Journey to Adelaide
4 August - 12 September 2020
YVONNE BOAG is a Scottish-born Australian painter and printmaker whose work reflects the many places where she has lived and worked. Having spent the last 20 years dividing her time between South Korea and Australia, YVONNE BOAG’s art responds to these surroundings through her use of bold colours and forms.
Living in different cultural contexts has informed YVONNE BOAG’s preoccupation with displacement. Beginning with moving from Scotland to Australia and, later, moving between Europe, South Korea, Japan and the Lockhart River Aboriginal Community on Cape York, she feeds off this dislocation and her work embodies the discomfort experienced when you don’t belong. At the same time this experience of place lends a genuine sense of curiosity and hyper-awareness to her art practice.
BOAG’s work becomes a response to new surroundings. Images are reduced to semi-abstract forms that combine areas of colour with line. The results are strong graphic forms that take on the character of signs. The pictures are simultaneously simple and complex. They become conversations between the artist and her context, reflecting the range of responses to being in a foreign place. There is a vivid and immediate quality to her works. Bold acrylics, gouache and oil pastels are used to capture those visceral encounters with new places and foreign vistas. The result is a patchwork of joyous and vibrant pops of colour in each work; radiating hot with energy and a sense of hyper-stimulation, as if attempting to drink in the sites all at once.
YVONNE BOAG was the first Asialink artist-in-residence in South Korea in 1993 and since then has been travelling there regularly creating ties with many South Korean artists and teaching at several of the universities. She has a studio there and the time she spends in South Korea greatly influences her work. A feeling of displacement opens BOAG’s works up to greater cultural influences. They are fresh and immediate; not stagnant in visual language and impressions of subject matter.
The work in Journey to Adelaide resulted from a road trip taken last year. The trip took BOAG through Gundagai, Wagga Wagga, across the Hay Plains, into Victoria and then onto Adelaide through the Adelaide Hills. This trip came about soon after a visit to South Korea, giving rise to quite an intense experience of the stark contrast in seasonal, environmental and cultural encounters. This sense of displacement that resonates with YVONNE BOAG, allows her to approach each environmental context with fresh eyes and genuine sense of fascination that informs the energetic quality of her work. Driving through the Australian landscape in summer, BOAG’s impressions were heightened by the extreme heat and bright contrasting light, which created extreme shadows cutting into the landscape. BOAG became acutely aware of the difference in light from South Korea where it was -17C when she left there one week previously. During this trip to Adelaide, the temperature was 40C. This contrast in experience sharpens BOAG’s approach to capturing the landscape and the heat of the journey.