NELL official opening at Walkway Gallery

The Walkway Gallery officially opened the NELL exhibition on March 8, featuring five paintings making their first public debut, and a major installation piece, titled ‘The Wake’.

Nell is an internationally renowned artist, and her installation promises to be an experience wherein viewers can reflect on the themes of mortality, and the emotions that come from the passing of another.

‘The Wake’ depicts creatures inspired by the Haniwa – Japanese tomb ornaments – which are constructed with miscellaneous materials.

Some of the materials in The Wake include feathers, dried flowers, and crocodile skin. (Don’t worry – the skin was ethically sourced from a tannery).

Nell describes the scene as capturing “the spectrum of emotion of joy to sorrow, that you’d expect to see in a wake.”

The five paintings that Nell will be displaying alongside the installation depicts the silhouette of the artist in various states of meditation, with spirals and lines of energy emitting from the body.

Nell’s work is on loan from the Art Gallery of South Australia, which own all of the pieces on display. The Wake was first showcased at the 2016 Adelaide Biennale of Australian Art.

As for the artist, Nell – who has a mononymous name – grew up in Maitland, Victoria, but currently lives in Sydney. 

She has showcased her artwork in Los Angeles, Beijing and Paris, but describes herself as “just as excited” to showcase her work in Bordertown as she would be in Amsterdam. 

The main priority is that people get emotionally connected to and excited by the work.

Nell, and Walkway Gallery Director Naomi Fallon, have created an exciting launch, and spent the last couple of days putting many hours into making the exhibition look as stunning as possible.

Having Nell display her work at Walkway is another coup for the gallery and Ms Fallon, who have already held exhibitions by Del Katheryn Barton, who won the Archibald Prize in 2008 and 2013, and Ben Quilty, who has won the Prudential Eye Award (2014), Archibald Prize (2011) and Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (2009).

Nell herself has won the UQ National Artists' Self-Portrait Prize (2013), and has exhibited collections in Sydney, Hobart, Melbourne and Brisbane.

NELL will be running until June 3, and entry is free.