Cover image of the review
Installation view of Rosslynd Piggot, Gardenia, Gardenia and Vapour Window, 2019. Courtesy the artist and Sutton Gallery, Melbourne. Photo: Andrew Curtis

Rosslynd Piggott: Gardenia, gardenia and vapour window
  • Suyeon Park

17 Aug 2019
Sutton Gallery 2 Aug - 30 Aug 2019

Have you ever encountered a moment where you are eager for fresh air, a refreshing sight for your exhausted vision so that you can simply isolate yourself from complex reality? A solo exhibition by Rosslynd Piggott, Gardenia, gardenia and vapour window carefully observes the nature of flowers, reinterprets their presence through their colours as vaporized spaces and encapsulates their visual sublimity on a piece of canvas. Thus the paintings are not only hung up on a wall to be viewed—in order to understand Pigott's paintings to the full extent, I encourage you to engage your senses and intuitively feel the artworks rather than trying to understand them in a literary sense.

As soon as you enter into the gallery space, every dimension of the wall is impeccably coated in white, which brightly opens up the space and the atmosphere and delivers a crisp sense of pure freshness to our eyes. The didactic panel indicates two gallery spaces—a 'small gallery' and a 'large gallery'.

The small gallery functions as a preface of the exhibition and prepares the audience to explore the artist's profound vaporised flowers. In a small gallery, there are four artworks fulfilling every dimension of the space. White daphne and star and Camelia pollinated and ice, both painted in 2018-19 with oil on linen, predominantly manifest Pigott's artistic style of soft and delicate use of colours. On the other hand, the curation of Wisteria fracture no.2 and Peonies – Nishiaraidaishi Temple, Tokyo complementing each other on the same wall, emphasises their idiosyncratic presence amongst other artworks.

In fact, the contrast in mediums using pencil on Japanese paper with gold and silver flecks accentuates the subtlety, whilst stimulating its optical beauty through consistently utilising fine lines to portray botanical objects. On a personal note, I, as a person who genuinely appreciates the delicacy of thin and refined lines on paper to portray objects, hoped that the artist unified the mediums and imbued the small gallery with more pencil works rather than mix-matching the mediums.

The highlight of the exhibition expands as we walk into the 'large gallery'. The parade of pastel colours infused into oil paintings aligned next to one another renders a sense of comfort and provokes our sensory receptivity by capturing the audience's eyes. As a matter of fact, I was able to fully embrace visual, fragrant, textural and spatial sensations from each artwork through their generous size and scale.

Pigott guides the audience to enable our senses and receptors while we perceive her works. The soft and lifelike extraction of colours from the flowers merges into a singular form without leaving any harsh edge or border, irresistibly evoking the sense of companionship and alleviation that we receive from flowers, or ultimately from nature. Imagined rose and expanding violet, 2019 instantly caught my attention as Pigott employs her joyful reinterpretation to capture a progressive yet dreamlike moment of blooming violet.

Overall Gardenia, gardenia and vapour window emphatically resonates with notions of triumph, relief and even loneliness. Since the subject of the works is non-figurative—which could possibly be construed as an ambiguous exhibition to more casual audiences—the true form of the beauty in Pigott's painting appears by experiencing directly with our own eyes rather than looking through photography. As Melbourne is submerged into winter coldness, a placid spring has bloomed at Sutton Gallery.