Beforehand Road from Kingscliff by Simone Gillespie
Simone Gillespie’s paintings are an exploration of landscape through the immediacy of mark-making and the renewed representation of environment and its inhabitants. As a conscious continuation of the Australian landscape painting tradition, Gillespie paints primarily en plein air where the tangible and intangible come together through pigment and light. The sense of immediacy that is conjured in these works recaptures the beauty and emotion that the artist sees in the landscape. In a broad sense Gillespie plays with the idea of being both a botanist and an environmentalist in paint.
Concerned with adding quiet narrative to the landscape, Gillespie uses visual symbols to portray environmental change and an Australian connection to nature. Birds fall from the sky or huddle together bracing themselves against an impending storm, a solitary tree stands as a symbol of impermanence while a cross represents mankind's strain on the natural environment. The use of thread sewn into the surface of Gillespie’s paintings literally connects the subject in the picture plane as well as acting as a symbolic thread running between nature and humankind.