Women in Art: Kirra Jamison

By <Liz Banks-Anderson>  “All consuming. Considered. Calm. Intensive. Frenzied.” This is how the talented Australian artist Kirra Jamison describes her creative process, not that this discordant energy is reflected in her distinct colourful art works.

Growing up in Byron Bay, Kirra cites being surrounded by a lot of creative people as a child as a key influence in developing her interest in art, “I can remember being taken to a lot of community theatre, dance and art shows from a young age. I always wanted to be a painter,” she says.

Kirra Jamison Studio

Since capturing people’s attention with her first solo exhibition in 2006, Kirra’s work has continually evolved and diversified and has seen her garner a faithful following. Once you view her latest exhibition Still Point it will be easy to see why.

I first saw Kirra's works from her 2011 exhibition Spirit is a Bone, where intricate and celebratory works in colour were instantly mesmerising. Since then, she has had many solo exhibitions including Love me two times in 2011 and Locomotor in 2012, gaining widespread recognition along the way.

Kirra explains how her bold and expressive use of colour means “everything” to her and the significance of this is clear in her latest exhibition Still Point. Each work explores colour, space and line. These concepts are captured and translated onto the canvas to create whimsical and uplifting pieces of art.

Gypsy 2013 acrylic on polyester, 185 x 153cm

Belying its title, Still Point is anything but stationary. Your eyes cannot help but follow the flowing pattern of the solid lines of colour interrupted by flat abstract shapes. Pale pastels sit next to vivid blocks of colour and “...hollow greys create a unique spatial depth that allows the forms to hover and move,” says Kirra.

The ethereal qualities of Still Point are a continuation of past themes in her work as well as exploring something new, reflecting a process where “each body of work feeds the next,” she says.

The exhibition includes large canvases and small works largely using gouache on primed paper. Works are titled ‘Loop’, ‘Lucky Star’, ‘Serpent’ and ‘Gypsy’ reinforcing the whimsical qualities that remain throughout. What resonates in the art work is the sense of freedom when you view it and this says Kirra, inspires her as an artist as well as the sense of possibility and colour.

Serpent 2013 acrylic on polyester 183 x 183cm

Kirra’s artistic process is not without its challenges. Navigating periods of creative frustration and block has been the greatest obstacle she has encountered in her career so far.

“It happens with every new body of work. It is just part of the process. But no less painful each time,” she says.

Each composition reflects a creative expression where lines, forms and shapes come together. These works cross many boundaries, combining and transcending opposing forces including calm and chaos, harmony and fragmentation and where well-practiced as well as new ideas flow through each piece.

All at once they can be embracing and disarming - liberating as well as consuming the observer’s attention. Well worth a look. Hope you enjoy the exhibition.

Kirra Jamison Installation Still Point 2013

Still Point exhibition details: 26 March – April 20 www.sophiegannongallery.com.au

Liz is a communications professional and freelance writer from Melbourne. Inspired by the city’s artistic endeavours she likes taking photographs, exploring the design world and has developed a great interest in all things art. Passionate about documenting and sharing the unique projects, people and possibilities in the creative community, Liz is excited by what lies ahead. Liz’s own blog will be launched soon…In the meantime, she’s happy being a twit.