In 2013, Mahala Magins undertook an artist residency at the Baer Arts Center in Skagafjordur, Iceland. It was an experience that changed her painting, so that when she returned to Australia she felt the influences everywhere. The transformation that took place connects to a different way of seeing and exists in a purist’s pursuit of Abstraction and Painting. Put simply, Magins found a new “template” for thinking about painting, although this word denies space for the nuances that are integral to her work. Ultimately, what the trip did was provide her with a place to soak in the idea of being an artist, giving her conviction that she is a Painter.
Applying this logic to her painting when she returned, Magins found her work was not of a single place. Her painterly language was informed by flickers from the landscape of her memory, of source material, and her immediate surroundings.
Magins describes; “One thing Iceland taught me was to utilise the environment I am immersed in, to allow anything and everything to influence me. I might see a photograph and will respond to this by thinking of a memory of travel, write this experience down, then respond to this moment in time visually, even as simply as a clipping of colour. I will then establish the work from these experiences.”
This current body of work encompasses her travels while exploring the affected and affective nature of encounters with place through a considered and emotive material response. Magins does not try to replicate the landscape around her but let it in through thoughts and the edges of her vision, until the paintings found their own life and direction, separate from but informed by their initial inspiration.
Mahala Magins is an emerging artist based in Bangalow, New South Wales. She completed her Bachelor of Visual Art at Southern Cross University in 2006. Since graduation Magins continues to be shown and represented in various local and national group shows, including being twice selected for The Portia Geach Memorial Award, The Gold Coast City Art Award and most recently the Hurford Hardwood Portrait Prize with her portrait of art collector, June Blanchett.
Excerpt from ‘Post Iceland’ Essay 2015, Kezia Geddes Curator Lismore Regional Gallery. Text courtesy of the Artist and Lismore Regional Gallery.