26 October 2011
The weather was perfect in Berry last week: the sun was shining, the sky was a clear blue, the birds were literally singing. So you can forgive me if I thought I was in a dream. Driving around with the top down, I suddenly came to a screeching halt. A vision of white fluttering in the breeze beckoned me into the new gallery opened recently by Lisa Madigan. Lisa is talented artist, stylist and designer hailing from the Northern Beaches of Sydney. She moved down to Berry on the NSW South Coast a few years ago, drawn by the relaxed lifestyle and proximity to the beach and the countryside.
Her creative energies have certainly been flowing, for not only has Lisa opened her store, but she also entered into this year’s Archibald Prize,Australia’s most prestigious prize for portraiture, as well as putting together an show of her own work at her gallery.
The crisp white backdrop of the gallery creates a relaxing and fresh environment for a carefully curated collection of homewares and decorative items that would certainly add distinction to any interior.
The choice of textures and colours are reflected in Lisa’s paintings. Her latest work, entitled Sublimation, explores the possibilities of white and black, colours that are diametrically opposed but together can be harmonious. The works are both organic and ethereal and play with the idea of the transcendence of matter, from earth to dust to air.
Lisa, working in oils, constructs a sense of unity by using rough textures created by thick impasto of paint and granite dust, adding dimension to the restrained palette which is almost monochromatic, but has variation. She mixes gloss paint with matte to create unique effects and adds the slightest touches of colour, ochre to deep browns to pale pinks and khakis, to give the paintings a tactile quality.
In addition to her art, Lisa stocks a rug range by Armadillo & Co, a company that prides itself on its use of natural materials and fair trade policies in the production of their rugs. Ceramics by Melbourne potter, Shelley Panton, who specializes in stoneware pottery in simple shapes, but with the most amazing glass-like glazes, are also stocked. These two designers have been chosen by Lisa to showcase their pared back aesthetic, fitting in with the organic feel of the store.
It is that feeling of tactility and simplicity that runs through the space. These are objects that are easy to live with and pleasant to touch; that makes you feel grounded to nature and the environment that surrounds us. It makes you think of a simpler life, stripped bare of all that is unnecessary, but still full of beauty. Not everyone is lucky enough to live in such an amazing place as Berry, but it is nice to know that wherever you live, you can take a piece of it home with you.
Lisa has an online store which you can find here.
79 Albert Street
By the way, Lisa will soon stock the LOVE travel guides written by the inspirational and charming Fiona Caulfield, which I wrote about a few weeks ago. Fiona will be at Lisa Madigan gallery on the 5th November for a book signing and a chat. If you can get there, DO!