Natasha Walsh

Walsh’s practice wistfully explores the bittersweet inevitability of a present that is both lost and found. A human perception of time only made possible through the processes of memory. Her practice shifts between the living and the dying, the enduring and the fleeting.

In her work this has manifested as an investigation into the relationship between the illusion of a seemingly timeless space within a painting, and its decaying material body. As such, her practice is informed by an understanding of painting in terms of the alchemical transformation of matter.

Walsh states, ‘my work has been heavily influenced by the prolonged death of my grandparents in my formative years. It was at this time I observed a palpable denial of its inevitability within those closest to me, which also seemed to pervade a larger context. ‘

Her earlier work sensitively immersed older faces within painted bodies of wax, wood and resin. These images are placed, seemingly, beyond the continuing progression of time, pushed to the edge of perception. In such a way the act of seeing evoked the experience of recollection, as the mind attempted to solidify an image which appeared to be itself dissolving within its material body.

In her recent self-portraits the artist’s examines her own mortality. An inevitable result of working from life, intensely observing the passing of the present as it manifests itself upon her own directly reflected face. The copper support evokes the fluctuating nature of her subject matter as it is highly responsive to change until sealed by the layers of paint. ‘From the moment that I prepare the surface, it begins to naturally oxidise. Different pigments changed colour in response to this process and the painting visibly ages as I worked on it.’

Walsh graduated with a Masters in Fine Art at the National Art School this year. She has been a finalist in a number of awards including the Archibald in 2016 and 2017, the Black Swan in 2017, the Scottish Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in 2017 and the Portia Geach Memorial Award in 2016 where she was highly commended. In 2015 she won the Emerging Artist Prize in the Mosman Art Prize.

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