Drawing upon the Classical, Romantic and Baroque artistic traditions that flourished in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries, Anne Middleton creates fastidiously rendered depictions of the natural world on soft grey Belgian linen canvases. As if gazing down a microscope, the Australian artist illuminates the tiny hairs on a flower stem and the succulent tint of a petal through a water droplet, bringing them together in compelling juxtaposition through a method of gridding. The canvases become visually intertwined, inviting us to view the familiar in a new way.
Middleton’s current series of oil paintings, Gates of Paradise, references life from our oceans interwoven with birds, insects, flowers and fruits. Researched and developed over the past 7 years, Gates of Paradise pushes the boundaries of botanical art and photorealism to engage with notions of the sublime. It extends well beyond an aesthetic response to the beauty in natural forms; this series exists as a means to inspire the viewer to engage with fundamental questions about our relationship with the environment.
Having majored in painting and developed a foundation of traditional techniques, Middleton went on to study mural painting in Italy at the Il Laboratorio per Affresco di Vainella, mastering Fresco and egg tempera painting. In 2004, she returned there as the first Australian to be awarded with the prestigious Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship. It was during this time that she nurtured her interest in the Baroque glazing technique that lends such depth to her canvases. She has exhibited in Italy, UK, Hong Kong and Australia.
The gallery will host an evening of flower-themed poetry readings to the backdrop of Middleton's canvases as part of the Chelsea Fringe Festival, on May 28 from 6.30 - 8.30 pm. Featured poets include Edward Barker. All are welcome.