Animal Paintings by Artist Karlee Rawkins

You don't have to be an animal lover to appreciate Karlee Rawkins' paintings but if you are one, you will undoubtedly come to adore her work.  This Aussie artist renders her subject matter in a playful and almost child-like manner.  And it would be easy to imagine these works in children's books as they appear quite literally derivative of the medium.

Little Pink Bird, 2009

However, Ms. Rawkins uses striking colour balance and juxtaposition to cleverly achieve a detached and contemplative tone.  As a result, these animals acquire a symbolic grace that elevates them outside of mere illustrations.  Excised from their natural environment they develop a quiet yet sophisticated abstraction.

Pelting, 2009

In turn, Ms. Rawkins forces us to confront the relationship between animal and the environment and our place in between.  Do we confront this animal imagery as it is or as one that is disappearing and being hunted?  More importantly, we're left to wonder if these animals will one day occupy our memories in the same way that children's books so often evoke the nostalgia of our distant childhoods. 

Born in 1977, Karlee Rawkins studied Visual Art at Southern Cross University in Lismore, New South Wales, Australia where she graduated with an Honours degree in 1999.  Following her studies she lived in several countries including, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, France as well as India and Nepal.  Currently, her art work is on display at the Iain Dawson Gallery in Paddington, New South Wales.  Although, she will have a solo exhibition at the Flinders Lane Gallery in Melbourne beginning March 15th of this year.

Chicken Thief, 2010
Ms. Rawkins also sells her work through Shubert Contemporary Art Galleries in Main Beach, Queensland.  However, with one click you'll notice very quickly that most of her artwork is already sold out.  This is hardly surprising.  I just hope her new solo show in Melbourne will have similar types of works available for sale.

Pot of Fox
If you would like more information about this artist there are two essays available directly from her website, www.karleerawkins.com.  As well, there is a short interview from fellow blogger Natalie Walton on Daily Imprint, a fantastic blog with a variety of great interviews of creative types around the world.  All images used here are courtesy of the Karlee Rawkins website, Schubert Contemporary Art Galleries and Iain Dawson Gallery as well as Flinders Lane Gallery.

A Few Pearls, 2010
On a final note, I decided to use a quotation from the artist (it can be found on the Flinders Lane Gallery website) because I think it captures so perfectly the essence of her work and especially this last one:  'I use animal imagery in my work as a metaphor for human emotions and experiences. The animals are distorted and flattened, often combining with pattern to create intentionally ambiguous compositions. I aim to emphasize the vulnerability and awkwardness of my subject and challenge a viewers recognition and sense of association."  Well done, Ms. Rawkins.

White Elephant

1 comment:

  1. Enchanting paintings of animals.
    My favourite is the Little Pink Bird. It is truly beautiful and it is so calming and pleasant.
    I would like to have it in my home or at least a print of it.
    Well done. Looking forward to seeing more of this artist's work.