About the Bike

Acrylics and works on paper, by Heather King, and

Botanica - Land & Sea

A selection of recent linocut prints, by Karen Foley

Decoy Café Bar Gallery, 303 Exhibition St, Melbourne

20 May - 15 August 2014

Review by Shelley Vincent

These 2 artists have 29 works in this exhibition of linocuts and acrylic paintings. Karen Foley's works depict the natural environment, while Heather King's focus is on the world of cycling.

The show has a variety of contrasts. There is the contrast in the colours used - from the stark black and white of most of the linocuts, through to the jewelled colours in the works based on maps of Melbourne, such as Where Do You Live/Ride? (Mornington Peninsula).

Where Do You Live / Ride? (Mornington Peninsula), acrylic, 30 x 30 cm, by Heather King

The map-based works also give a bird's-eye view which contrasts nicely with the intimate observations of flowers such as those in Water Lilies, and the close-ups of a bike (in Don's Bike - A Portrait) and the back of a rider (in Out of the Seat). And between these 2 extremes are scenes that are one step back such as seeing a lone rider go past in Out Alone or looking through a tunnel of vegetation to the sea shore in Through the Teatree.

Through the Teatree,linocut, 6/25, 52.5 x 42.5 cm68 x 50 cm, by Karen Foley

Don's Bike – A Portrait, acrylic, 66 x 122 cm, by Heather King

There is also a contrast in the application of colour. Thick acrylic paint gives solidity to the figure in Out of the Seat and defines the land and road in the map-based works. While sweeps of paint blur the vision as bike riders zoom by in works such as Flying By Bike. Then there is the gentle application of washes of colour to highlight parts of the composition as in the linocut Fallen Tree. In the linocuts there is both the strong lines of the flowers but also the medium is used to depict the fragile seed pods in Honesty.

Honesty,linocut, 1/10, 52.5 x 72.5 cm, by Karen Foley

Flying By Bike, acrylic, 102 x 76 cm, by Heather King

And one more contrast is in the amount of motion in the works. The linocuts are small, quiet moments of stillness. A meditation on the complexity of a flower, as in Orchid, that requires one to walk and stop and look to find such scenes. On the other hand, many of the acrylic paintings are all about speed. The split-second glimpse of a cyclist, as in Velo 1.3, where the face is indistinguishable and the wheels a blur. An appreciation of the small and quiet versus an appreciation of the fleeting moment.

Orchid,linocut, 4/10, 68 x 50 cm, by Karen Foley

Velo 1.3, acrylic, 102 x 102 cm, by Heather King

Although there are many contrasts the common thread through the exhibition is of artists creating works about their passions.


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