Abstract painters Madeleine Collopy and Nate Finch, who are exhibiting together at BMG Gallery this month, both approach their practice in similar ways in terms of scale, material and colour.
Collopy and Finch have had a great friendship since studying together at the Adelaide College of the Arts and have obviously been influenced by each other.
“I think we are both admirers of texture and compositions in abstract forms, and our way of attacking a painting is very similar; it is instinctive and it is full throttle with no clear endgame,” Collopy says.
While there are great similarities in their approach to painting, their work is also very different. “We both have our own personal reasons for why we make our work and what our work means,” Finch says. “Because of this I think the work still translates as uniquely our own.”
Madeleine Collopy, To be Frank (detail.), Oil, synthetic polymer, pastel, paper, pencil on canvas, 210 x 290cm
Collopy continues to explore ideas around movement and the body influenced by a background in dance. She delves into the connection between temporal movement and performance and uses formal elements of drawing to choreograph images for the page.
In this latest body of work Collopy is broadening her thoughts on movement and how it translates from her body into the work. The works have a looser technique compared to earlier work but at the same time possess a newly formed sense of refinement.
“I have tried to push my ideas further by using different marks and letting loose,” Collopy says. “I still re-work paintings over and over with many layers but I’m trying to get to a point where if something is really ugly I’ll leave it. There is energy in the work when it comes from an uncomfortable or uncertain place.”
Nate Finch, It Opens a Can of Worms, Acrylic, aerosol, charcoal, pastel on canvas
167.6 x 111.6cm
Finch’s paintings on the other hand are a reflection of the nuances of modern life, expressing things he can’t explain through a visual language.
“We live in a gritty, complex, ever-connected world and my work serves as a kind of non-objective translation of having to wade through all the things that life throws at you,” he says.
While his work is a personal response to his experiences of living in the modern world he also likes to leave the interpretation open, allowing audiences the opportunity to reflect on their own experiences.
“I guess I’m seeking to initiate a kind of unspoken conversation between myself, the work and the viewer by inviting people to add something of themselves to the viewing experience,” Finch says.
Madeleine Collopy, Backbone., Synthetic polymer, pastel, pencil on canvas, 152.4 x 152.4cm
The works on display at BMG are heavily collaged under washed ink and thick layers of paint, with bold sweeping gestures of vibrant colour that trace Finch’s movement across
“It’s large-scale work that fits somewhere between a wall painting or mural and a hanging canvas,” he says. “In this way I feel the scale and space in these works become mediums of their own.”
Collopy and Finch both create artworks which encapsulate a sense of movement and spontaneity and celebrate the art of painting. The works sit harmoniously together, and audiences will no doubt observe the connection and the energy between the paintings.
Madeleine Collopy and Nate Finch
Friday, February 2 to Saturday, February 17
Header image: Nate Finch, Their Ghosts Still Remain. (detail.), Ink, oil, acrylic, aerosol, charcoal & collage on canvas, 167.6 x 289cm