Kirstie Rea + Anita Larkin: the impact of COVID-19 upon their artistic practices

Whilst the doors to Hurstville Museum & Gallery were closed to the public due to COVID-19, staff took this opportunity to re-visit and reconsider past exhibitions.  Kirstie Rea and Anita Larkin were a part of Beyond the Bowl. Both have candidly shared their thoughts and the impact this pandemic has had on their artistic practice.

Kirstie Rea

The current situation has not changed working in the studio, as for me this has always been a solo practice. I am actually there a bit more than usual as what has changed for me is my other income earning opportunities – teaching, mentoring and guiding. Teaching has always supported my making, my ability to buy more materials and it’s a part that I really love. Teaching teaches me so much. All my local, national and international commitments for 2020 have been cancelled.

I am working on a number of projects including a solo exhibition at Suki and Hugh Gallery in November this year, a group exhibition titled Upending Expectations that will travel to 6 regional galleries I am also working towards a couple of other things in the offing and planning for beyond 2020.

Kirstea Rea install (1)

Kirstea Rea install (2)
Kirstie Rea unpacking “Change” ready to install for Beyond the bowl, Hurstville Museum & Gallery 2019.
Kirstie Rae artwork (1)
Kirstie Rea Change 2016 glass construction, garden rake (detail).

In early June, DESIGN Canberra announced that Kirstie was awarded the 2020 DESIGN Canberra designer–in–residence. Kirstie’s work titled “With care” was chosen and will be exhibited during the annual event scheduled for November later this year, coinciding with her solo exhibition at Suki and Hugh Gallery.

Design Canberra AIR Kirstie Rea Lean Timms LR-20
2020 DESIGN Canberra festival signature artwork, With care, created by glass artist Kirstie Rea. Timber fabrication: Zeljko Markov. Photo: Lean Timms.

For more information on DESIGN Canberra you can follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Represented by Sabbia Gallery, Kirstie was part of the group exhibition titled Container. This exhibition showcased some of this country’s leading glass practitioners, and investigated the various ways in which a work of art may contain, or implies to contain; yet the actual content of which was not important.

Anita Larkin

Anita Larkin install (5) cropped
Anita Larkin installing “Ghost bats”, Beyond the bowl 2019, Hurstville Museum & Gallery.

I have been stood down from my job installing at Wollongong Art Gallery as it has closed too, but this gives me more time for my Doctorate of Creative Arts, and to help my son with his home schooling and playing.

I was to have a solo show of my work in May at Wollongong Art Gallery titled “Come to me without a word” but with that gallery now closed it had to be rescheduled so I have wrapped the works up and they will hopefully be exhibited 28 August – 11 October 2020 all going well. I have made a new body of work for that show based on ideas of brokenness and repair.

Anita Larkin,

Anita Larkin,

Anita Larkin,
Anita Larkin Beneath the weight of the sheets, 2019, salvaged chairs, sheets, blanket, lead and beeswax. Image: courtesy the artist.

Anita Larkin combines salvaged objects with felt, beeswax, honey and lead in engaging artworks, offering themselves up as intimate poetry describing love, longing and loss.

Anita Larkin is represented by Defiance Gallery, Sydney.

You can learn more about Anita via her Instagram and website.

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