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Charmaine Pike

Charmaine Pike

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Charmaine Pike’s landscapes look inwards exploring psychological tension. Through her imagery Charmaine imbues each subject, be it a rock, tree, branch or log with uncanny emotional expression. Charmaine employs personification, that is, the act of giving an object human characteristics. These elements become players with the changing landscapes as their stage.

The feelings given from and amid the objects create a personal connection between the viewer and the work through a common emotional language we all recognize and understand; struggle, pain, loneliness, despair and isolation.

There are tall individual rock structures straining slightly closer together despite the great distance between them. Others stoically enduring rainstorms and floodwaters. Some are precariously balanced on one another. A few have formed groups and we must decipher if they are together for safety or to intimidate? The psychosocial narrative of these groupings restores unfamiliarity to a seemingly familiar landscape and forces the viewer to re-evaluate the scene.

There are groups that are closer together yet each element seems isolated and despondent, in others you see them in a confrontational stance or craning away from each other. The paintings also contain unexpected silliness and humour. As though aware of their strange predicaments they are laughing in the face of adversity and at their fate. ‘Untitled 6’ (see below) illustrates this well. The rocks are in a bemused quandary, which seems absurd as they are separated by a dividing wall in the middle of nowhere. Charmaine uses delicate and intricate mark making with confident bold lines to render these intriguing emotional landscapes.

Charmaine was selected as a finalist in The Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing in 2010 and has been chosen as the recipient of The Enid Ng Artists Residency in Paris 2013. In 2011 she travelled to The Larapinta Trail in Central Australia with a group of artists to paint the magnificent landscape of the West McDonald Ranges. An exhibition of their works travelled to The Moree Plains Regional Gallery and then to The Shoalhaven City Arts Centre.