A Powerful Debut

Originally published in Southbank Local News, written by Rhonda Dredge. Wrestling Before the Gateway is a bold and beautiful show of abstract paintings in the manner of Hilma af Klint whose spiritual approach to work was kept under wraps for 70 years.

The myths of the art world inspire young artists as they work up the courage to follow their own ideas.

The exhibition at Assembly Point is a powerful debut into the Southbank Arts Precinct for a young artist.

Painter Holly Goodridge, 24, has done hundreds of small versions of portals, inner imaginative spaces, and has scaled up the best onto canvas.

She likes the freedom of being able to roll the canvas up rather than stretch it, hanging the pieces instead by colour plastic curtain loops, keeping it casual.

Their scale represents a bold statement for an artist, quite a departure from the many close-up analyses of culture that have dominated the vitrines at Guild.

“I’ve found that 180 centimetres is my wingspan,” Goodridge said. “Otherwise, I have to climb up and down and I run out of energy.”

The portals are joyous, casual, unpretentious and just the kind of backdrop that works for the crowd of budding artists, actors and printmakers who gather here for coffee in Sturt St.

The anime cartoon references are contemporary and clever use is made of small stars that give circles volume.

In the dark corners of the past, however, Goodridge was made to feel inferior about her talents, like many female artists experimenting with their visualisations.

A teacher once told Goodridge in Grade 3 that she’d never have any friends until she was at uni.

There was some truth in what the teacher said but it was mean,
Goodridge said, now confident enough to express her self doubt.

“I had friends, but I didn’t feel like I fitted in. I was the out girl.”

At art school, her talents were recognised, she found like-minded people and is now working in a social media position for RMIT Creative.

Goodridge had to teach herself how to socialise because she was more interested in drawing and suggests that the portals are a means of escaping neurotypicality.

Now she is discovering others like herself, girls who have been living in portals, inner imaginative spaces that provide solace.

Goodridge’s heroine af Klint locked up her paintings until 1986 and they weren’t shown in their full glory until a retrospective in 2013.

Her The Ten Largest were painted in 1907 and shown at the Gallery of New South Wales in 2013.

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