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Reviews/Visual Art

The many faces of water

23 March 2018

Review: Binja-Bilya-Warden by Bradley Kickett ·
Paper Mountain, 21 March ·
Review by Miranda Johnson ·

Bradley Kickett, 'Burlong Pool', acrylic on canvas, 70cm x 50cm.
Bradley Kickett, ‘Burlong Pool’, acrylic on canvas, 70cm x 50cm. Photo: Nina Levy.

When we think of water, we tend to think of it as a singular entity. It moves and shifts, but ultimately, it’s all part of the same whole. Bradley Kickett’s abstract paintings at Paper Mountain show water as multifarious: a teeming, shining, sometimes muddy, sometimes pure, collection of bodies, none of which are really the same.

Kickett’s paintings follow the waters that move from inland, east of York, through Mount Stirling, and the Avon River by Northam, which turns into the Swan, ultimately feeding into the ocean. By tracking the water’s journey, he displays the differences between waters; the salt flats, the clear streams and the brackish mud.

Kickett has a very distinctive style of dot painting combined with paint pouring, so the colours mix and meld together to show the nuance and movement of the water. He states that he is more interested in the formal and technical qualities of painting than that of symbolism or storytelling, and the paintings’ detail and style is intricate and precise as one can be when pouring paint.

The paintings require a lot of time spent on each individual image to fully appreciate the differences, so at times it feels like perhaps a few less paintings might have been a more effective choice for a solo exhibition. However, taking the time to look at them individually is rewarding, as it’s surprising how different they all appear in the details. Bodies of water are like any other bodies, with bumps, swells, and colours that are unique and deeply personal, and Kickett portrays these bodies with precision and focus.

‘Binja-Bilya-Warden’ is at Paper Mountain until March 29.

Top: Bradley Kickett, ‘Shoalwater’, acrylic on canvas, 110cm x 80cm.

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Author —
Miranda Johnson

Miranda Johnson is a curator and writer who has worked for various contemporary arts institutions, co-founded Cool Change Contemporary and co-hosts Fem Book Club at the Centre for Stories. Miranda’s favourite aspect of the playground is getting the chance to meet as many dogs as possible.

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