Liminal, 2009

Wilson Street Gallery
NewtownSydney, Australia

I move through the landscape searching for the elements that mirror inner states such as mourning or lightness. I don't know what I'm after until I see it. An ineffable place of being finds it's voice in the instant of seeing, and then the task of painting is to put this across. In this body of work the times of the day when the light is just coming or going became important, and mist - the play of mist over water or through trees, rendering the solid ephemeral.

Through a series of small intuitive steps I found myself painting valleys full of the still wetness of fog during the searing weeks of February when fires raged through Victoria, wiping out thousands of hectares of bushland and farmland, hundreds of homes and claiming over 200 lives. As I write this, the fires at Wilson's Promontory, the source of these images, are still not under control.

Unprecedented temperatures, winds and dryness have set the stage for fires that no-one is prepared for, that cut a swathe through the bush far more destructive than the natural cycle of re-generation. And so these paintings have acquired the strange presence of some Arcadia that no longer exists, of stillness and coolness and safety. The circle, among other things, references a new consciousness of the planet, as more vulnerable than vast.

Sarah Tomasetti, February 2009

Heather Ellyard Essay

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