Amy Clarke

Discovery artist for Issue 32, Amy Clarke delves into the methods and madness underlying her enigmatic and highly expressive works.

My earliest connection with the natural world was through childhood play. Growing up in the bush in the 1970s did not involve toys. The only toys I recall were a Tonka truck (which I loved!), some Lego and a neglected Barbie doll. I felt in no way deprived. We filled our days playing in the dirt. My paintings are tapping into those feelings and memories. They are my interpretation of the Australian landscape and my place in it.

Children today exist and connect in a virtual playground. My own childhood in the bush where we made our own fun – no television, no computers and no iPhones – is literally stuff of the Dark Ages for my kids.

It is my belief that the directness of this simple childhood and our daily engagement with nature laid the foundations for me being an artist concerned with the organic part of life. The natural world is where I feel most grounded, connected and content. It is part of who I am. To an extent my painting practice is part ‘play’. It allows me to tap into those memories and ways of making and playing in the Australian landscape.

I am often attracted to the shape of something. I love the forms and patterns found in nature. So much about nature is sculptural and perfect. We have lots of wonderful vines in our forest and they make me want to grab a piece of charcoal or a thick, flat, round brush with some ink to capture their lines.

Recently I have taken to making little ephemeral installations in the forest where I live on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast hinterland. It gets me into the present and a relaxed space. It is a way to get closer to the source of my work. In fact it is exactly how we used to play as kids. As an adult artist this process opens my mind up to see things in a different way. I also take photographs that become stored in my visual memory and often morph into a painting later on.

I tend to work quickly and without a plan. Too much intellectualising usually gets me into an overworked mess. It is about creating a feeling, a memory or a form. The language of colour is a wonderful tool, too.

My current postgraduate studies in Creative Industries are providing me with the opportunity to engage in research into nature-based ephemeral art and its influence on my painting. Through this process I am already discovering new ways of painting and seeing.

My work has been exhibited around the country in solo and group shows, most recently at Depot II Gallery in Sydney, Noosa Regional Gallery, Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery, The Norvill Prize, Lethbridge 10,000 Art Prize and the Redland Art Prize.

To see Amy Clarke’s latest exhibition see here.

EXHIBITION
My Backyard
Walcha Gallery of Art 

11 September – 30 October

Courtesy the artist, www.amyclarke.com.au
Instagram @amyclarkeartist

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