Dark Gully/Sex Drawings is a solo exhibition focusing on Amber Wallis’ experiences of place and sexual thought. Following on from her exhibition I Fuck Mountains in 2010, she continues to explore the merging of form and metaphor; landscape and sex; and atmosphere and mortality with this new collection of paintings and drawings.
The paintings depict the terrain of ‘Dark Gully’ — a hirsute bend in the road leading to Palm Beach, Sydney — and its vistas. In a furtherance of earlier works, Wallis captures the line, weather and movement of the landscape in which she lives, and continues to transpose elements of her tangible surroundings with those of an equally-precipitous inner realm.
Wallis’ contemporary landscapes are tightly rendered yet simultaneously loose in composition. They bear the mark of an original hand whilst paying tribute to the traditional language of painting. Her rich colour palette, playful lines and uninhibited form are inspired by the mid-20th century Abstract Expressionist movement and its underpinning ethos: that the canvas should serve the artist as a recipient of an event rather than simply the substrate on which to fix a picture.
The sex drawings are gentler, layered materially with collage and metapsychologically with sexual implication. The inquiring lines that traverse the drawings reference a landscape that merges into the undulations of the body as a sort of transcendent fecundity.
Also present is a collaborative work with close friend and fellow painter William Mackinnon. This sees Mackinnon’s landscape prints of the hills and sea at Port Fairy paired congruously with Wallis’ collage and delicate line work.Dark Gully/Sex Drawings is a generous and lyrical representation of the artist’s ongoing residence in a dynamic, hedonistic and oft tumultuous niche between real and imagined worlds.
Wallis completed a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Photomedia at the Canberra School of Art, ACT and participated in an exchange program with Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Canada in 2002. She completed her Master of Visual Arts at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne in 2008 and was the winner of the tenth Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship in 2008. During her scholarship she worked from studios at ISCP, New York, Redbird Studios, Montreal and completed a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris. Wallis was also resident artist at the Canberra School of Art in 2009. Solo exhibitions include Mountains Full of Sky/Salty Lines, Edwina Corlette Gallery, Brisbane, 2011; I Fuck Mountains, Utopian Slumps, 2010; Dark Gully/Psychic War, Chalk Horse, Sydney, 2010; and Circle of Eagles, Utopian Slumps, 2009. Selected group exhibitions includeNeed to Seem to Glimpse, C3, 2011; The New Arcadia, Lismore Regional Gallery, 2011; Worm Mountain, C3, 2010; Territorial Pissings, Utopian Slumps, 2010; The Shilo Project, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne, 2009;Chalk Reindeer, Chalk Horse, Sydney, 2009; South, Monster Children Gallery, Sydney, 2009; Brett Whiteley Travelling Arts Scholarship, Brett Whiteley Studio AGNSW, Sydney, 2008; Thank God We Died Together, TCB art inc., Melbourne, 2008; Autumn 2008, Moving Galleries, Melbourne, 2008; Robert Jacks Drawing Prize, Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria, 2008; and Swans and Ammo, with Lizzie Hall, Utopian Slumps, Melbourne, 2007. She currently lives and works in Palm Beach, NSW.