Victoria Reichelt

Photography by Damian O'Meara

As a painter and scholar, Reichelt has investigated the shifts from analogue to digital and concrete to virtual with floodlit precision. Within her lifetime, the very idea of books falling from the top shelf as actual and symbolic receptacles of knowledge was unimaginable, not so much a heresy but rather as a matter of hardware. However, within the past decade, the 21st century notion of the codex book’s redundancy has lent an oblique social commentary to Reichelt’s exquisitely crafted paintings.

Reading, like painting, is ultimately a private experience, hence the intrigue of Reichelt’s Bibliomania: The Bookshelf Portrait Project (2008), which represented fellow artists via their personal libraries. From stack to spine, dust-jacket to high-gloss magazine, sequential bodies of work have explored the allegorical and formal potential of the book as muse and informant.

Combining technical prowess across paint, digital photography and image manipulation, Reichelt’s 2012 imagery expands the metaphorical and pictorial scale of previous series. Speculating on the once hallowed silence of the public library, now quietened by desertion for digital highways, Reichelt draws attention to transitional spaces both temporal and technological, with a partisan logic. There is no book of judgement, simply revelation.

Victoria Reichelt has exhibited extensively since 2001, attracting a number of awards in the process. She was a recent finalist in the Gold Award at the Rockhampton Art Gallery, the Fletcher Jones Art Prize and in 2013 she won the Sulman Art Prize. Her work has been in exhibitions at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation and at the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane. Her work is included in collections both nationally and internationally, including QAGOMA, Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Rockhampton Art Gallery, Tweed Regional Gallery, Artbank, University of Wollongong and Deakin University.

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