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1967-1977 Carmen Ky exhibited as Carmen Houliston.


These paintings represent series of work and the changes that occurred in the first 3 years after leaving the National Art School in 1966. I had my first One-Person Show at Gallery A, Sydney in 1968 under my birth name: Carmen Houliston. I was 22 years old.

1968: Artist's Statement for that exhibition:

"Painting is a good mental discipline, it is the searching into consciousness through the power of creation. Sometimes I paint directly from feeling and experience .Sometimes the ideas emerge through the act of creating. I like to play with colour, shapes, rhythms and the light. Whatever I paint takes me to an understanding of consciousness and I hope that any viewer focusing attention on one of my paintings can reach a similar state in his own mind."

1969: Catalogue Statement: One Person Show at The Old Fire Station, Leederville, Perth, WA.

Carmen Houliston's painting communicates a vitality which might be considered as fundamentally expressionist, particularly the work done from 1966 to the end of 1968, which culminated in her first Sydney show .... a show met with enthusiasm from the critics there.

For many years an exhibitor to the Contemporary Art Society as well as major contemporary shows throughout NSW. For the last two years she has been awarded the Ashfield Art Prize.

The 1969 canvases speak with more disciplined energy than the earlier works, yet the exuberance continues with distinguishable undertones perhaps of an Eastern quality.

Studied at the National Art School Sydney, from 1961-1966 and currently combining teaching part-time for the Department of Technical Education with her painting practice.

1974: Bonython Gallery, Sydney: Four Younger Artists.

1974: Artist's Statement for that exhibition: Carmen Houliston states...

These paintings are concerned with the sun, the moon, the elements, conception, creation, growth and life. They are a unified whole in which opposites balance and express my feelings of the microcosm and macrocosm, sensual and aesthetic, emotion and intellect, yin and yang. They are products of experience, exploration and glimmerings of understanding. Most important is the process, when they are completed I often feel that they exist in a time and dimension of their own I have known an age ago, perhaps it is just observing a still of a 'past' experience.

It is now 6 years since my first show, and as I have changed so has my work. Six years ago the paintings contained an energy that was wild, enthusiastic, indulgent. They were concerned with process and emotion. Sometimes I seemed to work in a vortex of energy. Fragments of internal and external reality, all thrown together, collage was used. The rhythms and movement held the picture plain together. It was a prolific outpouring. Then hard edge elements and flat planes appeared in the work, followed by the actual building out and shaping of the canvas itself. For a couple of years I went to the other extreme, structure became the main concern. Colours and movement became subdued, the geometric structure dominated. Then a grid structure appeared. I played with this idea for a couple of years. Grids of consciousness or understanding: unifying, but also a barrier; holding together but fragmented etc. Then colour and light started to dominate the grid and glow through it. The grid had served its purpose and so was dispensed with.

The study of Acupuncture last year (1973) and the birth of my first child the year before (1972) have left profound influences. Both are giving me a fuller understanding of my nature, bringing out a more nurturing aspect and a practical application of the Eastern philosophies I've studied. Painting and acupuncture have a balancing effect on me. Both disciplines concentrate and release the mind, centre attention, increase intuition and allow energy to flow creatively.

Note: To obtain maximum glow of colour, I would often stain the raw canvas in washes of fabric dye, then spray with an air gun and airbrush before painting directly onto the canvas.

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