Exhibition reviews

Zoe Kirkwood at the Art Gallery of South Australia – Exhibition review

It’s great to see local artists making their mark in SA’s thriving art scene. As an artist and visual arts graduate I know first-hand how difficult it can be to go from just an art student or beginner to an emerging or established artist. It’s competitive, tough, and continuously questioned or challenged as a career by outsiders who do not understand what it’s like to make art, or to live it. We so easily give up our dreams, desires, and artistic passions and pursuits to settle for the everyday and the mundane. But these days, South Australian creatives are pushing the boundaries and proving conversationalists wrong, as they brace the art scene in a way that wasn’t so apparent a while back. 


Zoe Kirkwood is an Adelaide artist who studied at both the University of South Australia and the South Australian School of Art, which evidently shows through her technical skill and natural talent in The Collections Project at The Gallery of South Australia. Through this piece, Kirkwood attemps to challenge materialistic processes by transforming the two dimensional act of painting into a three dimensional life-like sculptural work. As it stands before the viewer, it’s clear that The Collections Project possesses an immersive quality. There are many features and facets of the piece that give it a multi-dimensional and intriguing quality. Is it a sculpture? Is it meant to move? These are questions one ponders when observing Kirkwood’s piece.

It is grounded, yet objects are suspended to create a conflict of material and traditional artistic methods. Kirkwood is inspired by the Gallery’s decorative arts collection, that explores the idea of the ‘contemporary Baroque aesthetic’. The work is intricately crafted, like ornaments put together in a bold and elaborate fashion to convey notions of representation. They comprise vibrant and fluorescent colour in a theatrical and eclectic way, which is obvious through Kirkwood’s implementation of yabbies that are a separate work in themselves, but are combined to heighten the quirkiness that forms the works’ overall aesthetic.




The Collections Project is a collaboration between Guildhouse and The Art Gallery of South Australia that provides artists with the opportunity to create new work with the Gallery of South Australia’s extensive collection. Kirkwood is also the recipient of the 25th Anne and Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship by The University of South Australia for overseas study in the visual arts from 2017.

You can find Kirkwood’s work in Gallery 15 of the Melrose Wing of European Art at the Art Gallery of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide. The Collections Project will run until March 5, 2017. Alternatively, visit The Art Gallery of South Australia for further information.


“Art Gallery Of South Australia :: Collection & Displays :: COLLECTIONS PROJECT”. Artgallery.sa.gov.au. N.p., 2016. Web. 10 Nov. 2016.


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