Kim Carpenter is presenting an exhibition of his paintings based on the stories of one of the greatest and most prolific writers of all time, Oscar Wilde.

Carpenter’s unique flair for design and storytelling reflects the life and times of Oscar Wilde and Carpenter’s own life and times as one of our most sought after theatre designers. As a designer, theatre practitioner, and creator, Carpenter has collaborated with many of our most illustrious directors, choreographers and performers.

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In the 70s, he studied design in London, then returned to Australia to study at NIDA before joining the Nimrod Theatre, eventually becoming artistic director.

Later, Carpenter established the Theatre Of Image, which was all about visual style and the art of telling a story without words. “This combined different skills such as puppetry, dance and acrobatics. We were working too with the Australian orchestra on new compositions, which made it all very exciting.“

One of the great choreographers Carpenter has collaborated with is Graeme Murphy, director of the Sydney Dance Company. Together they combined their vivid imaginations and creative genius on bringing Oscar Wilde’s moving story, The Happy Prince to life for an Australian audience for the first time.

Exhibit Features The Happy Prince, The Selfish Giant and The Young King

On reading Wilde’s biography, Carpenter became determined to pay tribute to the writer who brought so much to the lives of so many, with his great understanding of the disparity between the rich and the poor in his quest for beauty.

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The three stories presented in this exhibition are, The Happy Prince, The Selfish Giant and The Young King, all of which speak to the eternal child in all of us, as do Carpenter’s paintings.

When describing his passion for design, Carpenter said, “ I don’t see things as they are. I see things a different way. Others may look at the city and see the skyline; I see wobbly buildings and colours and things hidden away in windows.”

This view of the world is very apparent in Carpenter’s painting, ‘Rascally Street,’ with its bright colours, lovers in doorways, strolling gentlemen, beggars, prostitutes and rent boys in the windows. This painting, in particular, is reflective of Wilde’s life. A darker chapter, perhaps, but still one which speaks of beauty.

“Every chapter of Wilde’s biography was titled with one of his stories, so that is what I’ve used to signpost this unique view of his life and times,” said Carpenter. “On each painting, I’ve used a different palette according to the story.” As Wilde said, ‘Be yourself, Everyone else is already taken.’ That is precisely it. We are all painted with a different palette and should be celebrated.”

Wilde: Life And Fantasy
Barry Stern Studio
APRIL 2-16
19 Glenmore Road, Paddington, NSW
TUES – Sat 11- 5.30pm
SUN – 12-5pm.

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