Loreto Mandeville Hall Toorak

Murals, 2021.

Curator: Therese Gilligan
Photos: Hugh Davies

A series of murals for the redesigned junior school entry spaces at Loreto Mandeville Hall Toorak. The hero painting is a remixed iteration of an older piece from my 2016 exhibition ‘Still.’, accompanied by soft floating forms reflecting the thinking/learning process to guide young people through the space.
“McRae’s work is vibrant and plays with solid blocks of colour that form largely organic shapes. Her use of tone is cleverly disguised through her placement of bright alongside subtle colour blocks. There is movement in the work too, her subjects are often immersed in an activity either reading, walking or playing an instrument. Her scene evolve and flow along a space that includes resting figures and moving shapes. The unique architectural features that surround each installation guide the creation of her individual aesthetic.

Carla McRae says, “the characters I draw are almost always female, they are strong, independent and have a story.” This is evident in the mural installation at Rathfarnham. The artist has positioned the primary figure seated at her desk, a young girl contemplating her life. She is surrounded by books and in the process ‘with pen in hand’ of completing a letter or possibly her nightly homework. She is deep in thought, gazing and it’s the flowing shapes and colours that surround her that create a scene of wonder.

This young girl featured in the mural installation represents the living history of Loreto, a contemporary place of learning and curiosity. The mural installation reflects on the past traditions of Loreto too. The inclusion of the books references Mary Ward’s focus on education and the establishment of many schools throughout Europe. Seeing education as a pathway to the independence and mission of women. The inclusion of the young girl at her desk also speaks of Mary 

Ward’s tireless letter writing in pursuit of her calling. The gentle green clover reminds the viewer of Rathfarnham’s important Irish connection.

Carla McRae has created a playful, rhythmic story of a girl surrounded by possibility. The bright, clean palette lifts the spirit of a passer-by and reminds us all of youthful energy and the excitement of what’s to come.”

Therese Gilligan

I respectfully acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation, who are the traditional custodians of the land on which I live and work. Sovereignty was never ceded. I pay my respects to Elders past and present.