The Helpmann academy exhibition is something that I look forward to each year. It is a chance to view work selected from more than 150 graduating students from some of the top tertiary institutions in the state.
“You are missed, blubber the goldfish” (Amelie series) – Kerry Inkster
Kerry is a recent graduate of the school of Art, Architecture and Design. She is primarily involved with portraiture and figurative painting.
This work depicts a young girl draped over what appears to be a railing. In fact it is the railing of a bridge. Her face is sullen, her eyes dark caught in shadow. She is captured in a moment of time where some great event has taken place and the enormity is gradually sinking in. She is wearing a light red jacket with a matching ribbon in her hair. Her hands are not visible; they drift out of the composition as if we were viewing the scene from a photograph. This is a subject I find I easily connect with. The face of a child is such that the viewer cannot help but become entranced, as if by some chance we as the observer were able to help them. The title of this work gives the clue that the little girl is Amélie Poulain from the French movie Amélie. Kerry Inkster in Pop art style has invited us into a scene from the movie through this painting. The background is a swirl of blue and white; the think Acrylic paint barely mixing upon the hard board surface. The tones of the girl appear to have been stencilled; depicted in bold shapes of orange and red. Her facial features have also been shown in terms of tone and shape. The viewer’s eye connects initially with the rich orange and red and progresses to the deep blue and grey which borders the subject. The whole surface is shiny and smooth having been varnished to a thick high gloss.
Kerry Inkster while using an existing image for her inspiration has; in a Pop Art style, also left the interpretation of the meaning of this work largely up to the viewer. The scene depicts Amélie as a child watching on as her mother; distraught by blubber the goldfishes’ repeated attempts at suicide, tips him into a stream at a park. She watches her only friend look up at her from the stream and disappear into the water. We all experience loss and grief in our lives, Inkster has chosen this scene for us to ponder as if from the point of view of the goldfish. The Child in the scene has no friends due to her parents keeping her at home. Her only friends are imaginary and the goldfish – Blubber. As a parent I was drawn to the emotion contained in this work even before I read the title. For me this inspires thoughts of my impact on the people around me and the lasting influence I may have on others. Inkster has shown us a moment that many of us experience in our lives that time when we must leave a loved one.