of real life, which can be painful but still beautiful. Polka-Dot Girl in particular is a straight-on view, but we are denied the portrait.

“Like many painters, I use my work to process what goes on around me, and these ambiguous portraits depict a delicate balance between deep secrets, which we cherish, but long to release. However, like us all, they fear stigma, rejection, slander and embarrassment.

The 1965-born artist explains her process: “I start by searching second-hand shops for costumes. I try not to impose my will too much on what I pick. I set up a photo shoot and take many, many images with many costume changes. While I do work initially from my own photographs, I am not enslaved to them — they allow me to get the underlying structure exactly right. I begin with a very accurate tonal underpainting and then proceed to colour. Technical aspects — good drawing and painting — are integral to what I do.

“I got a late start at this painting thing and I feel a real sense of urgency to produce ever-better work. It is my privilege to paint and I’m not wasting any time.”

fgriwkowsky@edmontonjournal @fisheyefoto