Kathe Bibi Ostermark

Decoy Café Bar Gallery, 303 Exhibition St, Melbourne

22 February - 2 May 2011

Kathe's exhibition of 30 acrylic paintings lit up Decoy Café with their warm, vibrant colours and homely subjects. Some were of everyday things such as landscapes and natural phenomena, though often with a whimsical or satirical twist. Others had people and situations in them. As the title of her exhibition suggests, some of her characters were “Totally Fiction”, with quirky titles such as The Woman who lived in her Family Tree, Who's cup of tea am I??, Redhead on Rocks, Tree Lover, and I'm your long lost brother.

Some of the smaller works were hung in the ground level main part of the restaurant, making an attractive accompaniment to the café setting. They included a series of small cat portrayals, five of which graced a cosy, intimate section at the back. In each work the curving, hard-edge forms included Kathe's black cat, Lucy. In Nine Lives, Sorry!!, Don't worry - I'm right behind you and others, the cats posed, strolled, slept, interacted. I liked Kathe's cats, and I think she had captured the various feline behaviours nicely.

Downstairs: Kathe Bibi Ostermark with her cats

Upstairs view, with Tall Poppies - it's cold on top of the World


On the long walls of the elegant and spacious dining room upstairs, some of the larger works were hung. One of my favourites was Tall Poppies - it's cold on top of the World. All manner of life was going on in this picture: a couple with house and garden and bed, a farm with a pig and a cow, a freeway with cars running past a cluster of beach boxes, parklands with children and a dog, the sea with yachts and boats, sunbathers on the beach … and all against a backdrop of green forest, a towering icy white mountain and black sky, and three enigmatic poppies. I loved the bright colours against the stark backdrop, and the quirky combination of land and sea scapes with domesticity.

I enjoyed Kathe's exhibition and hope that some of you got to see it also. I also recommend Decoy Café's great coffee and very tasty lunches and breakfasts!

Review by Cressida Fox

Upstairs, enjoying lunch - left to right: Aase, Kathe Bibi Ostermark (the artist), Fred.
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