Irene Wellm’s dreamlike paintings describe a world that is often haunting. As a painter, her work generally embodies an ongoing narrative in which she uses figures in the landscape to explore the notion of displacement and hidden motivations in human relationships. Paintings may depict a situation or memory under which can exist feelings of isolation and dislocation. Her beautifully painted large canvases surround the viewer, allowing them to enter into a world that is surreal and disquieting. The images are luminous, creating dreamscape environments that are loaded with intriguing motifs.
Wellm’s process is an intuitive one. Inspiration comes from notions of Surrealism, mythology and fairytales; these in turn are informed by her studies in Jungian depth psychology. Artistic influences are eclectic, her surfaces rich and deep, seducing us with the alchemy of paint and a mythology that examines aspects of experience common to us all.
In her studio Wellm is currently developing paintings that explore the ‘mirrored self’, a meeting at the cusp of day (consciousness) and night (the unconscious). She reflects upon the personal unconscious through dreams, coincidence, synchronicity, and images that can flash up in half-waking moments. Using family photographs, dream and found images to set the stage, she re-imagines the narrative into a personal allegory through the materiality of paint. This is done through a long-term interest in the concepts of depth psychology (as explored by the psychologist Carl Jung), placing herself as subject whilst externalising motivations and instincts. The picture plane explores and transforms issues, memories and events, in effect becoming a collaboration explored on peripheral shores – a metalanguage.
“I am interested in the contrast of the painted surface, in its layers that reflect light, and the reduction of information from the original image when I transpose it. My hope is that the painting remains alive, perforated in some instances by incompletion, reaching beyond the personal toward the collective stream.”
Irene Wellm resides and works in Melbourne where in 2001 she completed a Master of Fine Art from the Victorian College of the Arts. She has had numerous solo and group shows throughout Melbourne, Sydney, Western Australia and most recently in the U.K. Wellm has been short-listed for the ANZ Visual Arts Fellowship Award, was an Australian finalist for the UBS Art Award, London, and a winner of the Darebin La Trobe Emerging Artist Acquisitive Art Prize. Most recently she was included in the publication “Contemporary Art Studio”, published in Beijing. Collections include ArtBank, the Ballarat Regional Gallery, the City of Darebin Art Collection, La Trobe University, Stockwelll Downs and private collections in Australia, Germany, Switzerland and the U.S.
Irene Wellm is represented by Catherine Asquith Gallery in Melbourne, Australia.
Title: Something Like Us
Medium: oil on linen
Work date: 2009