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22 February - 5 March
22 February – 5 March 2022
Tuesday – Friday 11am to 5pm,
Saturday 11am to 3pm
…a quiet determination and freedom from convention…
The human face demands intimacy and closeness. Faces of the homeless are far away, seen as objects. They have been there so long they’ve become invisible. Now there is an emerging group who live where they can; elderly women who use cars, couch surfing, house sitting or cheap and dangerous boarding houses for shelter. They are the fastest growing group of people in crises and are largely hidden. Many have never imagined they would become homeless, buffeted by their environment and hidden behind structures that limit their choices economically, socially and politically. These women face an uncertain future, having no security, assets or savings. All suffer from a profound loneliness that leaves them intimidated and with a feeling of hopelessness.
However, amongst the women artist Dorothy Lipmann met as a volunteer at Wintringham, a Melbourne not-for-profit organisation that cares for the elderly homeless, there is a quiet determination and freedom from convention reflected in their clothing and bearing. It is this sense of flux, change and turbulence compounded by their diverse circumstances, vulnerability, inequality as well as their resilience that Lipmann chose to explore and depict. Their suffering deserves empathy and compassion.
Lipmann’s paintings are intuitive expressions of people she has known. Rather than paint realistically, she emphasises the psychology of the subject without reverting to caricature. The subject is as much about the situation as the person in it. Close-ups are used to show the genuinely funny, chaotic and extreme behaviours used in order “to belong”.
Combining figurative and abstract elements to create movement and an atmosphere of unease, Lipmann has “put it straight down as dreaming, not narrative”. While it must be convincing, the most interesting thing about a painting is the intangible; a sense of mystery.
Dorothy Lipmann is a Melbourne based painter who has exhibited regularly since 1987. Her work has been acquired by Museum of Modern Art Brisbane, the City of Yarra and private collectors. Many paintings and drawings have been donated to Wintringham, a non-profit organisation in Melbourne. The paintings exhibited in Hidden are oil on linen, painted in 2021.