GROWING up on the land in the Riverina, Nigel Killalea had an early affinity with the natural world.
Raised on his family's fourth-generation mixed farm at Mangoplah, Killalea was surrounded by vibrant landscapes, each offering its own story of times gone by.
"I had the ability to see the land and interpret the land and read the stories in the land that were hidden or untold, whether indigenous or European," he said.
Now an award-winning landscape artist based in Albury, Killalea's paintings and drawings retrace his own journey, exploring habitation and abandonment within the landscape.
"There's so many abandoned places within landscapes; for example an old chimney may be all that's left of a building," he said.
"People are living and vanishing within landscapes all of the time."
Having recently opened his new solo exhibition Close to Home at Circa 1928 Art Hotel Albury, Killalea said he relished working on location when possible.
"I work in acrylics so the paintings dry really quickly; the paint dries on your brush before you get it to the painting!" Killalea said.
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Killalea attended Canberra School of Art before he headed south to study further. In Melbourne he went to the Phillip Institute of Technology before he did his post graduate degree in fine arts at the Victorian College of the Arts. He was a scenic painter for The Australian Ballet and Opera Australia as well as GTV-9.
Killalea has exhibited widely including at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, New England Regional Art Museum, Orange Regional Gallery and Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery.
He has contributed to more than 20 group exhibitions over two decades.
"I've always been based in the regions and I always exhibit in the regions," Killalea said.
Killalea has been a finalist in the NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize 2013, Jacaranda Aquisitive Drawing awards 2012 and Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery National Still Life Painting Award and was Artist in Residence at Hill End in NSW and Laughing Waters in Victoria.
Close to Home runs at Circa 1928 Art Hotel Albury, 588 Dean Street, Monday to Saturday, 1pm to 6pm, until February 11.
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