Eve's Broken Arm
Tristian Koenig is delighted to announced the opening of Eve’s Broken Arm - Seth Birchall’s fourth solo project with the gallery, following on from his recent individual presentation at CODE Art Fair, Copenhagen, in September 2018. Eve’s Broken Arm sees Birchall’s paintings continue to loosely chronicle the comings and goings of his nom de plume and alter ego, ‘Gilman’ (now unnamed). The exhibition is a compendium of affections present across Birchall’s work, reflecting references to the Misty Moderns, William Blake, Charles E. Birchfield and ‘Visionary Art’, Ukiyo-e and late 19th French painting.
The title of Seth Birchall’s solo exhibition, Eve’s Broken Arm, is derived from the somewhat benign observation that Birchall made when arriving in Bega, New South Wales, where he has most recently been based. His niece, Eve, had broken her arm. In keeping with his somewhat stilted ’Dad humour’, the serendipitous observation and aptly titling of the exhibition conveys some of the contradictions and eccentricities found in Birchall’s paintings. The Garden of Eden, utopic narratives, mythic and mystic subject matter and content - Birchall’s works are all these things, whilst being deadpan, quotidian and everyday - somewhat ‘broken’, used, or second-hand even.
Eve’s Broken Arm is comprised in the majority by small paintings, reflecting the artist’s itinerant studio and family moves between Bali, Indoensia, and Byron Bay, Bega and Sydney, New South Wales, in the past year. The exhibition does however include two significant large iterations within Birchall’s practice. The first is Garlic Growers of the South - a panoramic diptych mis-en-scene, which reflects Birchall’s past working experience in painting theatrical and operatic backdrops. The second is the painting They Were Planting in the Full Moon - the first work to include the figure in recent years.
Seth Birchall’s paintings are conceived and executed as though they were abstractions. His compositional forms and palette, which are at once bold and incredibly subtle in their minute modulations of colour and hue, combine furtive brushwork, which moves between pen-like applications and painterly gestures. Birchall’s distinctive use of overly cliqued compositional tropes and symbols - trees in the foreground on the edge of the picture plane, sunsets, and light reflected on water parade as parody, belying a deeper sincerity and engagement with the art of the past.
Seth Birchall was born in New Jersey, United States, in 1979, and arrived in Australia in 1985. He lives and works between Bega, Byron Bay and Sydney, Australia, and Bali, Indonesia. Birchall received his Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) from The National Art School, Sydney (2003) and a Master of Arts (Fine Art) from the College of Fine Arts, University of Sydney, Sydney (2011). Recent exhibitions includes Master of Three Worlds, COMA Gallery, Sydney (2017); New Swamp Paintings, Tristian Koenig, Melbourne (2017); The Bloviate Suite, Chalk Horse, Sydney, (2016); The Intergalactic Image Factory, Liverpool Street Gallery, Sydney (2014) and Fresh Cuts, Edwina Colette, Brisbane (2013). Birchall’s work is represented in the Joyce Nissan Collection, Melbourne; Macquarie Bank; Proclaim Collection, Melbourne; St. Vincents Hospital, Sydney and Art Incubator, Sydney, as well as private collection in Australasia, North America and Scandinavia.