“… with the exception of love, there is perhaps nothing else by which good people of all kinds are more united than by their pleasure in a good view”
Sir Kenneth Clark, Landscape into Art, 1949
Melanie Waugh’s paintings of creeks, coastlines, and rainforests capture landscape scenes in response to her musings through the world. Taking natures gateways and windows as her formal subject matter this exhibition presents a body of work capturing the moment of sublime often encountered in bushwalking or hiking when a traveller catches glimpse, through the natural framing of trees and shrubs trees, of a striking view of their destination.
She addresses the spirit and form of landscape painting in the use of post-impressionist style broad brushstrokes, rich earthy colour palettes and contrasting light techniques geographically linking these works to the vibrant and energetic natural beauty of the stretch of land between the Mid-North and deep South Coast of New South Wales.
Waugh’s paintings capture a beauty and allure true to the rustic Eastern Australian Coastline. From beaches, to bushland, open roads and starry canopy’s Waugh’s paintings express the connectedness of land, sea and sky, with a distinctly Australian outlook. A paradise of untamed vistas, seascapes, ocean pools, overgrown flora and foot flattened desire lines in which the viewer can be both lost and found. Beauty and Danger presents a paradise that, once experienced, forever holds you captive.
Her paintings are pictorial pilgrimages continuing in the grand narrative of Australian landscape painting. The boundless-ness characterized in the snippets of sublime presented in each work suggestive of the infinite breadth of Australia’s plain.
Words by Elizabeth Reidy
About the Artist
Based in the valley of Bellingen on the NSW Mid North Coast, Melanie Waugh has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the National Art School and a Master Of Arts from UNSW. In 2018 she was awarded 2nd place in the Art in The Open Landscape Painting Prize. Melanie has been a semi-finalist in the Doug Moran Portraiture Prize (2017), a finalist in the Hawkesbury Art Prize (2019),a finalist in the King’s School Art Prize (2020) and this year is a finalist in The National Emerging Art Prize.
This is her first solo exhibition with Michael Reid Northern Beaches.