The Invisible and the Familiar – Art Show Review

My art review on two great shows currently running at the Arthouse Gallery in Rushcutters Bay. An interesting insight into our current state of sensitivities. They appear as the ying and yang of our alliances. It is about the shiny show real of perception versus the comfy home that we wish was a little bit tidier. Technology versus the handmade. Together they make for an interesting focus on where our current preoccupations lie.

Palm Baum. Archival pigment print on cotton rag.

Hyperphantasia by Kat Ballis

This show is a super saturated psycholedic array of lunar type photographic landscapes. As the title suggests, ‘Hyper’ is what it is all about. Large size images of humanless landscapes filled with modernist architecture of iconic Palm Springs fill the walls. But there are no holiday snaps here. Ballis is looking to capture an ‘unseen energy’. With a converted full-spectrum mirrorless camera she she uses infrared filters to ‘colour block’ each scene. The colours are a hark back to the sugary coated 80s Americana. Radiant pink and blue images jump off the wall.  All the plastic and synthetic modelling of Barbie and her camper have poured into these images but it aint no playground. The light is irridescent, the shapes are isolated and the landscape is alien.

Perhaps it is a fall out of a Sydney sider too familiar of a yellow smokey sky, but these super saturated images with there vacant spaces reek of an aftermath. Of what’s left behind after the bad stuff happened. It’s disturbing and garish, beautiful and bizarre in its imaculatless. It feels like the result of an instagram filter gone off the grid and now on constant rotate. 

It is this result that makes it so interesting. It makes you take a second look. You hear that voice in your head saying, ‘so you wanted more of everything, and this is what you get’. The colours are so vibrant, they mess with the rods and cones in your eyes and they make you squint. Like too much sun in your eyes, Hyperphantasia is a success at making us look at ourselves. It pushes you to take off your rose coloured glasses and contemplate the result of ‘too much’. Thanks to Ballis she gives us just enough to make us think twice. 

Sanctuary. Archival pigment print on cotton rag.

Hyperphantasia is showing at The Arthouse Gallery until 29 Feb 2020. 

Great shot from

Kate Ballis is a Melbourne-based fine art photographer based in Melbourne, Australia.

Her work explores the themes of seeing the unseen and she is frequently traveling to destinations that already feel otherworldly, and making them seem even more foreign to the earth we know.


The Artist’s Table by Kiata Mason

In complete contrast to Ballis’s saturation hangs Kiata Mason’s loving rendered works painted from familiar things found lying around the home. They meet you at the door and ask you in for a ‘cuppa’. The new series comes from a space of empathy and acceptance. They are vibrant painterly works filled with collected trinkets. They are about the harmony of life. Just as Matisse furiously worked on creating balance through colour and pattern, Mason wants us to reflect on the unforgetable and take another look. The harmony between one item and another, how it is united by the collection and what tales it tells, is all left for the viewer to unravel. Like curios dug up on a beach, these items are placed before us and left for us to interpret their value. The value of the familiar, of the objects that memoralise our everyday patterns.

Romantic grunge. Acrylic on canvas.

And just like Ballis’s lunar scenes, Mason presents images of the aftermath. We are left to invent the reasons for how these items ended up on a table together. Each with their own histories, these items have come together and are now camping out on the one table. They are changed by each other just being there. We can connect to these items of domesticity with our own memories and experiences. They offer us comfort and familiarity and right now, in a brand new year off to a very rocky start, this is just what the doctor ordered. We want to relive our memories when life was simpler, more predictable and safe. In these new works, Mason gives us a passageway to get there through rich brush strokes and vibrant colour. Heralding those items we take for granted, we are humbled by their simple significance and welcomed to the table of everyday life.

Vogue nectarines. Acrylic on canvas.


Kiata Mason in her studio. Photograph by Maria Stoljar from the Talking with Painters Podcast.


Kiata Mason is a National Art School graduate, holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Painting and Drawing, with Honours and a Master of Fine Arts, Drawing. Her work revolves around collections of objects in the domestic home environment, depicting the compositions created for still-life paintings and highlighting the haphazard nature of a working space.


Both shows on til 29 February at The Arthouse Gallery. Rushcutters Bay, Sydney 

Be sure to say hello to the delightful Gallery Manager, William Mansfield who is a wealth of knowledge and will make you feel more than welcome to view the collection. Extra note: Be sure to sneak around the corner to the end space where there is a collections of sculptures from a variety of artists just waiting to be discovered!






This blog will discuss art shows and art events that I have visited. All comments are purely personal opinion and no words are ever intended to offend in any way. My aim is for readers to get out and ‘Art About’ and build your own dialogue to what you have seen and experienced.
Comments are warmly welcomed… let’s keep the conversation open!

“ARTSHOW REVIEW” is written and produced by Visual Artist and Arts Educator, Kristine Ballard on
Please feel free to contact me should you like me to do any guest blogging or collaborations.
© Kristine Ballard 2020