Vera Moller

21 August – 8 Sept 2007

Upstairs at the Tim Olsen Gallery

Vera Moeller, has trained in botanical science and theology and these studies inform the paintings and small sculpture in her show, Prototopia. Moeller’s subjects are imaginary species of undersea plant life – mutant outcrops of the coral reef that are close enough to reality to seem plausible. She is attracted by the surreal aspects of these forms and her pictures have echoes of Yves Tanguy’s airy spaces in which blobs of protoplasm mimic both stones and living organisms.

Moeller’s marine still-lifes are painted with the care of natural history illustrations although they are, in a way, no less abstract than Hagerty’s illusory cut-outs and shadows. With Moeller we are able to form a clear idea of what we are looking at but that perception turns out to be pure science fiction. The narrowness of focus and the straight-faced attention to botanical detail are part of the process. This fantasia of the sea-bed is a very long way from Tomescu’s fields of fire. It is the difference between paintings that try to encompass the full spectrum of human experience and those that take a small subsection of nature as their focus. Whether we are looking at the microcosm or the macrocosm, abstraction and figuration, what all paintings have in common is that they seek to alert us to the possibility of other worlds, or at least to other ways of viewing the world.

John McDonald

Extract, Spectrum, The Sydney Morning Herald, September 2007