Kyra Henley is a Sydney-based artist who's bright Pop Art inspired still life paintings have garnered quite the cult following.
Henley's subjects range from fruit to skulls, beer bottles to coconut cream cans. She describes her approach as formal, "looking at colour, shape and the space between objects." These compositions are not meant to have narrative meanings, Henley says, suggesting that they are instead "industrial and boring". Though the subjects may in fact be deemed "boring", Henley's bold use of colour and form elevates these objects, invigorates them. Thoughtful quirks, such as placing a bright pink party hat amongst brown bottles, suspending a bunch of bananas in an undefined space, and giving a yellow 'splash' the feeling of mass, further animate Henley's still lifes.
The complexity of Stefan Kürten's work veils its subject. Pattern, foliage and a restrained colour palette give his paintings a decorative quality. The gold pigment applied in the foundational layers provides the scenes with a soft interior light. This gives his work a sense of vibrancy. But look deeper and you’ll notice that Kürten's domestic scenes are carefully staged, often overgrown, lacking a human element.
The familiar is ‘known’, a place of refuge. By taking the home – the ultimate safe haven – and adding an indeterminate light source that casts unlikely shadows, or, an abnormally coloured sky that is at once beautiful and threatening, Kürten renders the known strange. The familiar unfamiliar.