Colour of Puddles

Boni Cairncross, James Lieutenant, Kate Vassallo

2 February 2022 - 20 February 2022

Free Admission

Colour Archive (Oaxaca) Hero Image

Colour Archive (Oaxaca), Boni Cairncross

Colour of Puddles brings together three contemporary artists – Boni Cairncross, James Lieutenant and Kate Vassallo – to stage a conversation about colour and abstraction. Spanning a range of approaches, including drawing, painting, printmaking and textiles, Colour of Puddles explores diverse intersections of colour, process, and materiality. In Kate Vassallo’s drawings and prints, composition and colour are created through an interaction of systems and chance operations. The intensity and intersections of colour are built up through a multitude of lines that radiate out from various points in the work. Art historical approaches to painting form the basis of James Lieutenant’s experimentation, choices and ordering of colour. In this sense, colour is bound up with the process of application in both his paintings and multi-layered screen-prints. Boni Cairncross explores colour through the lens of textile dye knowledge and techniques. She works with natural colours derived from organic sources and synthetic colours to apply to cloth through processes such as printing, staining and stitching. Colour of Puddles presents an interdisciplinary discussion about colour and the complex histories of colour that inform these approaches. And yet, as Roland Barthes once wrote, colour is also a type of bliss. The immersive qualities of watching the shifting colours of a puddle can be viewed as a metaphor for the beauty and wonder in witnessing colours emerge and shift throughout the process of art making. The act of applying and layering colour, whether through line, paint or thread, are reminders of the simple mesmerising qualities of colour. As an exhibition, this series of works asks how we see, feel and talk about colour.


Boni Cairncross is a visual artist and academic currently based on Dhawaral Country (Wollongong, NSW). Her art practice is an exploration of time: slow stitching, durational performance, and time-based processes that reveal the trace of the artist’s body. Underpinning this is an interest in the multisensory frameworks that shape the cultural and political understandings of materials and the ways in which we encounter them. Boni was awarded a PhD in Creative Practice (Performance Studies) from the University of New South Wales and a Bachelor of Creative Arts (Visual Arts) with first class honours from the University of Wollongong. She has presented exhibitions and performances throughout Australia including at SNO Contemporary Art Projects, Underbelly Arts Festival, Ideas Platform – Artspace, Bus Projects and Margaret Lawrence Gallery. Boni is currently a remote artist-in-residence with Arquetopia Foundation, Mexico and lecturer in visual arts at the University of Wollongong.

James Lieutenant is an Australian visual artist, currently based on Ngunnawal and Ngambri Country in Canberra. His art practice considers the history of painting, finding ways to utilize historic painting techniques in his own contemporary art practice. His work often focuses on chance-based, gritty and abject textures, linking this to trauma in his own personal history and that of the world around him. James Lieutenant graduated from the Australian National University School of Art in 2010, with a major in Painting, a minor in Screen Printing and Honours in Photomedia. His artworks are held in numerous public and private collections across Australia, including Artbank and Goulburn Regional Gallery. His work has been written about in Art Collector, Art Monthly Australasia and The Art Life. James Lieutenant is represented by Jennings Kerr Gallery.

Kate Vassallo is a visual artist based on Ngunnawal and Ngambri Country. Born and raised in Canberra, it has influenced her, from the bureaucratic systems of government to the design of the modern planned city. Vassallo’s art focuses on devising materially based systems and rules to create methodical and laborious abstraction. Since graduating from the Australian National University School of Art in 2010 with First Class Honours and a University Medal, Vassallo has gone on to exhibit widely throughout Australia. She has been a finalist in numerous art prizes, recently including the Ravenswood Art Prize, Adelaide Perry Prize for Drawing, and Hazelhurst Art on Paper Award. Her artworks are held by Artbank, Goulburn Regional Gallery and private collections throughout Australia.

Exhibition gallery

Woollahra Gallery at Redleaf acknowledges that we are on the land of the Gadigal and Birrabirragal people, the traditional custodians of the land. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.

Woollahra Gallery at Redleaf is proudly owned and operated by Woollahra Municipal Council