Kyra Henley (b. 1981, Gosford)


The paintings and collages of Kyra Henley are a Cargo Cult of found images washed up onto the idyllic shore of an island that has a dark jungle heart. Her use of images from dead media (old magazines, thrift store coffee table books, miscellaneous defunct encyclopaedia) is at once familiar and strange.


 Her work brings to mind Caspar David Friedrich’s 19th Century targeted ad for mountain climbing ‘Wanderer above the Sea of Fog’. Like the wanderer his mountain, the use of dated media gives the viewer the distance of time. She is lifted up and out of the churning boil of imagery created by social media and allowed to coldly survey the terrifying awe of the psychic-sublime in all its beauty. 


 A young girl receives a possibly problematic tennis lesson in a chic 70’s living room, two old men meet on a wind swept moor to sniff whisky and a lone wind surfer drifts towards an ominous rococo portal while lightning splits the sky. These images are slow-lookers, not the barely registered scroll fodder of your feed. Like a Zen koan they provoke a didactic doubt that has you immediately asking for core samples of the 6/7ths of the iceberg below the water.


 The beauty and deeply skilled realism of her work is comforting, but her subject matter is disquieting. If you stare at a photo of a cake from a 70’s cookbook too long all the ingrained misogyny of the society that made that image begins oozing out between the icing. Her work is shamanic like that. Its beauty coddles you, rubbing your forehead while the strange jolting subject matter pours bitter psycho-actives down your gullet. 


 Both approaches are requisite to coax the viewer into a new and necessary understanding of that which is around them. There are few artists out there who embody the role of visual shaman with quiet aplomb. Kyra Henley is one of them.


Education


Bachelor of Fine Arts, The National Art School, Sydney

2001


Prizes, Commisions & Residencies


Mural commission, collaboration with Steve Latimer, Ella Bache Head Office, Artarmon

2011


Curwoods Lawyers Artist in Residence, Australia Square, Sydney

2010


Off the Wall: Emerging Artists, Exhibition prize at Art Sydney, Moore Park

2007


Waverley Art Prize, Winner of the Oil Painting Prize, Waverley Library, Bondi

2006


Sydney Art Cooperative Studio Prize, The National Art School, Darlinghurst

2001


Murray Sime Award, The National Art School, Darlinghurst

2001

Solo Exhibitions


Recreation II, Lilac City Studio, Surry Hills

2018


If you feel unwell don’t risk staying on the train, Robin Gibson Gallery, Darlinghurst

2018


Recreation, Robin Gibson Gallery, Darlinghurst

2016


Zetland, Robin Gibson Gallery, Darlinghurst

2013


Apartment, Robin Gibson Gallery. Darlinghurst

2011


Curwoods, Australia Square, Sydney - Curwoods Lawyers artist in residence exhibition

2010


Choose your own still life, Brunswick Street Gallery, Fitzroy

2008


Selected Group Exhibitions


Since 2008 Numerous curated group shows at Robin Gibson Gallery, Darlinghurst


Fisher’s Ghost Art Award, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Campbelltown

2019


KAAF art prize, Korean Cultural Centre, Sydney

2018


Mosman art prize, Mosman Art Gallery, Mosman

2017


Portia Geach Memorial Award, S.H. Ervin Gallery, National Trust Centre, Millers Point

2017


LCE3, Lilac City Studio, Surry Hills

2015


Portia Geach Memorial Award, S.H. Ervin Gallery, National Trust Centre, Millers Point

2015


Mosman Art Prize, Mosman Art Gallery, Mosman

2014


Belle Arti Art Prize, Chapman & Bailey Gallery, Abbotsford

Waverley Art Prize, Waverley Woollahra Art School, Bondi

2013


Terrigal en plein air, Gosford Regional Gallery, Gosford

2012


Terrigal en plein air, Gosford Regional Gallery, Gosford

2011


National Trust Harpers Mansion Still Life Exhibition, Harpers Mansion, Berrima

2008


Repetition, Mary Place Gallery, Paddington

2007


The Eutick Memorial Still Life Award, Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, Coffs Harbour

2007


Hazelhurst works on paper prize, Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, Gymea

2006


Portia Geach Memorial Award, S.H. Ervin Gallery, National Trust Centre, Millers Point

2006


Waverley Art Prize, Waverley, Woollahra Art School

2006


Bondi Poor Yorick: A collection of human skulls, Virginia Wilson Art, Darlinghurst Approaching Intimacy: Contemporary Miniatures, Ivan Doherty Gallery, Paddington

2005


Mosman Art Prize, Mosman Art Gallery, Mosman

2005


The Painting Show, Virginia Wilson Art, Darlinghurst Lloyd Rees

2005


Youth Art Award, Lane Cove Council Chambers, Lane Cove

2005