The Valley

November 14 - December 7, 2019

Exhibition opening: Saturday November 16, 2-4pm

Gabrielle Martin’s new work explores the world of the pre-adolescent girl through a series of portraits and landscapes. ‘The Valley’ is the name given by Martin’s daughter and her friends to an empty tract of land where they choose to play. This flawed Eden is a grassland, scattered with gorse bushes and blackberries, which stretches between the last row of houses in her town and the railway embankment. A railway reserve is never cultivated or built on and therefore remains wild; a place of exploration and possible danger. In these paintings, the valley suggests a metaphor for the liminal space inhabited by these girls, hovering between the immersive world of childhood – where nature is imbued with imaginary qualities – and the knowing and more detached world of adult consciousness.

Some of the paintings include animals, who offer companionship and important encounters.  Animals elicit feelings of tenderness, curiosity, fear and love in children. Thus, they play a vital role in the unfolding drama of the individuating self.

Although the landscapes are based on the environment surrounding Martin’s home in the central goldfields, they are also imaginary spaces. They act both as stage sets for the children’s “play” and as reflections of the inner life of the subjects.