Belinda Wilson, Artist, researcher, thinker, by Anita Traynor
Belinda in her studio
Melbourne artist, Belinda Wilson, is currently at the nitty gritty end of her masters wherein she deliberates the widespread effects that weather has on our psyche. Looking intrinsically at how growing up in Regional Victoria, where sometimes long periods of intense drought can have devastating outcomes on its rural environment, Belinda’s art attempts to highlight how the very force of nature’s upheavals can turn once lush green pastures into arid wastelands, threaten the lives of cattle and stock, simultaneously jeopardizing the livelihood of farmers, creating a formidable force, often with devastating outcomes.
Using both the canvas and also her unique technique with digital photography, Belinda illustrates a vision of the Australian bush placing large figures in the foreground, looking pensive and contemplating the surrounding landscape. Her paintings have an almost ethereal presence, with a wash like surface, which could almost be mistaken for watercolors; before our eyes, they appear to gently unfold with shifting subtle hues of blues, ochres’, and greens, (the colours of nature), that rest on the canvas in broad blocks of paint. I can’t help but feel that these carefully intended planes hark back to images of the Impressionists and the subtle backdrops that were captured in the landscapes of Cezanne.
Promise on the horizon
Ghost Community, oil on linen,
Legend of Warby Jack, digitally enhanced print
Belinda is still in the ‘discovery ’stage of her art, her journey is evolving as she twists and turns to find the right path to capture and tell her tale of a childhood spent growing up in the heart of the Victorian bush, where her own memories recall endless nights with mosquitos buzzing relentlessly, cicadas would sing their humdrum tunes outside her window, and harsh 40-degree temperatures would blister the trees and grass and leave the once green pastures dry and desolate. It is an all too familiar picture for any one of us who has spent a considerable amount of time in country Victoria.
It is not surprising then that Belinda has chosen the subject of weather to centre her artistic practice around, incorporating her latest works into her Master’s degree and thesis, as it’s left an indelible mark in her memory and influenced the way in which she views the environment today.
Chatting to Belinda in her studio on a sunny Melbourne afternoon, I am compelled to mention that this thought process is forever lingering in the artist’s mind, for on numerous occasions she alludes to the lasting impressions that country life has had on her as she attempts to understand how it impacts daily life. In undertaking research for her masters, Belinda confronts her memories of the past and attempts to comprehend the harsh and unsettling effect of the heavy periods of drought or for that matter unending periods of long rains and floods which wreak havoc and destruction, linger in one’s memories, like a time capsule waiting to be opened.
Weather predictions, mixed media on paper,
Combating Extreme weather, mixed media on paper
Art can be perceived as a window into the soul, it delves deep within the subconscious and brings to the fore memories of forgotten times. In Belinda’s art, isolated figures, and contoured lines, which resemble the markings on a weather chart are purposely placed to suggest an element of the geographical nature that she wants to convey. A hint of a hill, or a flat plane, or even a long and winding road, as we focus our eyes on the foreground we can almost disappear into its vortex, swept up by the soothing parameters of the sweeping lines that undulate before us and beckon the viewer to take this journey into the unknown. The figures often appear alone and isolated taking in their surroundings, mostly facing away from the viewer as if the world belongs only to them; introspective and brooding, it is deeply contemplative work, rich with connotation and lyrical imagery.