‘Hue To Hold' – Solo Exhibition of New Works by Llewellyn Skye

Metro Gallery – May 4 - 22, 2021

Llewellyn Skye’s new body of work, Hue to Hold, represents the artist’s process-focused efforts to capture the joy-inspiring, life-affirming essence of her source material - the rich, bold florals abstracted in her oil paintings. Whereas Skye’s previous works celebrated the fervent ardor of young love, whether blissful or forlorn, this series turns inward in contemplation—however it is equally curious and confident, steadfast in the face of uncertainty and darkness, never ceasing to wonder at the light.

Skye trusts her intuitive and at times playful practice, following her instincts in order to realise the key components of each piece—form, colour, movement and balance. For Hue to Hold, an experimental as opposed to a symbolist impulse prevails. The results often tap into something of an elemental calm—in greens, blues, and yellows. Elsewhere, subtle shades of pink and violet converse with contrasting darkness and light, hinting at the potential for tranquility and hope in the midst of conflict. Equally powerful are striking companion pieces whose dream-like play of similarities and differences call to mind a willingness to embrace a multiplicity of perspectives.

Capturing the colourful memories that shaped her creative existence, as the world around her began falling away—with playful references to family, the discovery of being an enneagram number 9 and her newly found obsession with John Lennon. The exhibition title draws from Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” whose lament at the loss of life’s fleeting moments of perfect beauty is, for Skye a clarion call to take hold of the myriad other hues to which we look for sustenance of spirit in the face of uncertainty.

Artist Statement | How do you not reference the state of the world right now, when all you’re doing is trying to work your way through it. Hue To Hold is a testimony to the cherished and intimate moments and sordid events, or lack of, that eventuated while creating this body of work — as the world turned upside down.

Suddenly I became a home schooling, wine guzzling, self reflecting mess. Overcome by confusion and clarity all at once — enraged but smiling, focusing on the fun, shiny side of our daily life for both mine and my family’s sanity.

Celebrating the little things, like - Fancy Slippers - because like the rest of the world, we were pretty much living in pyjamas for months. Paper Cake - the glorious paper creation that was delivered to my doorstep for my birthday, because visitors weren’t allowed. The blurred lines between coffee time and wine time, school work and no work at all. During these awkward months I was involved in an online workshop, which led me to discover the joy of both statement earrings and the enneagram. Learning of my ‘9-wing-8’ personality type was enlightening, shocking and mind blowing. The sweetheart of the enneagram, totally filled with rage. This made total sense to me.

My mother, who was my best friend and biggest supporter, loved the Beatles. When I played music to her, she wouldn’t explain it, but would just say that it hurt too much. I never understood why. Since she passed, I have listened to the Beatles incessantly. Although I knew she loved John Lennon as a solo artist, I never gave it much thought. It was during this pandemic, while creating Hue To Hold, that I started listening to him.

No words can describe how much of an impact this has had on me. Listening to John Lennon's music through my headphones as I work away, zoned out from the world around me, hearing every beat, every lyric, over and over, like putting my work apron on every day. Moved deeply and emotionally, his music has given me an insight into his incredible mind and a far deeper connection to my mother. I now understand why she was so hurt. I want to cry and start a revolution every single day.

Hue To Hold is a homage to the quirky existence of a creative mother, trying to make sense of a broken world, desperately holding onto moments of gold.

- Llewellyn Skye



Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

-  Robert Frost