Current Issue #478

Cristina Metelli’s sense of place

Cristina Metelli’s sense of place

Cristina Metelli’s latest works capture a moment in time within the landscape, reflecting a full sensory response to place.

Recent Adelaide Central School of Art (ACSA) graduate Cristina Metelli creates abstract paintings that are an emotional or sensory response to the landscape. This latest body of work, Within the Landscape, is her largest to date and includes a variety of different sized pieces that capture a moment in time “within the landscape”.

“For some people it might be hard to understand because there isn’t much of the landscape evident. That’s why I call it Within the Landscape, because it’s really about my sensory experience of the place,” says Metelli. “I don’t just see the landscape, I sense it.”

Metelli studied art in Italy before moving to Australia when she was 19. She graduated with honours last year from ACSA and currently has a studio at the Collective Haunt in Norwood. This latest exhibition sees Metelli experimenting with large-scale works, which has been both challenging and satisfying.

Cristina Metelli, End of the Dry, 2019, oil on canvaws, 152x137.5cm
Cristina Metelli, End of the Dry, 2019, oil on canvaws, 152cm x 137.5cm

“I enjoyed the physicality of the large canvases, but if the work is not going down the path I want it to, or it doesn’t feel right, there is a lot more work to be done to rectify it,” says Metelli. “You also need a lot of distance to really see the work, which is challenging in my studio – luckily I can spread out here.”

Inspired by the stretch of coastline from Port Noarlunga south to Maslin Beach, the works embody the raw energy Metelli experienced within this landscape. Metelli often finds herself in awe of nature – the way it can make you feel so small but also connected – and it’s this she is trying to capture in her works.

“I love walking in nature, it’s very important to me. I find it healing to my emotional wellbeing, and my practice is an extension of this and highlights my appreciation of nature,” she explains.

Cristina Metelli, Currents, 2019, oil on canvas, 97x97cm
Cristina Metelli, Currents, 2019, oil on canvas, 97cm x 97cm

Metelli’s paintings involve a variety of colours and mark-making, which is a response to the emotional experience of the constantly changing landscape. It can be energetic or it can be soothing.

“Sometimes you want to create a contrast of spontaneity or something a little more quiet or in control to create that tension in the landscape,” says Metelli. “You have to let the work unfold. It’s not about me controlling the process, it’s about me letting go.”

While Metelli’s abstract paintings are a personal response to the landscape, the paintings will no doubt evoke the viewers’ memories of and emotions from similar experiences within the landscape. The works arouse a sense of calm, but also the feeling of tension that something is about to happen, capturing the unpredictability of nature.

Cristina Metelli: Within the Landscape
BMG Gallery
30 August – 21 September 2019

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