Kate Dambach: A call to pause

Words and photos by Jenni Mazaraki

It was the colour that drew me in.

Stepping out of the busy noise of High Street in Thornbury into Neon Parlour Gallery felt like a quiet and colourful pause.

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Layer upon layer of rich oil paint and glazes create a luminous effect in Kate Dambach’s paintings. Sydney based Dambach’s exhibition A call to pause encourages the audience to “take in each moment and witness our own experience,” she described in her artist statement.

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I chat with Mossy from Neon Parlour and we view some of the glossy paintings together, agreeing that the work needs to be viewed up close to notice the details and to feel immersed.

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Mossy from Neon Parlour Gallery views Kate’s Work.

In her artist statement, Kate describes her intention to capture the moments between things. The pause between breaths, the often missed moments in a day. Believing that these tiny moments and pauses possess weight and importance beyond the ordinary.

It is these moments that I feel I am witnessing as I view Kate’s work. The silence appears to be captured in her exuberantly coloured and glossy oil paintings. Against the white gallery walls, the small square pastel paintings sit like gems, creating colourful conversations with the other works and with the viewer.

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The coloured forms in Kate’s work sit as if suspended and supported by something unseen, creating a sense of gentle movement. Though the paint is applied with neat edges, the images do not appear static or heavy. There is a lightness to the forms.

The works are not figurative, but when viewing them, I have an instinct to try and identify shapes. It’s easy to think of flowers and flowing fabric, of blossoms falling from trees on a warm spring day. These works invoke a sensory experience, expanding on associations beyond the paint.

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Neon Parlour is a crisp, bright space. Outside, people stand under the gallery’s bright yellow awning, waiting for the High Street tram. They are between moments on their way from somewhere to somewhere else. I wonder if they have taken a tiny moment to turn around and look at Kate’s work through the window, injecting a colourful pause into their day.

A call to pause is on at Neon Parlour Gallery until Sunday 5 March 2017.

See more of Kate’s work on her website or Instagram.

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