1986 Sydney, Australia
The French philosopher René Descartes wasn’t the greatest fan of colour. Evoking sensory qualities in paint seemed unnecessary and undesirable for any artistic attempt to represent reality.
But how to depict inner joy or gratitude, the calmness that comes with feeling at home, that will to jive when listening to jazz? For Melbourne-based contemporary artist Katie Eraser, colour is at the core of how art conveys our experience of being in the world.
In recent years, Eraser’s practice has blossomed with successful exhibitions and art world buzz for her delectable abstract art. Inspired by queer and intersectional feminist ideas, her art is a celebration of humanity in all its imperfect splendour.
Hahaha. Seriously! explores how colours interact in beguiling and emotive ways. Despite the forms being clearly defined, they are not geometric and do not appear calculated to produce harmony or balance. Rather, everything is intuitive and dynamic.
Unlike the many abstract artists who call their works “Untitled,” Eraser’s casual labels embed her art in our everyday experiences, how we see and respond to the world around us, our approaches to life. And so it is with this wonderfully warm work.
In Oh huni, it was so good to chat, bending planes of colour and curved shapes form an image that comforts us. The artwork centres on a stooping plane of warm orange that complements the cool blue twirl it connects to, both elements enhancing each other through their contrasting hues. Underneath them and off to the side, the layering of yellow on pink creates more correspondences and empathic relations, as what might be the shape of a heart floats diagonally out of view.
By carefully mixing her own colours and sympathetically exploring how particular tones interact with one another, Katie Eraser draws the viewer into a world of sensations and emotions playing out in space. This honest sharing of feelings through paint establishes a rapport between us and the image, helping to explain why Oh huni is so very captivating.