Submitted Review

‘…empathy indeed can be a cure for loneliness in this complex world.’

Bella Layone ‘Dreams, Faces and Lines’

  • Gaffa Gallery • New South Wales

  • 12 May—23 May 2021

  • Bijou Xu • Published 19 May 2021

Surrounded by paintings on canvas and paper, I feel more like I am in a room full of mirrors reflecting the shapes of mine. A feeling of connection is facilitated by artist Bella Layone by sharing the psychological journey in the form of expressionism art.

‘11 FACES’ evokes strong emotional feelings via blends of colours and blurry shapes, boosting our empathy for all others we encountered in our daily life, and for ourselves as well. While the emotions of anxiety, confusion, and fear are delivered, that empathy indeed can be a cure for loneliness in this complex world. ‘60 Dreams’ shows the imaginary dream stories by the artist. More landscapes and natural life forms were involved to reflect a sense of belonging to the universe, which might be an unconscious cerebration deeply embedded in our soul.

It is interesting that ‘11 FACES’, being installed on the opposite wall of ‘60 Dreams’ and adopting similar palettes and painting methods, allows it to somehow become an anthropomorphic presentation of those dreams. It makes sense indeed. We are what we have been experiencing; and what is happening to us is determined by our unique personalities. Those two series are echoing with each other to some extent. In terms of painting techniques, the effect of light and shadow was introduced by layering acrylics on the canvas, creating a sculptural finish. For the ‘11 FACES’ collection, upon the neat grey backgrounds are the main portraits comprised of muted colours like chocolate brown, khaki, dark salmon, dark slate grey, steel blue, etc. This palette combined with organic textures creates a delicate and harmonious sensation.

‘Lifelines’ similarly illustrated various psychological experiences but in a minimalistic manner with lightness and tenderness. Besides, more than one face are shown in a single painting in this series to emphasise the mystery and significance of interaction between individuals, the environment they are living in, and the emotional experiences they have been going through.

It is the honest presentation via distortions and abstraction in shapes of the commonly shared psychological experience in those paintings that allows them to successfully strike a chord with the viewer. I believe we will all be able to find and explore ourselves here somewhere in those paintings, given the delicate depiction of emotions by the artist.