Rhonda Dee approaches the body as a site of transformation. She views it as a continual work in progress; a constantly changing entity in a state of flux. Her art celebrates the in-between stages of morphism and change.
She is concerned to not only depict the outward evidence on the body as we age and move through life, but to look beyond the limits of this outer form at what is underneath.
The artist seeks in particular to explore and map that hidden ‘second nature’, the ineffable and creative life force that makes us. To plot and expose the subcutaneous, internal geographies of body, emotion and psyche and to reflect these inner forces and their relationship with the hybrid identities we intentionally or inadvertently construct for ourselves
Rhonda Dee’s paintings are a metaphor for the complex and powerful process of creative push and pull by which we change and develop the force of our physical, intellectual and emotional potential.
Her emergent beings, some swathed in dappled veils, are incomplete with nascent ears and tails, skeletal hands and tiny feet. Others are visceral flesh and folds with hollows and dark depths and sinewy limbs. Formless, fluid, embryonic specimens are adrift in a vacuum, vulnerable and awaiting emergence like a bug to a butterfly. Other torsos metamorphose as they ooze and stratify in the way of cooling lava flows. A stiletto heel, an unraveling turban and painted fingernails adorn and attire some figures that suggest the more obvious ways in which we develop identity.
Rhonda Dee’s selection of ‘Mylar’, a clear poly-film, on which to paint these works is unconventional but apt. Its tissue-like, translucent veils allow what lies beneath to be put under the microscope. Archivists use the material to encapsulate and conserve historical records yet have them readily visible for display and research and it is used in mapping to disclose the multiple contours and evolution of a site.
Rhonda Dee is Texan born. She studied art in San Antonio and Seattle before moving to Australia ten years ago and continuing post graduate studies at Sydney College of the Arts. Her works are held in the collection of the Brazilian Museum of Culture in Sao Paolo and in Australian and international private collections.
Barbara Dowse | 2010
Barbara Dowse, curator, Artereal Gallery.