Made of Dust

Stir crazy from the coronavirus lockdowns and with a show to paint, fellow artists Ondine Seabrook and Holly Greenwood and I made the thirteen hour car trip from Sydney to Broken Hill. The car was filled to the brim, stocked up with paper, paints and camping gear. There’s something really special about hitting the road, the feeling of exhilaration and freedom. You enter this bizarre inbetween space where flashing scenery and whole towns become transitory. Places to passby instead of destinations in themselves. You look out and are grabbed by images and colours, your pulse stirred by whatever song is playing on the stereo. There are moments where oceans of blue foliage hold themselves in yellow soils and you see the dust turn from gold to red, trusses of sticks leaching into the sky.

Made of Dust is my meditation on the sensations of being in the landscape once we arrived. Camping in creek beds and waking up before dawn to capture the changing light. The colours leached into my eyes, and my hands attempted to spurt out it’s composition. Watching a painting disappear as rain fell from swelling clouds in a place that was supposed to be desert. Forgetting myself on the side of a mountain, all frozen fingers, colours and wind.

Like the road and the transitory towns, the paintings use empty space to allow the flow of the gestural brush marks to breath. A gentle play of oppositions. Monet stated that “Emptiness matters as much as fullness, and reflections have the weight of things.” I hope these paintings communicate a gentle reflection of my time spent on the Wilyakali lands of the Darling Basin and that the still life’s communicate the strange resonance of separation once home.

Bronte Leighton-Dore 2020