EMILY IMESON - MEMORIES OF PLACE
“June 2018 my partner and I left home, Lismore NSW, and began a journey throughout Australia. The past 9 months have seen us north through Queensland, across the top end, where it is either wet or dry, no summer or winter, and down along through Western Australia. We have had the pleasure of meeting crocodiles, cassowaries, dingoes, and some very wise and friendly indigenous people living in the remote areas of Cape York and the Kimberly. The list goes on, and the creative inspiration I have experienced has almost been overwhelming. So far I have painted over 200 works to document, celebrate and share the experience of traversing this unique and ancient land.
‘Memories of Place’ travels through the Kimberly in the north, down through into the Pilbara, along the Coral Coast, and down into the deep south. These paintings are ‘en plein air’, which translates to ‘outside’; whilst camping there is little choice. I begin with paper on the ground and paint directly from my surroundings, or sit under a tree and reflect upon memories. Being outside continuously, has allowed my great appreciation for the landscape to deepen, there is so much solace amongst the trees, something transcendental about living under the milky way and seeing it every night. Painting ‘en plein air’ has become the foundation of my creative practice, I spend hours documenting and taking notes in one place. This is when the land begins to reveal itself and I begin to see the landscape; from small seeds on the ground, patterns and colours of trees, to the birds and flowers. For me, birds have become a symbol of place and they create strong images in my memory. For example, I remember so clearly a Spinifex Pigeon sitting on top of a giant rusty-red termite mound in Karijini. Karijini is a national park in the Pilbara, traditional owners; the Banyjima, Kurrama and Innawonga people (evidence of their early occupation dates begin 20,000yrs). This special place is a mass of blood red gorges, red dirt, snappy gums (eucalyptus), and mulla-mulla (purple wild flowers). Not only captivated by the colours of each species, birds represent a healthy land with food and water.
The diversity of landscapes I have experienced has filtered into my mind and left strong memories of each place. The land transforms from exhaustingly hot, sweaty, and dry into refreshing and breezy, then dramatically changes to windy and cold, and wet. The colours of our country reach far beyond typical notions of ‘the desert’ or ‘the bush’, to reveal a astounding spectrum. Through this exhibition I hope to broaden the idea of Australia, whilst living in Northern NSW I had rarely thought about other areas of our country. These works based on landscapes in Western Australian will hopefully carry the ’Memories of Place’ I have experienced. My practice is driven by my admiration and desire to connect with the land, to celebrate, respect and nurture it.”
Emily Imeson March 2019.