Once upon a time, nestled among a forest of buildings in the far-off land of Hobart, there lived a girl with magical powers.
Laura McMahon’s brush strokes and pen lines could bring pages and walls to life, invigorating them with fantastical characters – who will take over Townsville’s Umbrella Studio contemporary arts this January.
“I make new work for each show I have, so none of this has been shown anywhere. The body of work is quite playful, but is a continuation of an ongoing and ever-developing narrative running throughout all my drawings,” Laura said.
“I had a little solo exhibition in the North of Tasmania a few years ago but this will be my first ‘grown up’ large scale solo. Beyond Tassie, I’ve exhibited sporadically in group shows in Melbourne, and have posted drawings to live in houses in other parts of the world. Still emerging, always emerging!”
Laura’s artwork is not limited to the canvas: her alter ego, Brain Foetus, is a renowned Tasmanian paste-up street artist.
“Working on pieces for the street is freeing because the work is ephemeral; there’s no pressure. However, I am finding galleries an opportunity to create a whole world. They’re a lot more challenging because there’s a lot of problem-solving and forward planning which is hard for me – so it’s cool to improve slowly.
“Some [of my street art] may even wander further than the gallery, who knows!”
Laura’s exhibition will fill the main gallery space, with Rob Donaldson’s Unutterable tucked inside the Vault and Vince Bray’s Route A6 showcasing the landscape between Townsville and Mount Isa on the walls of Umbrella’s Access space.
Laura said this exhibition provided the opportunity for her to explore emotions, and introduce more colour into her pieces.
“A lot of my work deals with the relationship between lighter and darker elements of feeling lots of feelings, and searching for belonging. This is the most colourful body of work I’ve made – a lot of it is really painterly. It’s been a joy to make the work for this show, and I’m really excited to visit.”
Catch Laura McMahon’s Child’s Play exhibition at Umbrella Studio contemporary arts from 19 January – 25 February.