“Within my portraits I try to display emotions of people caught up in today’s society,” Victorian artist Stacey Rees says. She’s revealed a new body of work at the Modern Times showroom in Melbourne this week, kicking off their exhibition series for 2018.

Titled All Your Gold, the show opened on International Women’s Day – and is a collection of women’s faces, painted portraits exploring self-worth versus self-indulgence, and the era of selfies. At a time when contemporary culture phenomena like selfie sticks, Snap Chat filters, and Kim Kardashian are for the majority of us not at all considered strange, vain, or futile, Stacey asks – do we image ourselves to cement a better exterior at the risk of forgetting all the golden parts within?

The 19 abstract women in Stacey’s collection seem to be caught in solemn or anxious moments – in a piece titled Flamingo, a woman clutches her face, maybe pinning her phone to her ear, gazing downward. In each portrait, Stacey has focused on emotion over likeness, presenting instead the idea of soft, coloured beauty in our psychological self.

“This exhibition comes at a time when women feature in the media more than ever before, when the self is more pronounced and celebrated than ever before. It captures a sort of zeitgeist and shifts our awareness,” Modern Times’ exhibition curator Irina Asriian said. In a world obsessed with portraiture, content and images, Stacey’s portraits of ladies are a reminder of the real, veiled, fleshy, emotional beauty beneath.


All Your Gold runs 8 – 22 March at Modern Times, 311 Smith Street Fitzroy, Melbourne.


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