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Join Jeremy Kibel in his floor talk presentation, Saturday 24th November, 3.30pm

In this new body of work Jeremy Kibel presents a series of conflicts. How do we reconcile the formal figurative works with the artist’s statement that he is not focussed on the conceptual ideas behind the paintings? How do we read the potency of the subject when he says ‘it’s a painting about painting, predominantly about surface and texture’? How can the symbology be fully prosecuted when the bleak images seem to ignore the positive uses of opiates?
Kibel says ‘I like to make things that look like they’ve been smashed’ and it is this statement that provides some navigation through the labyrinth. Seemingly premature, at the early stages before addiction has moderated, the new figuration is unselfconscious and set within mannered frames. Kibel has ‘removed the ideology of perfection’ and confronts the poppy head on: so beautiful, so deadly.
The stark inhabitants of Kibel’s scraped and layered grounds are compelling figures. Drained of colour and cut like a stencil, their elegance is not diminished. The poppy, centred and framed, becomes icon. Worshiped or reviled, weapon or currency, destroyer or saviour, this strange flower pervades our past and our present. It becomes the shape of misery haloed with emptiness.
In Kibel’s paintings the silent poppy remains innocent while man is condemned.

Paul Northam
Managing Curator
La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre