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Zoe Kirkwood's Collections Project


Zoe Kirkwood's Collections Project

Adrienne Goode

Local artist Zoe Kirkwood makes theatricality (and robotic yabbies) come alive with her unique take on installation art. Over the past three years, Kirkwood’s work has been displayed at the CHASM Gallery in New York, has appeared at various galleries interstate, has won her the Doctor Harold Schenberg Art Prize (2014), and has scored her the ever-elusive 2017 Anne & Gordon Sanstag International Visual Arts Scholarship. All these achievements have been attained since graduating from UniSA in 2013 with first-class honours in Visual Artsso there’s certainly no doubt that this Radelaidan is insanely talented. From November 4, this local lady will be exhibiting her newest work in her Collections Project at the Art Gallery of South Australia and this isn’t one to miss (trust us)!

Image via Grant Hancock

Image via Grant Hancock

In her collection, Kirkwood challenges the perception of paint as a two-dimensional art form by creating an entire visual world through painting, sculpturing, and installation art. With saturated colours and robotic yabbies on display, Kirkwood describes her upcoming exhibition as, “colourful and eclectic”. Take those crustaceans and run wild with your imagination.

Much of the collection presents elements and processes from earlier sculptures and paintings, which ultimately allows them to become a series of transformations. By creating an intricate and ornate stage set, Kirkwood invites her viewers to witness her work shift between two and three dimensional forms and become entirely immersed within the creative process.

It’s often said that an artist’s work reveals a piece of themselves and Kirkwood’s spontaneous and unique personality positively shines through within her Collections Project.

“My work often incorporates a lot of really varied elements and friends have joked that looking at my work is like having a conversation with me because there are always multiple threads involved and you’re never quite sure what is going on.  But I do genuinely love experimenting with new mediums and techniques,” says Kirkwood.

Installation art is the genre of three-dimensions, and Kirkwood uses this method to create a spatial set-up that trials variations of theatricality and brings her work into the physical space of the audience.

Image via Zan Wimberly

Image via Zan Wimberly

With Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s bel composto aesthetic at the heart of her inspiration, Kirkwood has modernised the Baroque style with saturated hues, elaborate ornamentation, and eclecticism.

“It's such a lush aesthetic that I’ve always been awed by. The attention to detail is beyond comparison and the way in which Baroque artists combined painting, architecture and sculpture into a single harmonic piece really informs my installation work,” Kirkwood says.

Side note: if you’re unsure of who Bernini is, he’s the 16th Century sculpting superstar who created the Baroque style of sculpture. His combination of architecture, fresco, stucco, lighting, and, of course, sculpture created what he called a “marvellous whole”.

The Collections Project comes as a partnership between the Art Gallery of South Australia and Guildhouse and is set to provide local artists, like Kirkwood, with the opportunity to work with the Gallery’s collections, curators, and staff.

Kirkwood’s work will be exhibited in Gallery 15 from November 4 2016 – 5 March 2017 and it’s set to be an illusional treat for the eyes and mind alike.


What: Collections Project: Zoe Kirkwood

When: 4 November 2016 – 5 March 2017

Where: Gallery 15, Art Gallery of South Australia

Header via Che Chorley.

All other images (in order of appearance) via Zan Wimberly, Grant Hancock, and Che Chorley.