BREAKTHROUGH MOMENT | KATHRIN LONGHURST
I had been slowly chipping away at building my art career when a major shift happened for me about 6 months ago. I didn’t have a solo show for almost 2 years and had time to experiment and evolve my subject matter and technique.
I got involved in a few side projects with the sole purpose of raising awareness for different humanitarian issues and I reached some milestones by being accepted into some of Australia’s largest art prizes including the Doug Moran and then winning the People’s Choice at the Portia Geach Prize. I felt empowered by receiving this peer recognition as these prizes often judged by senior arts professionals and established artists. I had also received a very favorable art review for my solo show in Melbourne earlier in 2018 by an art critic from one of Australia’s largest newspapers which was encouraging.
My longstanding gallery in Sydney had offered me a solo show for June 2018 and when discussing the subject matter late last year the director prompted me to create a center piece for the show that could be placed in a public or important private collection. It seemed the logical next step on my resume.
So “Ode to Feminism” was conceived. It was a painful process at times, I had a fair idea of what I wanted to achieve but did not know how to express my sentiment straight away. In the concept stage I went through ideas of including female superheroes, several panels with portraits of well-known feminist activists as well as other ideas that got scrapped along the way.
I ended up painting a study for the piece first in order to see if my ideas worked. I found the study worked as a composition but the colors were out and a few elements did not quite come together the way I had envisioned. All of these were corrected on the final piece which ended up being nearly 5.5 meters in width. I was terrified of putting it out there as you spend so much time with a painting in the studio without any outside feedback and it messes with your head.
The response was overwhelming though and am overjoyed it ended up being purchased by The Bennett Collection Of Women Realists. I was surprised that it received inquiries as far as Dubai.
It warms my heart that this piece has opened doors to an international collector base and paved the way for greater and bigger things. The exhibition ended up being a near sell-out and received widespread attention. I feel hugely indebted to all the people who pushed me along and I can’t wait to share the next chapter with you.