Studio Visit with James Kearns
The mess in the picture above pretty much sums up Kearnsy's home and studio in Orange. I just hope the real estate doesn't see this! Every room in the house is covered in stacks of paintings and drawings, finished or otherwise. I was lucky enough to go "shopping" in Kearnsy's mess, "Just pick out the ones you want" he says - like a kid in a candy shop!
It's a particularly unpleasant day in early August, snowing outside, but not that nice, floaty, pretty kind of snow...... We loiter in the only heated room and have a dig through the piles of work on the floor to find an exhibition. There's certainly no shortage of sale-able work here.
Kearns chats to me about his current obsessions while I plough through the forgotten masterpieces. He is currently striving to achieve some naivety in his style, he squats over a piece on the floor and quickly paints in the background. Initially it could be mistaken for a child's drawing, but that's what he loves about it.
We head outside into the freezing, sideways sleet to check the two back sheds, also harboring mountains of paintings. The first shed is where Kearnsy does most of his canvas stretching and mounting. But the shed way down the back is where the real treasures are hidden. Possums have been living here this winter it seems, there is possum crap all over the place. Kearns digs through stacks of canvases and papers looking for anything that might work with the selected pieces. It's like a trip down memory lane, long forgotten works are re-discovered.
The selected pieces are layed out in one of the front rooms for a closer look. This exhibition will be quite different from Jame's recent shows in Sydney where he shows mainly large scale paintings of animals, people and the landscape. We have opted for smaller paintings to suit the space. Beautiful, textural, impressions of the landscape, imagined and remembered from around both Moree and Orange in NSW. Deep heavy mark-making is a common feature, abstract shapes represent the features of the landscape. They are painted and drawn on gorgeous hand-made paper Kearnsy found in outback Australia. Deep purples and blues dominate the larger pieces while pops of vibrant red and neon pink accentuate some of the smaller works.
I feel incredibly privileged to be able to show Kearnsy's work in our humble little gallery. It's great to have had an artist like James in Orange, even if it was only for a short time. Make sure you don't miss it!
Marks of the Landscape will be on show at The Corner Store Gallery from August 20th to September 6th with an opening night on Friday August 21st from 6-8pm.