Artist Alexandra Beckinsale creates contemporary paintings of figures caught in anticipative
states. Inspired by the Unley Museum’s photographic collection this exhibition is a peculiar mix of
romanticism and the excessively banal.
SALA Exhibition Dates: 20 July – 7 September
The Unley Museum
80 Edmund Ave, Unley
Ph 8372 5117
Open: Mon to Wed 10am - 4pm
Thurs 10am - 6pm
Sun 2 - 5pm
Closed Public Holidays
Last week on 20 July I visited a SALA Event Opening of Alex Marie Beckinsale’s solo exhibition ‘The Day After the Day’ at the Unley Museum 80 Edmund Ave, Unley.
When I first viewed Beckinsale’s exhibition on opening night at the Unley Museum there was a
throng of people packed into a delightful and intimate galley space.
Beckinsale’s paintings and pencil sketches in this series are based on found photograph’s from the
1940’s to 1970’s from the Museum’s own collection of over 6000 photo’s. At first glance her work
struck me as being intimate and comforting, just like the gallery space.
There were portraits and group images, soft and gentle in appearance, similar in size and style to the
pastel tinted portraits that one would find in a grandparent’s old family photo album or framed in
the family living room.
My first surprise, when I began to study many of the works more closely, was that they were not in
fact pastels but contemporary digital paintings.
Many of the scenes showed individuals waiting at a bus/train stop which at first appeared as a very
familiar everyday scene and yet they puzzled me. Faces had been obscured by haziness and many
layered colours, much like a faded vintage photo. I began to ask myself a stream of questions:
‘Who are these people? Where are they from? What are their relationship/s to one another?
Why are they waiting? Where are they going? Who are they going to visit?...’
When I enquired further about this series of works, Beckinsale readily admits that she’s:
‘always been interested in detective/crime stories, so the mystery that’s present within found
photos really interests me‘.
Even though an individual’s story may have been lost she is happy that those people in the found
images are still being remembered and thought about.
I asked Beckinsale when she had first started to be interested in portraiture and figurative
work. She said that she has been pursuing drawing for many years and as far back as Grade 5.
When asked, she said that there is something ‘intrinsically captivating about trying to represent a
person’ such as to show their character, their life, and who they are in a single image.
Beckinsale said that her key influences at present are artists Kaye Donachie, Johan Barrios, Luc
Tuymans, Lars Elling, and Adam Tan.
I really enjoyed Beckinsale's exhibition, so much so that I now have a red dot next to one of the
works. I can’t wait to bring ‘Percy’ to his new-found home.
Beckinsale is a 2016 Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) graduate from Adelaide Central School of Art
and this is her second solo exhibition. Beckinsale has won Awards and been selected in a number of
juried group exhibitions in South Australia.
Written by Judith Klavins