I met Kally Doyle a few days ago and was most impressed with her work which is hanging in the Geoffrey Stapleton Gallery until the 13th of May. She is in her second year of at Adelaide College for the Arts and is a practising artist in the meantime. Kally has a youthful energy that is apparent in her work and also in her choice of subject matter. For the SALA festival last year she decided to explore dinosaurs as her theme and found that they were well received. She has included a few more in this show along with many other works. She is only at the beginning of her career and is already an accomplished painter. Her work is diverse and personal. I spoke to Kally one thing I noticed was the energy that she transmitted. She is certainly a quirky, interesting individual who is in love with her work.
It was the Dinosaurs amongst her works on display which captured my imagination and brought back childhood memories of pawing through books on dinosaurs at school.
“What they don’t know” is a bold work containing large tyrannosaurus rex that seems to creep silently along a darkened room interior. Its teeth are bared, flashing white, as it looms through the shadows. It’s skin is camouflaged against the Art Nouveau wall paper which bursts with a plethora of stylised floral patterns. Doyle has rendered this monster using a hand painted background on canvas and then worked the creature into the painting using tonal graduation. Tone is the predominant element of the piece, effectively drawing the viewer into the work without detracting from the wallpaper background. Doyle’s application of pattern in this work provides a uniformity that serves to balance the dominant subject against the space.
When one first looks at this canvas it appears as if this is a painting of patterned wallpaper then the monster appears from within.
Who has not been frightened at one time or another by the shadows in a room? Or a monster created by a coat rack or a pile of clothes? I remember being frightened by the shadows. Things in the dark that look so real until the lights are turned on and they disappear altogether. Perhaps with this work Doyle is providing an explanation as to where they might vanish, into the walls! Who is to say what a dinosaur’s skin actually looked like, what colours it might have contained? Creative illustrators might have described them in one way. Doyle now finishes the job.
“What was I thinking” is another dinosaur inspired piece, however this one has an altogether different denotation. This is a less than frightening dinosaur, reminiscent of a child’s play thing. It sits upon a background of geometric and organic shapes of purple and blue. Various transparent forms drift about; a smiling parental figure, a bike and a more realistic roaring dinosaur. This symbolic, playful plethora of forms contrasts directly with the geometric configurations to provide an interesting backdrop to the main subject of the work. Analogous colour softens the subject matter so it appears dreamlike.
This whole work is painted from the point of view of a child. We the viewer are positioned beneath the towering dinosaur. Like the blank dead eyes of a doll, the eyes of this toy do not engage with us. They stare out at something beyond. Above the lizard there is a square yellow light that might resemble a skylight. The geometric shapes could represent memories or patterns of thought; they join, each one leading to the other as one might nostalgically recall events of the past. I found myself doing this as I examined this work; memories of endless hours of play with plastic dinosaurs on the lounge room floor. My head lying flat against the carpet wondering how they might have looked in real life.
Kally Doyle is an artist at the beginning of her career. It is a bold move to put yourself up on display. Her work is refreshingly honest and that is its appeal.