Artist Profile: Mardi Cavana

ANNIE TONKIN CHATS TO ARTIST MARDI CAVANA ABOUT FINDING THE BEAUTY IN EVERYDAY SCENES OF URBAN DECAY AND DEGRADATION.

In a world where we’re often too busy to appreciate the little things, abstract artist Mardi Cavana is able to find magic in the mundane. “I am fascinated by the beauty of imperfections that I see in everyday things – cracked pavements, rusted house numbers and textured walls,” says the artist. “I aim to capture this in my work through colour, texture and layering.”

Working on top of a textured gesso base, Mardi uses a process that involves both adding and subtracting elements from the canvas. Applying layers of paint, Mardi then scrapes them back using any tool on hand – the edge of paint tubes, pencils, sticks. “This is a process I repeat, with each layer of paint telling a part of the overall story,” says Mardi. Working with acrylics for their fast-drying capabilities, the artist applies strong, messy colours to her canvas before layering on a softer palette and finishing off with pastels, pencils, charcoal or graphite as a way to refine and soften each work.

This intuitive process that Mardi employs is borne out of a desire for creative freedom. After working for years in graphic design and now working in a job that is always planned and structured, Mardi uses her abstract painting as a way to rebel. “It’s a very intuitive process with layer upon layer and mistake after mistake,” she says. “But it is this freedom that I love and has proved so therapeutic!”

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