Davida Allen is one of Queensland’s favourite contemporary painters, appreciated for her style of painting – layers of thick oil paint are animated by her exuberant and expressive touch. Grandmother painting depicts a moment of immense contentment with her grandchildren. For all the energy, dynamism and raw intensity of colours and texture – conveying the nonexistence of peace and quiet, perhaps – there is a sense of calm and joy resonating in this scene.
Allen’s family has long been a mainstay for her art, and those familiar with the artist’s work will know that the ease and confidence depicted here were hard earned from years spent coping with the stresses and vulnerability parenthood often involves. In Grandmother painting, the fears and anxieties harboured by a young mother faced with new challenges and responsibilities have, some 30 years later, been supplanted by confidence, conviction and ease.
Grandmother painting is on view in ‘GOMA Q: Contemporary Queensland Art’ currently at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) until 11 October. The accompanying publication profiles the latest innovations and achievements by some of Queensland’s leading visual artists.