Standing in front of a landscape painting by Julie Andrews you are immediately drawn into another world.
There is a subtlety and a complexity to the physical material surface of her paintings that reveal the artist’s hand, sometimes through gentle detailing and sometimes through wild splashes and flicks of paint. As you move through this layered surface into a metaphysical space you find yourself in-between the physicality of where you are standing and the space of consciousness.
The artist often refers to “liminal space” when she talks about the works. While not an everyday concept it is a common shared experience. It describes the viewing experience perfectly, as an ambiguous state, of being on the edge of a sensory threshold. By allowing yourself to shift into this atmospheric space of blurred edges and muted colours, the experience is one of what she describes as “a whisper to the unconscious of possibilities otherwise unnoticed.” Art, psychology, and philosophy merge as her brush touches the canvas.
While the inspiration for her landscapes is drawn from many sources, the creation of the work itself takes place within the specific landscape that surrounds her bush studio. What this landscape offers her is a sense of spatial freedom as she moves the canvases from indoor to outdoor and back again, in the process of transforming the thoughts in her mind seeped in time and memory, into physical form through paint on canvas.
While her artworks grow out of her experience of the Australian landscape, the works speak a universal language. Her work has been exhibited not only in Australia but also the United Kingdom, Singapore and China and included in collections across England, Scotland, Canada, South Korea, Singapore, and the United States.
I have been following Julie Andrews’ artwork since supervising her Master of Arts at RMIT University that she completed with High Distinction in 2014. She brought to her research study a phenomenological approach based on a background in fine arts and psychology. Since then, her artwork has continued in this direction leading to her current mature works that confidently invite you in to explore more deeply moments of transition and reflection such as twilight and morning as well as sensations of floating and falling. Her painting titles are full of such words and serve as a guide to a full appreciation of these landscapes full of wonder and mystery.