Critics' Reviews

There is no doubt that these paintings can command a very remarkable response from an onlooker. Sublimation or not, here are some very sensitive soft-toned abstracts.

Catriona McTurk - Arts Review

The canvases are attempts at visual experiences comparable to Blake's grain of sand or Margarey Kemp's hazel-nut. 

The danger of yearning for totalities in paint is either 'mystical' vacuousness or grandiloquence.

Gill avoids both. 

Surprisingly, the introductory signals from her-work are of a warm sensuosity - but, as Berger points out, only our previously established prejudices could lead us to mistake this for decorative ornamentation.

Peter Fuller - Arts Review

The immediacy of painting, however, is deceptive - it can hide the absence of any truly found meaning. 

Most paintings are empty. Their emptiness hidden by the immediacy of the thing depicted - as in various forms of naturalism: or by the immediacy of the means of painting - as in most non-figurative art.

These paintings are not formalist: they are not paintings about painting. 

They are paintings about forces of energy; sometimes these forces are in balance with one another; sometimes in unbalance.

Sometimes they define states of being, sometimes states of becoming.

The sight offered is a revelation, not a sensation.

A revelation of the unity between light and what light reveals, because light is energy.

They are paintings painted around the point of contact between events and our consciousness of them.

If one strips the domestic association away from the word when applied to painting one might say that they are profoundly intimate.

And such intimacy, as A. N. White often explained, means a closeness to those patterns of formation which guarantee any event's endurance.

John Berger - Slade Gallery

Sitting in front of her model or motif, Gill does not begin by drawing an outline or blocking in shifts of tone.

A multitude of brush marks are scattered across her canvas in multifarious hues and saturations of red, yellow and blue.

Rather than detaching a head from space, these colour notations register undulations in the facial planes and surrounding objects, the fall of shadow on one side of the nasal bone and the way light becomes caught in the pool of the eye within a particular ambience.

Instead of delineating fauna and flora, the burning ochres and flaming cadmiums of the Australian desert are captured as if wrapped in an all-enveloping sky.

Suddenly a portrait of the olgas may appear to loom out of her canvas as if made of light and in as many dimensions as a hologram.

Yet unlike a photograph, these images do not simply convey the way light hits the retina.

Unlike Cezanne, she introduces allegory and symbols to indicate the play between the conscious and unconscious minds.

In so doing, her painting successfully reveals how the brain never acts as a passive receiver of light as it registers on the retina, but as an active codifier of perceptive and reflective signals from which it abstracts meaning.

Dr. Fay Brauer - Senior International Lecturer, Sydney University

My first reaction to this stunning group of paintings [Kraken Series] was that the artist lay fair and square in the tradition of Cezanne, Picasso and Matisse. 

Not for her the later modish transatlantic and central European isms: Lorraine Gill belonged (it seemed to me) to that mainstream of Western European and, in particular, French painting whose subtle blend of the revolutionary and the evolutionary had very largely informed my own view of what modern art was about.

But, when I made my second circuit of the show, I was struck by another impression, one not at all at variance with the first, but enhancing and deepening it.

I was reminded of the sixteenth century battle between Florentine and Venetian perceptions of what makes a great artist and, in particular, of Michelangelo's comments (as quoted by Vasari) on Titian:
"his colouring and his manner much pleased him, but... it was a pity that in Venice men did not learn to draw well from the beginning" (trans. Gaston de Vere).

And I found it enthralling to discover that this is a dichotomy which Gill has most admirably resolved: her "colouring and manner" are indeed pleasing to anyone with eyes to see, but equally there can be no doubt as to the quality of the drawing which constitutes the very heart of her painterly skill.

Finally, there is also something Italianate about this artist's palette, her acid greens, warm pinks and sky-reflecting blues reminding me inescapably of Pontormo and his master, Andrea del Sarto.

As I remarked earlier, this second impression is not at odds with the first, but rather enhances and deepens it.

What we have here, then, is in my view a painter whose inspiration is consciously or unconsciously Mediterranean in character: her technique based on classic Renaissance principles, her application of colour enlivened by the great masters of sixteenth century Northern Italy, and her idiom derived from (but in no sense a mere copy of) of those great artists who, in the twentieth century and earlier, were fired by the ambiance of the French Mediterranean.

It is a winning combination.

Sir Brian Tovey - Visiting Research Fellow at the British Institute of Florence.

One of the remarkable qualities of Lorraine's art is that in exhibitions it speaks to people of all ages, cultures, educational levels and race.

I have seen 5 year old children and physical laborers "work out" the grammar of her paintings and make comments upon them that are more insightful than those made by other artists or art critics.

The true grammar of art is obviously one that the human brain naturally appreciates at a deep cognitive level.

Lorraine's art uses and speaks that visual syntax.

Tony Buzan - Author