written by Tracey Lock-Weir
Art Gallery of South Australia | ISBN 9781921668135
Hardback – 132 pages
Member’s price: $45.00
The Art Gallery of South Australia’s publication is the most comprehensive survey of the great Adelaide-born figurative painter Anna Platten. The first monograph to be written on Platten it highlights the artist’s unique position in Australian contemporary art. The illuminating essay on the artist’s oeuvre by the Gallery’s curator, Tracey Lock-Weir, and its magnificent illustrations provide the foundation for further research on Anna Platten.
Platten presents painted scenarios for the outside world that, despite appearing elaborately fabricated and unreal, reveal the artist’s own emotional reality. Platten’s oeuvre charts her rites of passage over time: her embarkation into an artistic career, her marriage and motherhood, and the awakening of middle age. As her work has progressed, likewise the spatial realm of her narrative has expanded. Starting with her early self-portraits and figure studies, Platten’s sphere was intimate and contained within her studio, the mystical only suggested by the appearance of angels. Later, the metaphor of the theatre set allowed her scenarios to expand and play out beyond reality. Even later Platten’s many characters step outside to begin a journey into another timeless fantasy realm.
While Platten remains the central multifaceted protagonist in this journey, these lush dream-like paintings are visionary and refer to universal themes such as the search for identity, meaning, immortality and belonging. Exploring the unknown, the fragile and the tragic elements of life, they essentially seek out what it means to be human.
Artist: Anna Platten