As the famous graphic designer Milton Glaser said, “There are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no, and WOW!” It’s the same with art. Styles and schools might come and go, but to hit upon an original visual language is worth more than gold.
One of the Australia’s hottest new painters Lottie Consalvo has an original language that shows she is not afraid of dark subjects.
Dark matter, the big bang or the Aboriginal cave paintings are just some of the big concepts which leap to mind when you look at Lottie Consalvo’s paintings in the flesh.
At 32 years of age Consalvo is prone to making large abstract works that talk about the memory, moments in time and altered states of consciousness. Her pantings are often monumental and work with a restricted palette.
Each work though is also an act and has performative element to it. This is after all a left over from her days getting outside of her comfort zone, creating endurance type work in the creative spaces of Leipzig, Hamburg and Berlin.
After 14 years of hard yakka, it seem her distinctive way of communicating is just starting to be heard.
In 2015 Lottie Consalvo was selected to take part in a residency with iconic performance artist Marina Abramovic as part of a Kaldor Art Projects event at Pier 2/3. This month Dominik Mersch will hold a solo painting show for her at his Rushcutters Bay Gallery and next year she has been invited to show work at the Heide Museum of Modern Art in Victoria.
As Consalvo explains the paintings she will show later this week build on themes and ideas she started explore a few years ago when making performance art.
“I did a performance called ‘Desires’ where I lived out my desires for a year in an attempt to find ultimate happiness and though I have not documented that work, I am now looking at perpetual idealism.
“This next exhibition is about the opposite of desire. It is about stillness. When making this work I was thinking about the concept of leaving paradise to find something better.
“These paintings are like moments when we do stop, when we are moved to silence and stillness, whether it be in the presence of something great or something simple in our everyday that moves us emotionally, taking us to that sublime state,” Consalvo says.
Today we see how her charged language is a language hewn from a variety of artistic camps which she has inhabited.
Starting out as a figurative painter she then moved to making performance art in Germany and then to using sculpture, video and photography to convey her ideas.
Trained in silver and gold smithing at Monash, she taught herself to solder, weld and sculpt and she admits all her large abstract painting works now all have a performative element to them. The symmetry you find which recalls sacred space, trials and shrines she say may be a vestige of her stint making sculptural jewellery. But to her it is all one.
For her next show at Dominik Mersch Consalvo has created over 20 earthy paintings that explore the dark side of desire. Don’t be scared by all the black she says. They’re just here to remind us that sometimes our desires can cause us to self destruct.
‘in silence’ will run from 6pm Thursday 20 July to 12 August inclusive at the Dominik Mersch gallery.