Lightness of Being Group Exhibition 2021

'Lightness of Being'

Karen Benton, Melinda Clyne, Kate Coyne and Jude Williams
Open 11am - 5pm Friday – Sunday, 28th May – 13th June 2021
Opening event Saturday 29th May 2-5pm
Artist Talk 5th June 2pm

Lightness of Being is a group exhibition by Karen Benton, Melinda Clyne, Kate Coyne and Jude Williams which engages with the concepts considered in Milan Kundera’s ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’, where the notion of ‘being’ is associated with constraints - a concept appreciated by these four women artists as they balance their art practices with substantial commitments to family and work.
Some say life is more bearable when there is a burden of responsibility. Others say it’s better to have no connections and see how light life can be. Sometimes it’s the stressors of life that bring people together. However, we also love what the lightness of life can offer individuals. The answer is not conclusive.
 The artists bring together painting, sculpture, textiles, photography and video to materialise works that consider light, lightness and reflectivity. The exhibition makes visible a network of similarities and resonances between the artists, but it also foregrounds the formal, material, and visual language specificity of their practices. 
The deceptive nature of how the substance of objects is perceived, or by extension, our connections with the world around us - is evoked in their work as they endow ephemera with form. Viewers are induced to contemplate the nature of the material and its allusion to freedom, both physical and spiritual. 
The artists’ works appear in flux, having a primary unrest and challenge, exploring the idea of ‘something higher’ in life, and expressing the struggles and tensions that come with it – similar to the artistic processes of production.
Expressions of lightness in this exhibition are underpinned by an understanding that it is impossible to separate the lightness/weight opposition into a clear dichotomy. On the surface there is an abstraction of lightness inspiring curiosity and wonder while lying beneath are the ‘heavier’ layers of meaning and concepts, resilience and endurance.

Karen Benton’s work engages with psychogeography – extracting from urban streetscapes and encounters while embodying their emotive topologies. Her works can be read metaphorically - alluding to the intangible transitional spaces and blurred boundaries that often challenge at an individual and socio-political level.
Manipulating an eclectic range of materials with fleshy and earthy tones disrupted by accents of colour, Benton’s works are an articulation of the space between dualities and examine the tensions between strength and vulnerability; control and spontaneity; stasis and fluidity; and the abject and pristine.
Her compositions and constructions (often juxtaposing the gestural with minimal forms) bristle with a subtext of psychological unrest and unsettling corporeality. Benton often manipulates the grid – transforming it from a stale sign of modernity into a contemporary emotive vessel associated with notions of connection, containment and control.
Benton’s installation for Lightness of Being consists of works in dialogue with each other that have been constructed from yoga mats and acrylic on cotton, canvas and wood. The yoga mat is a significant symbol for contemporary yoga practice - representing the space in which our minds might experience some relief from the stress-laden, chaotic, and unpredictable nature of daily life. By draping, folding and cutting into the mat, Benton denies the yoga mat its primary role of offering lightness - and instead embodies it with life’s challenges.