W I N G E D S E R I E S
The Winged Series was first exhibited as a finalist in the Sulman Prize, as part of the Archibald, Wynne & Sulman Prize Exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2014.
Birds are a part of Dallas Lesley's life and have defined her main body of work, from their symbolic meaning as referenced in history and mythology to the way in which they make up the natural habitat of a place and become part of the chemistry of the landscape.
Birds have been symbols of freedom, creation and power throughout history. In many cultures they are often seen as messengers of the deities, and their role in the lives of others in mythology and fiction depicts strength, resilience, wisdom and peace. The Phoenix, or Firebird, is one of the most powerful symbols of eternal rebirth, and represents renewal and new beginnings. In Native American culture, the symbolic meaning of the Raven describes it as a creature of metamorphosis, and symbolizes change and transformation. Birds feature across different cultures dependant on what is native to that country. The Raven is also an iconic figure in Norse Mythology, where Odin, the highest god, had two who were named after “thought” and “memory”.
Birds are often shown to represent one’s greatest aspirations, resilience and perseverance, and the victory over challenges. In historical records, the Alexandrine parrot is named after Alexander the great, who was gifted his parrot by his general after a successful invasion, whilst Christopher Columbus returned after discoveries in the new world with the imperial gift of two Amazon parrots for Queen Isabella of Spain.
The people in some of Dallas’ paintings are often portrayed in black and white to allow the birds the pivotal role in their pure forms of natural, saturated colours. The symbolic references are ghosted into the background, to be discovered like precious fragments of history and mythology, and the birds are rendered moving from delicate line work to thick, luscious knife and brush work.
Dallas’ work is a creative response to her research into the symbolism of birds in history, art and religion, and to the birds of the present and their impact in both a spiritual and natural sense in the world around us. She has cared for many different birds throughout her life, is an animal advocate and supporter of bird and animal protection organisations.
S E R I E S O F W O R K S
Colourful, dynamic, textural, vibrant, palpable - all words used to describe Dallas Lesley's works. The characteristics for which Dallas Lesley's works are recognised are all of these elements, plus her use of texture, light and shadow, to achieve a creative response to different ideas.
The Oceanscapes Series captures the sea, land and skies rich with atmospheric forces. The fleeting moment at twilight when the sky and the sea are fused in electric blue and the hues disgorged at the beginning and the end of the day. Elements of this series are also evident in Dallas Lesley's Winged series - her main body of work. Paintings from Oceanscapes / Cloudscapes have been selected as finalists in many judged exhibitions including The Fleurieu Art Prize, the Canberra Art Prize, the Cromwell’s Art Prize and The ANL Maritime Art Prize.This series has been selected for private collections in Australia, the USA and Japan. The textural relationship in this series is the forms it evokes - "...with it’s heavy sweep of emerald coloured sky or dribbling lava-like folds of cloud at sunset.”. - Lenny Ann Low, Sydney Morning Herald
Exotica Paradiso is Dallas Lesley’s interpretation of the exotic shapes and tapered forms of the luscious folliage and flora of our rainforests and tropical zones. Exotica is also evident in her Winged series - her main body of work. Leaves and petals heavy with luxurious scents, and the palpable elements of life-giving rain and the earth, give way to vibrant bursts of colour splashed from a palette rich with saturated hues, a semi abstract translation of the sensual contours of nature. Works from this collection have been exhibited in Australia and Hong Kong.
The Portraits Series has been a recent addition over the last few years, with portraits of well known Australians Christine Anu and Tim Shaw amongst them. Self portraits have also featured, one of which was a selected finalist in the Berkelow Portrait Prize, and Dallas Lesley's large painting of Christine Anu was a finalist in the Percival Portrait Prize and acquired by the Perc Tucker Regional Gallery in Townsville for the gallery's permanent collection. .
A painting from her Traveller Series called "The morning after - the party's over" was a finalist in The Sulman Prize in the Archibald, Wynne & Sulman Exhibition 2008 at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Heavily layered with impasto and sand, and showing a strong use of chiaroscuro, these works interplay light and shadow to create dramatic visions in the spaces beyond. The presence and scale of the characters in her paintings gives impact in each work. Dallas began these works in her travels through Italy, Spain and France, and historic areas of Australia have also featured in this series.
The Immersion Series is Dallas Lesley's paintings from exploring the reefs and marine life of Australia and around the world. First exhibited in Australia in early 2002, these works have been selected as finalists in several judged exhibitions, including The Manning Art Prize and The Fisher’s Ghost Contemporary Art Prize, and they have also been exhibited in New York, China, Fiji and Hong Kong. Captain Cook Cruises sponsored Dallas Lesley on her explorations of the reefs around the Yasawa Islands in Fiji in 2001 and 2002, and the Sheraton Fiji Resort hosted an exhibition of her finished works. These works are layered with texture and capture the essence of drifting weightlessly below the ocean's surface and diving into the reflected light from the world above.
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