My earliest connection with the natural world was through childhood play. Growing up in the bush in the 1970s did not involve toys. The only toys I recall were a Tonka truck (which I loved!), some lego and a neglected Barbie doll. I felt in no way deprived. We filled our days playing in the dirt. My paintings are tapping into those feelings and memories. In recent years my work has become increasingly abstract, but the landscape is still there.
It is my belief that the directness of this simple childhood and our daily engagement with nature laid the foundations of me being an artist. We were always making. To me painting is part play.
I tend to work quickly and without a plan. Almost always the meaning of a painting becomes totally obvious when it is finished. It’s an intuitive process that grapples with colour, movement, and form. A painting is complete when it can balance these things to create a feeling and means something to me.
Visiting new landscapes has always been an important stimulus for my work but the pandemic has meant less time travelling and more time in my studio in the Noosa hinterland. However, I recently made a spontaneous pilgrimage to my childhood property in Western Queensland. I took my 19-year-old son to visit this formative childhood home, which is now crumbling in decay. It was an emotional experience as we crept around the ruins. Despite not having returned since I was ten years old my memory had not deceived me. I had remembered every nook and cranny. 'A Far Away Home' is a dreamlike map of that faded patch of oasis which my mother kept so beautifully amidst an often drought-stricken landscape.
Amy Clarke’s work can be found in collections around Australia including the Sunshine Coast University Hospital and St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney.
She describes herself as self-taught although has participated many workshops. Artists she has learned from include Peter Sharp, Idris Murphy, Emma Walker, Pam Cowper, Patrick Shirvington and Elisabeth Cummings. Amy has also completed two residencies at The Corridor Project on the banks of the Lachlan River (Cowra).
She has exhibited around the country in solo and group shows including Michael Reid Northern Beaches, Walcha Gallery of Art, Depot Gallery in Sydney, Noosa Regional Gallery, University of Sunshine Coast Art Gallery and Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery. She received a Commended in the Norvill Prize (2011/2012) and was a finalist in the Lethbridge 10 000 Art Prize (2013) and Redland Art Prize (2012).