One biscuit-coloured Thursday– weather mild, industry ablaze, mood clumsy–I arrived at Celia’s studio. A meeting of two worlds, in order to weather the storm you need a solid shelter, she said, opening her studio door. I felt my retinas implode. This is where colour lives. It felt urgent that I get out of my life and into Celias immediately; the space between us, who I was with her, and who she was with me formed an edgeless triangle of shimmering space–one I wanted to be fully immersed in. Paintings of edges with pillars as bridges meeting lines with rose flashes and quiet weft surfaces; no walls could enclose them. Colour exists inside of Celia–it’s rooted in her biology. Her blues makes me confess a love to myself instead of others; her red-amber fills me with echoes and her neutrals inspire clarity. As if witnessing a sunrise at midday, beauty speaks its unmistakable language here in Celia’s shelter.
Colour is the best way to speak with no language; a conduit in accessing something non-verbal. Somewhere we can stare, intuit, understand and weather the swelling of our moods in silent sublimity. Celia’s paintings catch these wordless moments, like the union of sky and sea, with a fragility and strength in equal measure. Is this blue where I live to you? she hummed. Celia’s blue is revelatory, calm, funny, sonorous and achingly candid–just like her. She lives in the detail of the hue, neither lost or without purpose, yet wandering and wondering–a type of depth only achieved by moving slowly, looking slowly. Straddling the threshold between self and world, with more questions than answers, Celia’s work feels like a place the imagination can travel freely–in the company of the past but not subservient to it–together with history but free of its claims. Because of this, her paintings act as a meeting place between the unmappable regions of our interior world and the raucous energy forces of the exterior one–turning a light on moments we see disappear, held so vividly in the future.
It’s in Celia’s line where we can truly find her: a wobbly horizon line, fixed upright, touching the sides of a plane unmoored to its asymmetry. I dont think straight. The comedy in life is in a beauty that includes tension and a contradiction that cannot be resolved. Like the weather, it’s not straight. How Celia metabolises the outside world–one that is complex, meaty and nebular–is in the misty meeting of her line in space; her colours on colours; the seasons of light. How she preserves and transports intimate observations about the present into the future with every gesture made; and in turn, as the future becomes painted in the present, the painting becomes a memory, a fossilised portal, into the past. Her paintings croon inaudibly to the subconscious and remind me that we are emotional creatures, and that not everything needs to be explained. They are places we can go alone; shelters to weather storms; energy highways, sharp-tongued with an exacting presence. Like the weather, they’re not easily defined through words; it’s in the feeling, looking and being with them that their intelligence and secrets exist in perpetual intimacy with us, together but apart. Go slowly, look slowly–there is so much to see.
– Exhibition essay by Emma Finneran