Sea of Faces Exhibition February 2020 at Tanks Art Centre, Cairns Botanical Gardens
I love colour and I'm especially lucky enough to live on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef.
In conjunction with Tanks Art Centre, Cultural Services Cairns and the Cairns Aquarium, I have been offered a space in the gallery to hold my
Sea of Faces Exhibition for Feb 2020
The exhibition is all about studying the colours of tropical fish and taking these colours and using them in portraits of researchers, who work on the reef.
Luisa Manea's portraits, for a long time, have focused largely on fashion. However, since moving from Perth to Cairns in 2016, her subject matter has begun to include people who have achieved success in environmental protection and awareness. Her colour palette has also become much brighter. Much of her recent work has employed the colours inspired by tropical reef fish.
For this new body of work, Luisa was kindly granted access to Cairns Aquarium so she could capture the movement and colour of a bright range of species in a series of studies.
For example, the codfish at the aquarium would look brownish from a distance, but up close, the same fish would display a salmon pink base with a lime green spot. This taught Luisa not to use colour just for the colour itself but for its value and hue.
To check that the new colour experiments were working, Luisa would often take a photo of a painting in progress and apply a back and white filter over the top to ensure the colour value was correct.
The scale and proportions of the artworks reflect how challenging it was to draw fish. it was hard to get the scale correct in order to fit the paper size. Drawing from memory and speed became a new skill. making the portrait more interesting to look at. Instead of a typical portrait centred or slightly to the right of the canvas, these portraits took on the look of a snapshot, not a pose.
Many of the artworks on display are layered, just like their inspirations, fish. There are those that shimmered and glittered, scales that are textured and coloured. the markings are in many ways identical to the way women wear makeup. Eyes are often exaggerated in the use of eyeliner, emphasising the importance of their eyes and giving the illusion of being constantly watched.
Taken from Tanks Art Centre editorial
Madame Butterfly influenced by the yellow dramatically coloured Butterfly fish at the Cairns Aquarium.
There are all kinds of Butterflyfish but they mainly seem to be a loud yellow. I have used the same proportions of yellow and a lot of color for the face details. Often fish have markings on or around their eyes to make their eyes look bigger in the same way we use makeup.
They really are quite glamorous without all the time and effort it takes us to achieve the same look