Curiously, I don’t think that I’ve seen an exhibition of figure drawings for a few years until today; it was once a prominent feature of art exhibitions. “Swallow Flex and Wither” is a series of figure drawings by Emma Michaelis at Tinning Street Presents. Emma was gallery sitting when I visited so I took the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her drawings. Emma Michaelis is based in Melbourne and a recent graduate of the Australian Academy of Design.
All her drawings in the exhibition are done with coloured pencils. The most obvious thing about this series of drawings is the different colour of each of the drawings. There is a series within this series of self-portraits exploring the different colours; three primary colour heads (the yellow is almost invisible), secondary colour feet and hands, and finally tertiary colour drawings of less significant parts of the body, like the backs of legs.
There are three beautiful, blue female nudes, sitting, standing and lying, drawn on vast sheets of paper. There are no backgrounds in any of Michaelis’ drawings; the place where the drapery or bathtub would has been left blank, keeping the focus on the flesh of the figures.
Two orange “golden” mirror image male nude figures with prominent foot stretched out to the viewer. There are a lot of drawings of feet in this exhibition, lots of small drawings of feet that Emma Michaelis jokingly calls it her “hoof and claw” series. Her drawings are technically very good; the mood of her drawings is calm, almost romantic with the focus slightly softened.
Tinning Street Presents is part of an interesting area of Brunswick. The light industrial area by the closed railway crossing around Tinning Street and Ilham Lane has become a creative hub with street art, artist’s studios and other creative enterprises.