Locals involves a body of work which intends to capture and convey the layered sensations upon encountering various environments, as if for the first time. I agree with the sentiment expressed once by botanist and author, Dick Burns, when he said, “Nothing compares to seeing a plant you have read about in the wild.”

Various species of plants endemic to Tasmania have become frequent and familiar sightings on walks near Hawley Beach, the native garden at Bluewater Crescent, Shearwater, the Central Plateau and Cradle Mountain, Deloraine and elsewhere.

The paintings represent a collection of memories, the result of a layering of sensations and knowledge about a place, and the role of the particular species of native plants and others in that place, and in turn, the ways in which all elements of that environment are interconnected. Transparent glazes of paint, applied over any months, record these cumulative sensations. Every now and again, I will also venture into the intersection between native plants and a manicured garden, best exemplified by John Glover’s Garden at Patterdale, currently being sympathetically restored. My own way of perceiving and recording the minutiae and overlooked details of the Tasmanian landscape involves using both broad and tiny brushstrokes. The focus shifts from the overall to the specific, in recording the presence of specific species in the abstract plane of the canvas. Or as Glover himself observed, “Painting is a science, and should be pursued as an inquiry into the laws of nature. Why, then, may not landscape painting be considered as a branch of natural philosophy, of which pictures are but the experiments?”


Native and Perennial
Kylie Elkington
Colville Gallery
27 October 2020

The Native and Perennial exhibition represents a continuing instalment of a major longitudinal undertaking of a specific aspect of Australian landscape painting, the complex and detailed minutiae of the land under our feet in miraculous environments like Cradle Mountain. While other landscape artists may be drawn to the distant vista and horizon, my depiction of landscape is often afocal and devoid of horizon, as if viewed from above.
Some elements are sharply in focus, while others require the time and contribution of a viewer to take time in front of works to allow them to reveal themselves more fully, to draw from long term memory the sensations of a mountain hike or foreshore walk encounter with a stunning native. The subject opens the doorway to a recalled experience with paint, in which to introduce visual and compositional drama into the movement and form, and subtleties of colour which are offered by plants endemic to parts of Australia, and in particular, Tasmania.
Along with indigenous plants, perennials appear in this current exhibition. Following some appearances in the Glover Prize, I had the opportunity to visit Glover’s Patterdale which had been planted with perennials by the new owner to reflect what Glover himself had introduced to the Tasmanian landscape. The richness of the themes associating landscape paintings by Glover with a love of plants, and the notion of what one leaves as a legacy of reflection led me to create some works of perennials. Dying back each autumn and winter, they return with strength each year with foliage and blooms.

Native Engagement

Kylie Elkington
Colville Gallery
The swirling green worlds that Kylie Elkington composes are derived from her observations of natural flower and foliage forms, but while she focuses on tiny details, her compositions find a parallel with the enormity of the night sky. The work has an engaging beauty stained in deep emerald, which Elkington gently modulates from a deep darkness to the exquisite points of pale light.
This gorgeous work has a hypnotic quality, and the manner in which Elkington creates a microscopic universe from a tiny space is positively enticing. The works are pools the eye can plunge into and become quite lost in.
Andrew Harper
The Mercury, Saturday 8 July, 2018.

Kylie Elkington
Pre-Raphaelite Neo-Romantic Painter

Kylie Elkington treats the world of her favoured native Australian plants with a romantic treatment of paint which recalls the great pre-Raphaelite artists emerging from England in the mid 19 th century. Then, as now, the world was in rapid change with the advent of the Industrial revolution, but those artists, and Elkington alike, chose to ignore those temporary troubles nearby, and focus on eternal themes of life cycles and the beauty of nature in its wildest forms.
The minutiae of life is what is observed, and the keenness of her observations are rewarded with repeated and concentrated viewings of her best works, which seem to endlessly open up into mysteriously deep fields created with oil paint on a two-dimensional surface. The choice of Elkington’s subjects are never accidental – the humble Australian natives, much despised or overlooked by colonists intent on re-shaping the land in all ways familiar, and given due attention for posterity in the artist’s hands. They are works embedded with the curiosity of a botanist like Joseph Banks, but they are ultra-contemporary in terms of painting processes which emphasise attention to detail, beauty and subtle but nevertheless present concerns about the depletion of our natural diversity.
When dealing with a more panoramic landscape, Elkington customarily chooses to work on marine- grade plywood. As a builder’s granddaughter, she has affinity with the grain, chooses her boards specifically so that the grain of the wood is allowed to show through the paint in the finished works. The viewer is left to decode which elements have been painted (the artificial) and which involve the grain of the painting’s support (the natural), but for the artist, the issue remains to communicate the interrelatedness of all worldly elements. The sophistication of the decision-making and degree of sensitivity in the application of her materials is no common feat.
Elkington’s practice shares the objectives of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (and may have been their only female member if she lived back then). Their charter had a religious undercurrent, and sought to differ from the ‘mechanistic’ art of its day by seeking a return to abundant detail, intense colour, and complex (often circular) compositions favoured by certain Renaissance painters. All of this history and its romantic poetic links informs Elkington’s works. The works maintain a jewel-like clarity, from the layered application of transparent pigments and colour range favoured by the pre- Raphaelite Brotherhood, who held to four aims:
(i) To have genuine ideas to express;
(ii) To be attentive to Nature, so as to express it well;
(iii) To sympathise with what is direct and serious and heartfelt in previous art, to the exclusion of what is conventional and self-parading and learned by rote
(iv) Most indispensably of all, to produce thoroughly good pictures and statues.
Elkington recently completed a Masters of Fine Art from Monash University, and her works are held in the permanent collections of regional galleries (Redland, Stanthorpe), the University of Central Queensland and several corporate collections, including Suncorp. The artist is also the recipient of the Philip Bacon Award (on two occasions), and the ADFAS Award. She is a regular finalist in various awards, including the Tattersall’s Invitational Landscape Prize, and makes thoroughly good pictures.
So born 1966
Lives and works Northern Tasmania

Solo Exhibitions

2023 Above the Littoral, Colville Gallery
2022 Native Anew, Colville Gallery
2021 Locals, Colville Gallery
2020 Native and Perennial, Colville Gallery
2019 Native Habitat, Colville Gallery, Hobart
2018 Native Engagement, Colville Gallery, Hobart
2016 Curious Natives, Bridget McDonnell Gallery, November 9 – 23 December
2015 The Road Travelled, Bridget McDonnell Gallery, Hampton, 18 April – 3 May
2014 Sydney Paintings, Butchershook Gallery, Paddington, Sydney
2013 Open Garden, Bridget McDonnell Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria
2012 Bundanon Paintings and Other Recent Works, Bridget McDonnell Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria
2011 Historical Gardens, Hill Smith Gallery, Adelaide, South Australia
2009 Land Maps: Studies of the Interior, Stanthorpe Regional Gallery, Queensland
Personal Geographies, Post Grad Gallery, Monash University, Victoria
2007 Terrain, Kazari Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria
Signs of Landscape, Seventh Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria
2006 Landscape, South East Queensland, Wesley Hospital, Brisbane

Selected Group Exhibitions

2024 Grace Cossington Smith Art Award Finalist
Bay of Fires Art Prize Finalist
2022 Bay of Fires Art Prize Finalist
2021 Tasmanian Women’s Art Prize Finalist
2019 The Glover Prize Highly Commended
The Hadley’s Prize Finalist
2018 Glover Prize, Finalist
The Glover Prize People’s Choice Award
Hutchins Australian Contemporary Art Prize, Hobart
Annual Artists Show, Colville Gallery, Hobart
2017 Finalist, Tattersall’s Art Prize 2017, Tattersall’s Club, Brisbane, Queensland
Annual Artists Show Coville Gallery, Hobart
2015 Christmas Exhibition, Bridget McDonnell Gallery, Carlton, Victoria
Finalist, Tattersall’s Art Prize 2015, Tattersall’s Club, Brisbane, Queensland
2014 Finalist, Clayton Utz Award 2014, Brisbane, Queensland
From the Studio: Bayside Artists and Writers in Residence, The Gallery, Bayside Arts and Cultural Centre, Victoria
2012 Christmas at Bridget McDonnell Gallery, Carlton, Victoria
2011 Works from the Collection, Stanthorpe Regional Gallery, Queensland
2010 Finalist, Tattersall’s Art Prize 2010, Tattersall’s Club, Brisbane, Queensland
2009 Finalist, Kenilworth Art Prize 2009, Kenilworth, Queensland
Finalist, Tattersall’s Club Art Prize 2009, Tattersall’s Club, Brisbane, Queensland
2008 Finalist, John Leslie Art Prize 2008, Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale, Victoria
Melbourne Art Fair 2008 Satellite Show, Joint Hassles, Northcote, Melbourne, Victoria
2006 Acquired, Redland Art Award 2006, Redland Art Gallery, Queensland
Finalist, Queensland Artworkers Award 2006, Queensland Artworkers Alliance, Brisbane
Finalist and Commended, Inaugural Mayor’s Prize 2006, The Kenilworth-Maroochy Art Prize, Queensland
Finalist and Commended, Warwick Art Prize, Warwick Regional Gallery, Queensland
Finalist, 34 th Alice Prize 2006, Araluen Centre, Alice Springs, Northern Territory
Acquired, Stanthorpe Art Prize 2006, Stanthorpe Regional Gallery, Queensland
2005 Winner, The Philip Bacon Commendation, Thiess Art Prize, Dell Gallery, Brisbane, Queensland
Finalist, Thiess Art Prize: Exploring the life, culture and landscape of Queensland, Dell Gallery, Brisbane
2004 Winner, Australian Decorative and Fine Arts Society Award for Excellence 2004 (Brisbane Chapter)
Finalist, Thiess Art Prize: Exploring the life, culture and landscape of Queensland, Dell Gallery, Brisbane

Awards and Professional Activities

2024 Grace Cossington Smith Art Award Finalist
Bay of Fires Art Prize Finalist
2021 Tasmanian Women’s Art Prize Finalist
2019 Glover Prize, Finalist
2018 Glover Prize, Finalist
Hutchins Australian Contemporary Art Prize, Hobart
2012 Bundanon Trust Artist in Residence
2011 Bayside City Council Artist in Residence – Billilla Historic Mansion Brighton, Victoria
2007 Australia Council for the Arts Grant, New Work Emerging category
2004 Museum of Brisbane Hoardings Project for Brisbane Square: Revealing the Region, curatorial role in collaboration with David John Jones, Museum of Brisbane, Brisbane Square and Griffith University, Queensland.

Visual Arts Education

2009 Master of Fine Arts, by research, Monash University, Victoria
2005 Bachelor of Fine Arts First Class Honours, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University
2004 Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting and Art Theory Majors, Queensland College of Art, Griffith University
1999 Advanced Diploma of Arts (Ceramics), South Bank Institute of Technical and Further Education, Brisbane

Selected Collections

Kyneton Hospital, Victoria; Brisbane Girls’ Grammar School, Queensland; Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Queensland;
Bayside City Council, Melbourne, Victoria; Mater Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland; Stanthorpe Regional Gallery, Queensland;
Redland Art Gallery, Queensland; Gadens Lawyers, Australia; Sunsuper, Queensland