Recent winner of the 2013 Northern Rivers Portrait Prize, Rene Bolten joins artist Katka Adams to present a poetic glimpse into the domestic.

Katka Adams finds meaning in the mundane and in the daily accoutrements of kitchen and dining room, a sense of place, home and belonging. While renovating her house, she moved everything single thing out, and then returned only those things she considered especially treasured or useful. While many were connected to memories and to the people closest to her, she also appreciated the beauty of simple, apparently ordinary things; a discarded jar, some spoons, an odd tea cup, the weight of a teapot in the hand, a half remembered knick knack – these things both evoke and create a sense of home. So she decided to make an exercise of recording them, one object a day, one day at a time. Then with a stylist’s eye for composition, Adams began to pair otherwise unrelated objects to create personal vignettes; vibrant pastels, notoriously labile, meticulously tamed in further service of her intimate narratives.

For Rene Bolten, there are no such musings. Nostalgia, memory, story, even reflection are all subordinate to the demands of paint. Jostled by it, enticed and seduced, the painter is led by the brush. It is an exercise in trial and error mimicking life itself, uncertainty leading step by tentative step to precarious resolution. There is always a sense of the unfinished to Bolten’s work and at the same time, an indelible sense of rightness. It’s as if the paint itself, infinitely malleable, is used as a metaphor for life. Here in the stillness of this object, he seems to say, is life’s constant motion, described to you through the fluidity of paint.

For Katka object serves as anchor – sense sensation is the reliable launchpad from which imagination can soar and stories reveal themselves. For Rene the object is a portal into its own ultimate immateriality.

One plays, one dreams. One embellishes, one pares right back. And in so doing, both transcend banality.

Nadine Abensur