Amy Joy Watson Visits the Light Side of the Moon

Moon Dune, Amy Joy Watson’s latest exhibition, is her largest solo exhibition to date. Watson presents two dimensional wall works and three dimensional sculptures which are inspired by nature – waterfalls, streams and the geology of the Australian landscape.

While Watson majored in painting and sculpture at art school her focus was on sculpture until she went to Japan in 2014 to undertake the Australia Council’s Arts Tokyo Studio Residency. For practical reasons – a small studio and she wanted to be able to bring the works home with her – Tokyo provided the perfect opportunity to explore two dimensional work.

Amy Joy Watson, Desert Boulder (2016)

Watson’s practice is labour intensive. She spent 18 months working on this exhibition, and as a result there are a few different strains within the exhibition as the work has evolved over time. Time is an important aspect in Watson’s work and reflects the years it has taken for these landscapes and rock formations to develop.

The first few works she did for the show were space landscapes, Titan (one of Saturn’s moons) and Io and Callisto (two of Jupiter’s moons). “Then I came back down to a world I was familiar with,” she says.

Amy Joy Watson, Moon Dune exhibition view

Other wall works include the piece Watson submitted in the Fleurieu Art Prize, Sugar Loaf as well as other works inspired by local landscapes, like Second Valley. Watson’s landscapes are not literal representations of places she has visited, instead she sources images online and from books. The works evolve through her practice of using watercolour and metallic thread to be an imagined landscape.

“They are ethereal and sparkling, they could almost be these imagined utopias,” Watson says. “I have approached the two dimensional works in a similar way to the sculpture. I often don’t have a set idea in my mind, it shifts and changes as I go.”

Amy Joy Watson, Moon Dune exhibition view

Like her sculptures, when you move around the wall works they change because of the metallic thread. They look different when the light catches them at different angles. “The lightness, the appearing and disappearing, the ethereal is what interests me. That’s why the original image of the landscape I am representing is less important,” Watson says.

The sculptures in Moon Dune continue her practice of using balsa wood and a needle and thread and while it’s time consuming the making is what she enjoys.

“I accept it as what I do. I make things over a long period of time. I enjoy that, I wouldn’t be an artist if I didn’t get to make and spend time with things.”

Amy Joy Watson: Moon Dune
Hugo Michell Gallery
Until Saturday, November 12

Header photo: Amy Joy Watson, Sugar Loaf (2016)

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