Painting the wild side in new show for Nikki Morgan Smith
ARTIST Nikky Morgan Smith's studio is in her house that sits in splendid isolation on 20 wild hectares in Eureka
She shares the space with her daughter Morgan, Basil the dog and peaches the cat.
Her new solo exhibition Shaping Water opens at Anthea Polsen Art on the Gold Coast on April 20.
Also opening that night in the same gallery is Lismore artist Brigid Ryan's new show, Embodying Landscape.
In Nikky's paintings wild animals sit in old claw foot baths, staring out at us from the steamy water, often with more water pouring over them from ancient shower heads.
Their eyes are soulful and soft, hinting at their inner state of mind and their apparent need to communicate out to us from the surface of the painting.
"The animals in my work represent facets of humanity," Nikky said.
"I originally started out with deer in the paintings and they were representative of me because at the time I was feeling like a deer in headlights."
The bathroom motif has also been a strong recurring motif in Nikky's work over the last four years.
"I still feel I have a lot to work with this idea," she said.
"The bathroom itself is a private space; it's a space for transforming yourself and undergoing transformation.
"But there is also a kind of darkness there.
"Bad things can also happen in the bathroom, behind that closed door.
"In my later paintings I have moved out of that darkness, the animals are a much lighter and the themes are much lighter.
"The animals can also appear to be melting into the steam, undergoing come kind of transformation.
"A kind of shape shifting."
Nikky's new work also sees the introduction of screen printing to the surface and the incorporation of found objects such as real taps and sink holes.
For Nikky her studio is definitely a place of escape.
"It's where I can focus and show the way I feel," she said.
"Even if I wasn't selling through a commercial gallery I would still paint.
"It's how I work things out and process things.
"Painting is my language."