Karlee Rawkins

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Based in the beautiful mid-north coast of New South Wales, Karlee Rawkins has a vast and rich landscape full of luscious plant and fauna specimens to influence her practice, yet her creative mind meanders as she seeks to create her own exotic kingdom.

Building upon painted layers of patterning, scribbling, line and colour, compositions arise within an intuitive act of mark making. Patterns are derived from plants and flowers that have been used in Indian design for centuries, with noted Buddhist and Hindu sites dating back to the third century BC. It is drawing from her surrounds and by mimicking the patterning to which she is exposed, Rawkins is enabled to construct her own unique dreamt oasis. She describes her use of pattern as an aid in the creation of ambiguity within her compositions; she also directly references historical repetition from ancient religious decoration and design.

The metamorphic characteristics of her devised creatures are reflected in the transformative nature of the river which many of them inhabit. Lotus flowers bloom and wilt while their roots tangle with the changing of the current, turtles wade through and feed from the shallows which rise and fall, and birds circulate the air above, following the river from its source to the sea.

Attracted to the ways in which pattern and line intersect with form and colour Rawkins’ skilfully integrates discernible representation with subtle abstraction. Pointed ears become daring triangles, nimble legs yield to their verticality and wings splay out to form intersecting globes across the picture plane. This dexterous sense of composition and lively mark making is captivating, revealing both child-like veneration and sophisticated appreciation for the form and character of her subjects. Thus Rawkins’ paintings hold within them a range of concerns from the personal to the global, questioning our relationship to nature and more broadly to themes of mortality and even extinction.