Antonia Mrljak

ground

26 October — 7 November 2020

Lives and works in Sydney

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Represented by nanda\hobbs

The art of Antonia Mrljak provides a bridge between the memories that form us and the intuitive impulses that form our present. Ground is the artists’ first exhibition at Nanda\Hobbs—it is an intoxicating ode of love to her family in line and colour. Her Sicilian heritage is the foundation stone of her oeuvre—the soul of her artmaking.  Indeed, her conversation will often drift to a childhood in a community rich in its ability to create a shared experience of abundance—conjured from little.

Mrljak’s paintings, both vast and intimate, intend to bind and bring us together. The canvas has become an antidote to the words and actions of a world that is set on dividing and troubling us.  The artist has a deft touch for the most difficult of art languages—an intuitive abstraction of line and form. There is emotion at every turn and, although non-representational in nature, the spirit and soul of the work is clear and loudly echoes her humanist intentions. Harmony and beauty ebb from the picture plane where her dynamic drawn line provides unification throughout. The artists’ touch and ability to weight the power of the graphic mark is impressive. From a practice point of view, this is the intersection of drawing and painting—the distinction is ambiguous. Every line and tone becomes a syllable, a word, a sentence, for the viewer to absorb her narrative.

It was the great Australian artist, John Olsen who delved into the Mediterranean verve for life and community. He introduced Australians—in artistic terms—to something other than overcooked lamb and boiled-to-death vegetables. From his early experiences in Majorca, family rituals and feasts are celebrated, abstracted, so as not to be illustrative. He, like Mrljak, frees us from the constraints of realism. Visual truth is what we, the audience, want to bring to the experience of looking and feeling the work. 

As with Olsen, there are derivative marks—a hint of a fish or eel caught whilst collecting nettles on the banks of the Georges River. The colour of a golden egg yolk as it sits atop the flour, soon to be turned to pasta with the alchemist’s touch.  We feel the spoken language of the old country ten thousand miles away from the artist’s youth, in the suburban streets of Sydney’s south west. Words and stories provide comfort—a sense of place and belonging in a strange land that is now their home.

For the audience, there is a requirement to delve into the paintings of Ground, to understand the artist and her concerns—her loves and her vision. The rewards for our deeper engagement are undoubtably profound.

Ralph Hobbs
October 2020

The exhibition is on show until Saturday 7 November.

\ Exhibition featured works

Antonia Mrljak

1973

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 155.5 x 124cm framed

Antonia Mrljak

Forms are now shadows IV

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 40 x 30cm

Antonia Mrljak

Forno I

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 136 x 117cm framed

SOLD

Antonia Mrljak

Forno II

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 126 x 117cm framed

SOLD

Antonia Mrljak

Girl with fig

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 183 x 152 cm

Antonia Mrljak

Ground I

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 200 x 260cm

SOLD

Antonia Mrljak

I have come home I

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 183 x 152cm

Antonia Mrljak

I have come home II

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 183 x 152 cm

Antonia Mrljak

It Fills up your body I & II

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 115 x 128cm each work

SOLD

Antonia Mrljak

No rules

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 152 x 122cm

SOLD

Antonia Mrljak

The clouds moved so quickly it left the sky blue

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 146 x 146

SOLD

Antonia Mrljak

The dream of november

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 112 x 112 cm (framed)

SOLD

Antonia Mrljak

Wild Vine and Velvet Grapes

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 229 x 123cm

Antonia Mrljak

a garden of rust and desire

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 157 x 158cm

Antonia Mrljak

and you know

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 102 x 76cm

Antonia Mrljak

form are now shadows IX

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 40 x 30cm

SOLD

Antonia Mrljak

forms are now shadows

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 61 x 41cm

Antonia Mrljak

forms are now shadows I

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 40 x 30cm

Antonia Mrljak

forms are now shadows II

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 40 x 30cm

Antonia Mrljak

forms are now shadows III

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 40 x 30cm

Antonia Mrljak

forms are now shadows V

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 40 x 30cm

Antonia Mrljak

forms are now shadows VI

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 40 x 30cm

SOLD

Antonia Mrljak

forms are now shadows VII

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 40 x 30cm

Antonia Mrljak

forms are now shadows VIII

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 40 x 30cm

Antonia Mrljak

forms are now shadows X

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 40 x 30cm

SOLD

Antonia Mrljak

forms are now shadows XI

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 30 x 26cm

Antonia Mrljak

georges river

2020 \ Oil and ink on rag paper \ 71 x 58cm framed

SOLD

Antonia Mrljak

hue of a full moon

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 40 x 30cm

SOLD

Antonia Mrljak

on the table in the middle of summer

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 147.5 x 117cm

SOLD

Antonia Mrljak

passata

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 40 x 30cm

Antonia Mrljak

places of memory I

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 102 x 76cm

SOLD

Antonia Mrljak

places of memory II

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 102 x 76 cm

SOLD

Antonia Mrljak

places of memory III

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 81 x107 cm

SOLD

Antonia Mrljak

rest of you

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 55 x 67 cm (framed)

SOLD

Antonia Mrljak

ritual

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 183 x 152cm

Antonia Mrljak

the clouds moved so quickly it left the sky blue (study)

2020 \ Oil and charcoal on rag paper with oak frame and museum glass \ 78 x 63cm framed

SOLD

Antonia Mrljak

the river urged him to find himself

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 183 x 152cm

Antonia Mrljak

the sun gave it that beautiful colour

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 146 x 146

Antonia Mrljak

to that wilderness we both know

2020 \ Oil on linen \ 46 x 61cm

Antonia Mrljak

white is of all things that cover

2020 \ Oil and charcoal on rag paper with oak frame and museum glass \ 121 x 91cm framed

\ Other exhibitions

Blak Douglas

Corroboration Nation

26 November — 12 December 2020

Renata Pari-Lewis

Intimate

24 November — 5 December 2020

Tom Adair

Weekender

18 November — 21 November 2020

Contact Us

to find out more about ground.

12 - 14 Meagher Street Chippendale, NSW 2008
Opening Hours
We are currently open online and by appointment only Please contact us to arrange a viewing.