I have a deep affinity for the land, it’s a place for immersion, to experience and be absorbed.
My work taps into the emotional gravity of a place, its memory, its pulse, its rawness and power. For me the paintings communicate a deep felt relationship with the earth, embodying a spirit of place and its atmosphere.
The images are a direct emotional response to the bush, beaches and mangroves that surround my home. My paintings explore unique ways of capturing the diversity of the natural terrain. I am interested in local flora, protected plant species, seaweeds and noxious plants. I often start my paintings with the small delicate details found in the bush and then depart to a place of frantic energy.
The course of painting is a primal impulse to mark. It is a physical and emotional experience. I paint in an expressive and gestural way capturing the force and energy of a place. I create a visceral experience through the use of mark making and the application of paint. My paintings are process driven and it is only through the act of painting over, scraping back and drawing into, that my work is resolved.
‘The sense of place…does indeed emerge from the senses. The land, and even the spirit of the place, can be experienced kinetically…as well as visually….a place can be felt as an extension of the body, especially the walking body, passing through and becoming part of the landscape’. Lucy Lippard
Over many a cup of tea on Leah’s verandah overlooking some of Northern NSW’s most beautiful bush and river inlets, I became aware of her deep connection with earth. This is a woman who treads lightly.
Never one to wave the flag or stand on a soap box, Leah simply lives her principles. She embraces nature and protects the land she loves. It was no surprise to me when her art became part of the whole.
From this quiet nurturing soul come these powerful depictions of her beloved land and the life it supports. Painting canvases three times her own size, Leah pours her inner being into every piece.
Leah once told me that when she has finished a painting she is empty…there is nothing left of her. She retreats from her studio to re-energise and re-group, unable to even converse. Every ounce of her mind, soul and physical body have been poured into the work.
I know this statement to be the truth. Standing in front of one of these huge works of art you can feel the life in it. Her works vibrate with passion, angst, love and beauty. The mangroves crackle and pop, sun warms your skin, you taste salt on your lips and feel the energy of the life within the paint.
While her works are masterful, technical and display great skill, they are so much more than paint on canvas. Speaking to your heart and sharing the secrets only mother nature knows, these works are alive.