U N C O V E R I N G T H E
P A T T E R N S O F N A T U R E
The Ocean and Birds are a major part of Dallas Lesley's life and have defined her series of works. She has always been around the sea. From wandering and studying the rockpools and shoreline, to exploring the underwater environment of the reefs, her early process of observation has continued to inform her works. Everywhere she travels, she goes through her discipline, looking for patterns in the rocks and in the pools carved by the ocean's currents, and finding what fascinating pieces of nature can be found within to enable the mark making for a new idea. Her love of birds and animals has also been her lifelong passion, and is a fundamental part of her life.
The Paradise Wings Series was first exhibited when selected as a finalist in the Sulman Prize Exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2014.
The birds that Dallas references in her works are both native and exotics, and her home is always shared with one of these inspiring pieces of nature. From Crimson Rosellas, South American Conures, Princess Parrots, Budgerigars and even Golden Pheasants, she has cared for them all and found them inspiring in their characters and their sounds.
Dallas says " My body of work is about birds, from their symbolism in history, the Dreamtime 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. When walking in the bush, the sound of birds is the first thing that I notice, bringing a sense of place. Even with my eyes closed I can feel their movements around me."
Symbolic references are ghosted into the underpainting to be discovered like precious fragments of history, and the birds are rendered moving from delicate line work to thick, luscious knife and brush work, with crystals and objects formed into the artwork.
In the Opalescence Series, Dallas engaged new materials and techniques in her evolving use of texture, and this series is her inimitable interpretation of the way in which she sees the iridescent layers of the coasts and shoreline, and the crystalline elements of the sea. In these paintings, coastal streams wind through white washed sands and ancient, shell-encrusted seabeds reveal opalescent forms sculpted by the current’s motion. This series again shows the textural dynamics of Dallas' work, with layers of impasto scraped through with sand and mixed media, and reflected fluid movements in shimmering surfaces. “What struck me immediately was the superb way in which she has captured the very essence of water. There is movement, transparency, and reflective rippled surface textures within compositions that draw the eye deeply into the images" - Craig Lewis - Art Collector
In both the Opalescence and the Paradise Wings paintings, there is a sublime sense of depth and a felt understanding of the intricacies of nature . The people in some of Dallas’ paintings are often portrayed in black and white to allow the pure forms of natural, saturated colours to play the pivotal role in the works. These paintings have layers of luscious textures, and pieces of collected shells, glass and feathers are combined with crystals, resins, and pearl pigments to form a multi faceted artwork that leaves the viewer always discovering something new.
Dallas is an animal advocate and supporter of bird and animal protection organisations.