IN THE STUDIO WITH GENE A’HERN
Painter and sculptor Gene A’Hern (b. 1993), is a graduate of the National Art School and a hugely promising addition to the Sydney art scene. As an accomplished drawer and draftsman A’Hern’s visual language is not a rejection of realism but its sublimation. A’Hern creates abstract assemblages of colour, form and gesture to comment on the internal dialogue and spiritual relationship we have with our surroundings, as seen in his At the Table series.
His latest body of work was created in his quiet studio in the heart of the Blue Mountains, and is an autobiographical illustration of his present meditations and discoveries. His bold abstract works explore the impermanence of time, and reflect the importance of being present in the moment.
In the lead up to Gene A’Hern’s first solo exhibition For Now, opening on Wednesday 27 September 2017 – we asked him a few questions.
Can you tell us about how you got into art?
I don’t remember not painting, even at an early age. I was raised in a creative family where self-expression was encouraged and applauded, however it wasn’t until I reached high school that my interest in art developed into an unrelenting obsession.
What are the core concerns of your practice? What have been the major influences?
As I paint, it is imperative that I am honest throughout the process, whether the outcome is frustrating or pleasing. Learning to accept that I am a growing and learning artist frees me to explore and take risks. My spiritual faith in a creator shapes my motivation and drive to create; the more I see beyond the physical dimension that we live in the more my imagination widens on the canvas.
What exhibitions or artists have left a strong impression on you and your development as an artist?
Many artists have inspired me throughout different seasons of my creative life, but one artist who has left a lasting impression on me is Richard Diabenkorn.
Can you talk us through the conceptual focus of your upcoming exhibition at Piermarq?
I’ve titled the show For Now, and while it is a snapshot of what where my art is at this point in time, the artworks themselves serve as a reminder to me of the impermanence of life and the importance of an internal presence.
Artist Gene A’Hern in the studio
Can you expand upon the process in creating your works?
I start a painting by putting brush to canvas and allowing whatever happens to happen. I describe my process through the concept of automatism – a response that reflects the subconscious; it is not crafted to perfection by the ideas of my consciousness, but rather controlled instinctively. This allows me to be honest.
When creating these works to what degree was the final product pre-planned? Or did they reveal themselves through the process of creation?
I never pre plan a painting. When I’m painting, certain memories and imagery are triggered through the cathartic act of putting paint to canvas. I find that as I paint, I impulsively respond to an internal dialogue and this shapes my creative outpouring on the canvas.
What can we expect to see in your upcoming solo exhibition at Piermarq?
You can expect vibrant, honest and emotive gesture on canvas.
For Now opens on Wednesday 27 September 2017, and runs until Saturday 14 October 2017
More info on Gene A’Hern here