Prudence Flint then visited in person, for her Dublin show, from distance, almost as far as you can get in fact, from Ireland that is, before setting-out on a journey back home. So it is “fortunate” for us that the Melbourne-born and based painter, had knowingly or fortuitously laid a groundwork of insightful online interviews , that gave a strong sense of her established practice. Also given said distance (a hilarious German gallerist used to address letters to us, when we lived in Sydney, with deliberate irony, giving the country-designate as “Australien”), hence much of the content of this first text was necessarily gleaned from extant sources that we sort-of expected to necessarily fine tune or revise; based on personal encounter, once the artist arrived in person, but found that there was actually no need. Flint had covered the distance well, in all respects. Curiously, Australia has a common phrase for this particular temporal/spatial worry; “the tyranny of distance”, which accounts for why an artist can have a significant practice and reputation in one continent and be a complete discovery/mystery to most others. That said, there is something in the absence of presence that suits the mood of Flint’s eerie world of soft pastels, flat geometric surfaces, distorted perspectives and bodily bodies…
To compound, and slightly paraphrase a number of questions posed as statements, from collective interviewers to Flint, which establish an irrepressibly singular impression; [why has she, or, how does she feel about…] having spent the past twenty years addressing paintings of a single female in an interior, sometimes groups, and occasionally outside… [?] There’s a simple poetry in the concise, prosaic, colourlessness of this ‘factually flat’ description of Flint’s collective practice that, through a suitable sense of repression, facilitates the magical logic and understated richness, at the heart of her paintings. Their mood is perhaps best described as “other”, but with contiguous, associative, hints of many things; the mood of Australian filmmaker, Paul Cox, slimmer but equally bodily stylizations that nudge, but equally don’t, towards an ‘idea’ of the Colombian painter Fernando Botero, contrarily there are thoughts of the spare angularity of Alex Katz, touches of Dorothea Tanning (but less consciously ‘strange’), Paula Rego (ibid), the late pink clothing heads of Louise Bourgeois (better), the influence of early Renaissance structures, faces, certainly fragmentary moments of the ‘lost’ paintings, of Frederick McCubbin and the Heidelberg school, the haze of mid-Modern interiors, the colour compositions arguably have something of the strict regularity of Mondrian, but on Prozac (soft-jazz mood muzak)… the list is long and none of it in any way accurate, right, as nothing actually looks or feels anything like a “Prudence Flint”, which is simply an extraordinarily rare thing to say. We hear what her voice sounds like.
As is clear, Prudence Flint’s painterly world is populated by women, whom, if they are doing, anything, it is little. Small things. The little they do do is also “ordinary”, of the everyday; sitting, lying, washing, grooming, daydreaming, back to sitting. And all “achieved” with a detached, melancholic air of thoughtful, ponderous (?), slowness. Flint’s scenarios are as meticulously designed as they are beautifully executed; “I’m interested in the curious swing of feelings of abundance to stoic neatness”. It’s shocking when people say things that you have never even thought of thinking. In The Fitting, 2019 (the “unruliness of bodies”, as Flint describes her figurative imagery), two women, in this instance, occupy space; one lying, the other sitting upon a bed, covered in a patterned blanket, into which neither figure apparently sinks, makes dents or any contact with the other – perhaps they are one-and-the-same-person, occupying different parts of the environment, in differing time continuums [?]. They both wear the same delicate pinky purple, matching bra  and knickers. A bottle stoppered with a used candle stub, placed beside a slice of watermelon, both sitting atop a boxy, latticed side table, are the only contents of the room. A diaphanous drape, obscures objects through a window or doorway, in the top left-hand corner. Light comes in. Despite it’s strangeness the scene has both logic and structure; it is neither surreal nor real. In The Yard, 2019, the women, now three of them, gain various additional clothing; green socks, sensible shoes (they are outside after all), the front, seated figure  wears a knee length skirt. All, you think, in addition or as add-ons to the predicated, shared basics, the fundaments of the ‘bra and knicker’ set, evident in The Fitting. The bottle has fallen over. Lost its candle. The watermelon has been joined by an orange. Stylized trees, planted into the ground like the central supporting bases of “Hills Hoists”, forest the yard (they are outside after all).
Prudence Flint has worked within the Australian artworld for three decades, steadily arriving at significant national attention, winning numerous prizes and awards, including one of the world’s most valuable painting prizes, (The Doug Moran Prize 2017). And by joining mother’s tankstation in 2019, is developing the journey to the internationalisation of her career. She is accordingly experiencing the critical acclaim due to an exceptional painter whose elegance of execution and originality of subject matter is arguably un-paralleled. Recent solo exhibitions include: The Call, mother’s tankstation, London (2021); The Wish, Fine Arts, Sydney (2020); The Visit, mother’s tankstation, Dublin (2019), with notable group exhibitions including, ME: An exhibition of Contemporary Self-Portraiture, High Line Nine, New York (2020), Archibald Prize Finalist Exhibition, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2019 and 2018).