Project Space

Project Space: Swallowed a Fly



Swallowed A Fly is Olivia Guillot’s first solo show. The recent painting graduate exhibits work made in her final year of university.

The series features mostly large scale oil paintings. The artist finds that the large size of the canvases facilitates sensory immersion, leading to unplanned, intuitive creation. She responds to colour, form and emotion, in a chaotic state of ecstatic, primal urgency.

The title of the show reminds us of the old nursery rhyme There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.  This absurd but comical song tells the story of an elderly women, who swallows a fly and eventually swallows a horse and ends up dying.

Much like the cheery, upbeat melody of the song, Guillot’s energetic, emotionally charged paintings pull us in with their bold colours and playful caricatures, often concealing the dark nature of the stories being told. The characters depicted come to operate as allegories, often embodying confusion, human consumption, absurdity and destruction.

These semi-abstract figures arise naturally for the artist when painting. She is first led by the material and the physical sensation of laying paint onto canvas.  Responding to the abstract marks which she has laid down, Guillot sees forms, stories and narratives emerge within the paint. She enjoys playing on the threshold between abstraction and representation, teasing her own eye with the possibilities of what the forms could become. A conversation ignites between the paint itself, how it is applied, and the images they suggest.   The result remains inconclusive, resisting singular resolution, inviting varied interpretations.

Open in the Project Space from 26 – 30 June.
Preview: Friday 28 June, 6pm – 8pm

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