Submitted Review

Kristina Tsoulis-Reay ‘Bloom Shadow Circle’

  • Caves Gallery • Melbourne

  • 29 October—27 November 2020

  • Marielle Soni • Published 06 November 2020

Caves’ new rooms in the Nicholas Building counts almost as many window planes as art-hanging wall space.  This poses specific challenges & opportunities for displaying works of art. For Tsoulis-Reay’s solo show it is the air & light which welcomes us into a generously spaced presentation of 13 small-scale oil paintings on board, each equally sized 18 x 23 cm panels – a serene harmony of scale and mood to the space; intimate vignettes in a secular chapel.

The artist enjoys her medium. Luxurious, silky brushstrokes of oil pigments are applied with varying techniques capturing private moments outdoors. Descendants of en plein air Heidelberg impressionism? The references in scale, medium, light are possibly exasperated here by 19thC architectural views. Truthfully, the compositions are more contemporary, framed like photographs, or more specifically captured smart phone visions one shares on social media, where the eye focuses on a small detail –  an infant’s hand, light reflecting off the silky locks of a child (exhibiting a wonderful connection between subject & the hair of the artist’s brush) , a blossom, light refracting in a floating soap bubble – frozen movement, as the bush, garden, sky dissolves sfumato within the tightly cropped visual evocation. An honest moment of appreciation on an unhurried, idyllic Spring day.

‘Beauty in the mundane?’

Beauty in the mundane? I think we’ve all learnt there is nothing mundane in the warmth of the sun, the touch of nature, to feel & breathe outside. Indeed, to savour the gloriousness of appreciating a humble day of quiet details feels like the secret to happiness.

Bloom Shadow Circle offers magic little moments that converse well together in an instinctively well-hung display. While small in stature, they need space, it is that essential ingredient of air and light that makes a satisfyingly complete experience. Ultimately, Tsoulis-Reay offers us a personal show that feels like a delicate celebration of gratitude & love.