Kate Bender – bloom

X Gallery
32 Gibraltar Street, Bungendore
Until 31 January 2022

Kate Bender’s sumptuous roses fill the X Gallery space with their intense colour, their voluptuous shapes and their billowing fabric-like textures. This is an exhibition to delight flower lovers but also one that demonstrates the power of this artist to evoke not just the velvety, satiny touch of material but our own life memories.

Kate Bender talks about bloom

Most of us will have strong emotional associations with flowers and the occasions when they have been given or received, times we picked them from our gardens or walked among them in a place of natural or cultivated beauty. All of this comes to the surface in these works. Kate Bender has proved herself to be a colourist extraordinaire as she delicately creates these complex blooms from layers and layers of paint.

For the most part, these roses are not florist perfect buds. There are mature blooms with their lives written on their petals and on the fall of their shape. They’ve lived expansively and settled into the mature comfort of fullness and droop.

Who needs to read metaphors into these sumptuous, luminous works? But I am nevertheless tempted to do so, seeing in them a mirror of human life, the ageing process, the beauty of a face with lines and a body that has held secrets and sorrows, joys and pains in equal measure. These are blooms happy to be right up close and open to scrutiny in their glamorous, even flawed, nakedness.

Do I love this exhibition? Oh yes.

It’s come at a perfect time, delayed by COVID closures but now in bloom during the end of Spring and throughout the heat of summer when real world roses also thrive. All work is for sale, but best be quick I suspect.