PUBLISHED IN VAULT: ISSUE 27 · AUGUST to OCTOBER 2019
Sydney painter Genevieve Felix Reynolds creates crisp, immaculate scenes that echo the splintered minds of our post-digital age, while relaying a requiem for the analogue. Taking cues from history books, online archives and architectural environments, Felix Reynolds populates her work with a geometric throb of contrasting colours, culturally laden imagery, and animated gestures that quarrel with positive and negative space.
Hailing from Brisbane – with a Bachelor of Fine Art with First Class Honours and a Bachelor of Photography from Queensland College of Art – Felix-Reynolds grew up in a creative family: her parents work between painting, sculpture and photography, while her sister is an architect. A childhood spent around galleries, studios, travel and art discussions paved the way for a career in art. Felix Reynolds has since exhibited in New York, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. In her current series, Health, the artist imbues her tightly rendered surfaces with iconic motifs and banal items – from disembodied torsos, placeless archways and ancient history artefacts to drinking straws, medicinal tablets and body adornments. While some images allude to social and historical metaphors, she is adamant about leaving enough ambiguity to allow viewers to form their own interpretations.
Mariam Arcilla: There’s a parametric energy with your paintings – the way visuals and symbolisms swing between clinical and playful, classicism and post- internet. What are you exploring here?
Genevieve Felix-Reynolds: I’m investigating a couple of things. One is flatness in painting, in relation to the pervasiveness of the digital screen. I’m influenced by 20th-century explorations of Cartesian space in art and in architecture, and I view the screen as a new framework for abstraction. Combining abstract geometry with references to the physical facilitates navigation between the tangible world and the virtual. I want to emphasise this growing divide. Another topic is history and its record. I’m intrigued by the long journey of an object from ‘buried rubble’ to ‘precious artefact’. In a 21st-century context, this is a journey towards digital immortality: many public museums have online databases of their collections, and when they don’t, this task is performed on social media. An object that was buried has its afterlife in ‘the cloud’. I think of this process as the translation of the physical and sculptural into the abstract and pictorial. I’m exploring how painting and photography can span or bridge this dichotomy.
Image: GENEVIEVE FELIX REYNOLDS Adobe, 2018 gouache and acrylic on aluminium composite 90 x 67 cm Courtesy the artist, Galerie pompom, Sydney and Nicholas Thompson Gallery, Melbourne.