‘Your art will not be forgotten’: Art exhibition to honour Colleen Shaliapin

Lorraine Maggs at the Colleen Shaliapin's Memorial Retrospective at Club Marconi. Picture: Chris Lane
Lorraine Maggs at the Colleen Shaliapin's Memorial Retrospective at Club Marconi. Picture: Chris Lane

“To me, painting is a form of escapism. I lose myself in a landscape or still life and become totally absorbed in the process.”

The late-Colleen Shaliapin wrote this for an art exhibition in 2009.

Literally, wrote. She had no computer. She just had a kitchen stove she used as a bench to work on her art.

The Mount Pritchard resident didn’t like any accolades. She didn’t like a lot of fuss being made. She would much rather explore the effects of light on objects and the natural environment with her high-key, poetic colour compositions.

So truth be told Colleen probably wouldn’t be a big fan of the exhibition to honour her art pieces that opens at the mezzanine level at Club Marconi on Friday.

“I can hear Colleen objecting in my ear right now to this high accolade of her art,” Fairfield Art Society vice president Lorraine Maggs said.

“Fairfield Art Society and the Shaliapin family are working towards the greater recognition of Colleen's work. She should not be forgotten; it is important to bring her work back into the light.”

The Colleen Shaliapin's Memorial Retrospective features 30 of her artworks  which sit strongly in the tradition of late 19th century modern art and concludes with the modernist movements of the 1970s.

Colleen’s work was recognised with numerous awards spanning three decades in Fairfield and Liverpool.

Some her works on display include paintings titled First Light and Dry River Bed. She died last August at the age of 84.

Maggs, a long-time friend of Colleen, said she had a natural instinct to seek out the beauty of the landscape.

“Its rocks, its grasses, mountains, sea, sky and clouds and use her luminous high key palette and her soft mix of tonal variations to define form, structure and colour,” she said.

The Colleen Shaliapin's Memorial Retrospective will run every day during club hours from February 16 to May 13. School groups are encouraged to see the exhibition.