By Isabel Howard
EMERGING Tasmanian artist Zoe Grey has featured the Tasmanian town of Marrawah in her artwork for nearly four years, and recently revealed a collection of landscapes at Despard Gallery in her exhibit ‘Thanks to a Place I Know’.
Currently based at Good Grief Studios, an old automotive warehouse-turned-gallery in Hobart, Ms Grey creates art that expresses her intimate experience of Marrawah, a remote north-western coastal town known for huge waves, powerful winds and a small population.
A third generation Marrawah resident, Ms Grey grew up surfing at beaches renowned internationally for their swells.
The landscape that surrounds the town is rugged and wind-beaten, and many aspects of life are determined by the weather.
Ms Grey’s interest in painting developed during high school in Burnie, and in 2014 she moved to Hobart to continue studying at the University of Tasmania.
Over the next few years Marrawah had a growing influence on Ms Grey’s work, until it gradually developed into the overarching theme.
Despite the isolation, wild weather and limited resources, Marrawah instilled in her a compelling appreciation for the land.
Rather than painting on location or using photographic references, Ms Grey paints abstract renditions of her home at Marrawah from memory and drawings.
“I can close my eyes and picture it in every detail – it’s such a big part of that experience and it’s one of my favourite things in the world,” Ms Grey said.
Ms Grey said her work often included motifs from the Marrawah landscape, such as trees bent sideways by powerful winds, the mountain Preminghana (also known as Mount Cameron West) and plants such as Netley Bay Gum, a Eucalypt endemic to the area.
“I hope people can get a sense of my intentions at trying to translate the feeling of the wind or the water and the rocks, being within the landscape and the relationship that I have to that place,” she said.
Ms Grey said there were connections to the land surrounding Marrawah that predated her, and she always acknowledged and paid respect to the Tasmanian Aboriginals who had lived and made art in the location before her.
Ms Grey continues to find new ways to represent the place where she grew up.
She would like to expand her work and exhibit further afield, but believes she will always return to Marrawah.
After being met with great success by her recent exhibit, Ms Grey is currently in the process of producing more artwork for Despard Gallery.
Caption: Zoe Grey in her studio at Good Grief.