Kate Beynon Dance of the Spirits

18 April –
16 May 2015
Like scatters of starlight
Kate Beynon

Like scatters of starlight

, 2015
Watercolour, gouache and pencil on cotton rag board
38.2 x 50.8cm

Sutton Gallery is pleased to present Dance of the Spirits, a showcase of new works in watercolour, gouache and pencil on cotton rag board by Kate Beynon. These works are based on stills from Kate Beynon and Michael Pablo’s multi-channel animated video work, Scenes from a Ghost Tale (2015); currently showing at TarraWarra Museum of Art as part of the solo exhibition An-Li: A Chinese Ghost Tale. 

Following the story of two young spirits who crisscross between a magical aquatic and earthly world, Dance of the Spirits at Sutton Gallery provides the audience with a keener insight into the mystical ogre dancer figures who flit and flash within the ghost tale.

Beynon reveals her mythical ogre figures, displaying the characters performing in unusual guises and taking on a life of their own. Steeped in Chinese, Japanese and Indian theatrical, shamanistic and ornamental masks, the distinction between mask and creature has become blurred.  Beynon has given these leads an array of poses and expressions to tell their own new story. They are no longer merely masks but have become the living, blinking, grinning faces of the dancers.

The fluidity and transparency of the watery media lends itself (metaphorically) to the underwater setting of the tale, as well as the depiction of ghosts and supernatural beings. Beynon’s watercolour marks – accumulated while testing colours on numerous pieces of paper – were animated to create vibrant backdrops for the colourful and translucent dancing figures.

When I first read this supernatural tale, it was the ‘Ogre dancers’ with their devilish and beastly masks that hooked me first. They intrigued me, and while imagining and painting them, they seemed to take on a life of their own  – Beynon 2015

Since graduating from Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts in 1993, Beynon has held over 25 solo exhibitions. Her most significant individual exhibitions include An-Li: A Chinese Ghost Tale, TarraWarra Museum of Art, 2015; Auspicious Charms for Transcultural Living, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2008; Mixed Blood and Migratory Paths, The Physics Room, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2005; and Kate Beynon 1994-2002, Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Adelaide, 2002. She has also presented regular solo shows at Sutton Gallery since 1996.

Artist’s profile