Amanda Marburg How Some Children Played at Slaughtering

28 May –
25 June 2016

Amanda Marburg’s distinctive paintings are the end product of an extended process involving photography and model making. Her method is to mould figures and structures inmalleable materials including plasticine and clay, before photographing the strange worlds she creates against studio backdrops, which then act as the final basis for her paintings.

For How Some Children Played at Slaughtering she looks to the stories that both excited and haunted generations of children and adults, the infamous Grimm’s fairy tales. An interesting progression from her 2014 series of characters created by children who she had directed to fashion creatures and scenes drawn from their own dreams and nightmares. Now Marburg looks to the source of what haunts us.

Marburg’s continued fascination with the macabre has seen her reference dark tales from film, literature and art history, from her beginnings with plasticine models of the Hitchcock’s film Psycho, to her Heironymus Bosch paintings and later a series based on Italian paintings of sinners being tortured.

Through unusual cropping, distortion of scale and carefully orchestrated lighting using torches and candles, Marburg emphasises shadows and heightens colour which together enhances the uncanny in her paintings.

The beguiling otherworldliness of these compositions is further intensified by an unsettling focus, with some areas of composition sharply rendered while surrounding objects fade into hazy shadow. The melancholy of Marburg’s subjects is counteracted by her use of bewitching bright colour which creates fairytale-like landscapes with deceptive charm.

Amanda Marburg is a Melbourne-based painter who graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts, The University of Melbourne, in 1999. Recent exhibitions include: Transit, Horsham Regional Gallery, New South Wales, 2013; The Sixth, West Space, Melbourne, 2013; Art & Australia Collection, MOP Gallery, Sydney, 2012; Like, Casula Powerhouse Gallery, Sydney, 2012; Model Pictures, Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne, 2011; neo-Gothic, Queensland University Art Museum, Brisbane, 2008; Primavera, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2007; Depth of Field, Shepparton Art Gallery, Victoria, 2003; Neo Noir, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne, 2002; and Fascination, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, 2000. Marburg was a finalist in the 2011 and 2013 Archibald Prize. In 2008 Marburg undertook a Rome studio residency, funded by the Australia Council and later this year she will take up the Ausco studio in Barcelona.

Artist’s profile