Alena Kennedy
Visual Artist

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journey Series 2014: intimations, Clifton School of Arts, Clifton, NSW. (Exhibition with Vyvian Wilson)

intimations continues my intrigue with the natural world, this time with flowers. When observing them I feel that I am being shown an intuitive view of a larger world: a clue to some of the workings of the universe. I focus closely on life forms and on their relationships with the space around them. In my memories, detailed glimpses merge with light and shadow and impressionistic colours blur the edges in shifting space.

By combining sharpness of detail with blurred or subtly rendered ‘spatial’ areas I attempt to describe this visual memory and at the same time evoke a sense of vibrant life force which imbues, embraces and connects all things.

Flowers – tangible, beautiful, ephemeral, fragile, adaptable – exist within an intangible continuum. When their brief lives are over they leave imprints of their existence behind in the perpetuation of their species, decomposed and recycled substances, nourishment for creatures and memories of their beauty.

When Vyvian and I met to discuss the theme of our exhibition we were surprised to discover that we both wished to remember and honour our deceased parents: Vyvian her father who had emigrated to Australia from Cyprus, and me my mother who had emigrated from Germany. Vyvian spent half a year in Cyprus to connect with her wider family and to gain more understanding about her father. Her work would be an evocative recollection of her time spent there. My mother loved flowers, both native and exotic. I wanted to paint them for her. She shared some of their characteristics. She also left an imprint behind which our family members are always aware of. They are both tangible: bookshelves with music and literature, the garden which my father continues to maintain, furnishings inside the house, her offspring and their children; and intangible: in the space which she no longer fills, our memories of her and the love that we share.

Throughout the preparation for this exhibition I recalled the beautiful words by Christopher Brennen from “Poems” 1913:

This hour is my eternity!
The soul rises, expanding ever,
With the sight, thro’ flowers and colours,
And the visible whole of beauty mingled in one dream of light.