Chain Reaction

Chain Reaction: Kate Downhill Exhibition is a survey exhibition commemorating the 1950s atomic bomb era and recounting the impact on Kate’s personal life. Kate's father, Bernard Downhill, was a seismologist working on the Atomic program in Australia and the experience had a devastating effect on him and his family.

The works range over a 15 year span and includes a blend of Kate's early life experiences in Essex, the imaginings of Australia and the reconceptualization of the tragic events surrounding the H bomb. The works on show range from the figurative to realistic representations juxtaposed against graphic symbols. There are also works of lyrical abstraction with subtle use of chalky palette of paint and wax thickly applied, abraded and re-laid in many layers. Kate also pays homage to the strong culture of quilt making in Australia with new paintings combining texts, textiles and child-like imagery in the manner of patchwork quilts. 

This exhibition coincides with the 60th anniversary of the nuclear tests at Maralinga.

Chain Reaction:Kate Downhill Exhibition is at the Macquarie University Art Gallery until 27 November 2013.

 

Artworks included in the video (in order of appearance)

All stills photographed by Effy Alexakis, Photowrite. 

Kate Downhill, Yellow Sun Mk II (detail), 2013. Acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 76.0 x 61.0 cm. Collection of artist.

Kate Downhill, Burning Bush, 2013. Acrylic on canvas, 76.0 x 122.0 cm. Collection of artist.

Kate Downhill, The Lion and the Lamb, 2012. Acrylic on canvas, 101.5 x 76.0 cm. Collection of artist.

Kate Downhill, Duck And Cover, 2011. Acrylic on canvas, 76.0 x 101.5 cm. Collection of artist.

Kate Downhill, Souvenir (detail), 2013. Acrylic on canvas, 122.0 x 91.5 cm. Collection of artist.

Kate Downhill, What Katie Did, 2013. Acrylic and charcoal on canvas, 101.5 x 101.5 cm. Collection of artist

Kate Downhill, Sins of the Apple Eaters, 1997-98. Acrylic and emulsion on hardboard, 91.0 x 122.5 cm. Collection of artist.

Kate Downhill, On with the Motley (detail), 1997-98. Acrylic on hard board, 91.0 x 122.0 cm. Collection of artist

Kate Downhill, Psychiana, 2011. Acrylic on canvas, 76.0 x 101.5 cm. Collection of artist.

Kate Downhill, Triumph of Bomba Atomica, 2013. Acrylic on canvas, 122.0 x 91.5 cm. Collection of artist.

Kate Downhill, Operation Mosaic, 2013. Acrylic on dress fabric and paper, laid on canvas, 122.0 x 91.5.0. Collection of artist.

Kate Downhill, Operation Buffalo, 2011. Acrylic on dress fabric, laid on canvas, 101.0 x 76.0 cm. Collection of artist.

Kate Downhill, Operation Hurricane, 2013. Acrylic on dress fabric, laid on canvas, 101.0 x 76.0 cm. Collection of artist.

Kate Downhill, Time’s Echo, 2012. Acrylic and ochre on embroidery patterns, laid on canvas, 122.0 x 76.0 cm. Collection of artist.

In this article

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