Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Cool Tat Cat Figures in Rona Green's Prints

As I was recently perusing the vast and ever-wonderful world of printmakers, I recently came upon the hip, cool and quirky work of Australian artist, Rona Green. The initial impression of her work is simplistic, minimal, but something in her work tugs at you. Maybe it is the pose of her anthropomorphized figures, the slouch, or the odd mixture of endearing sweetness seeing a rabbit or cat, but she flips our view of such cuddly creatures and covers them with tattoos. The ‘come hither’ look of the cat with a pistol tat in his belt looking like Michael Hutchence of INXS, or Jim Morrison of the Doors is priceless.
Born and raised in the port city of Geelong, Australia, Rona Green went on to study art at La Trobe University in Bendigo and Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. She completed a Master of Fine Art degree in 2012 at Monash University. She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia.

Her fantastical figurative prints, poppets, paintings and drawings explore ideas about identity. She is interested in the potential of the human body to be a vehicle for story, by means of anthropomorphism and body decoration. She creates hybrid animal/human characters: loners, misfits and social outcasts. They take the forms of cats, dogs, birds, rabbits, etc.
These print portraits leave no sense of place with their simple drawn line, contrasted black and white figures standing out from the subtle-colored spare background. We engage with the figure’s stare and wonder where they have lived and what kind of life they’ve lived.
Green has expressed her fascination with ancient Egyptian art, historical figures, science fiction, B-grade movies, secret societies, tattoos, subcultures and animals. Her tattooed figures show their experiences and interests, and come across as tough, punk-ass rock stars, all with a sort of doe-eyed naivety.
Of note, Green has won several awards: the Geelong Print Prize, Swan Hill Print Acquisitive Award and Silk Cut Award Grand Prize. In addition, her work is represented in over numerous Australian and international public collections, including the National Gallery of Australia.
Green's cool characters reflect today's generation of people who choose to change their appearance, and do a little cross-genetic dressing as well. They aren't confined by any constraints of birth, but choose freely to ornament their bodies in symbols that express their experiences.
This last image is a picture of Green(center) with two artists at a reception. Clearly, they emulate Green's figures..or rather, inspire Green's work.

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