Dana Dion is a local artist who lives in Greenwich. ITC first met Dana when she and some other talented locals held an exhibition at Gallery Lane Cove. Dana has a new exhibition opening in March. Dana’s Between the Trees will open on 7 March 2017 at Art2Muse Gallery (www.art2muse.com.au) in Double Bay, Sydney, Australia and runs through to 20 March 2017.
Dana was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and travelled back and forth between East Africa and Israel during her childhood years. In 1974 her family moved to Vancouver, Canada where Dana started to explore an interest in art and started to paint large-scale murals during art class at her school. When Dana was 18 years old, she returned to Israel for a year and then spent a year living and working in Los Angeles. Dana returned to Vancouver in 1980 where she owned and ran successful fitness businesses for 12 years.
“When I was a child I always used to dance and love fitness. In LA I was into aerobics, and when I returned to Vancouver there were no fitness places. So I started one! It grew exponentially to over 18,000 members. Then I sold it to the competition.”
During her time in Vancouver, Dana also initiated the first Canadian Ironman Triathlon race in Penticton, British Columbia, which was held in 1983 and continues annually. In 1995, Dana and her husband, together with their three children, moved to London, UK. Dana was eager to learn additional techniques and embrace her natural inclination for visual expression so she enrolled to study painting at the Hampstead Institute, London where she was exposed to working with pastels, watercolours, oils and acrylics, trying different materials and techniques. Dana and her family settled in Sydney in 2000, and she immediately found herself at home in the sensibility of Australia’s varied landscape.
Nature and change drive and inspire Dana and her paintings. These words are also the motivating forces in her life. Dana’s abstract landscapes are influenced by her connections to the geographies of Israel, Africa, Canada, England and Australia. Luscious and evocative, her paintings explore both the physical landscape and an inner landscape. She uses a personal language driven by the experience of travel, change and connecting to a place.
The landscapes do not depict a specific place, but rather a recording of the many places I have lived in,
Dana loves the Australian bush, sea, vegetation, sounds and smells. Dana and her husband often camp in various locations for periods of time. While out in the landscape, she photographs and sketches then returns to the studio to paint. Dana spends most of her time painting from memory and feeling. When she returns from a place, such as a National Park she always has the urge to paint.
“When walking in the bush, you look down and see new rocks, new water, new leaves and old leaves. New things are created, everything is in a flux. I love that, and hope it comes out in my work. I love nature, camping and walking. I love the activity and detailed sensory experience of it. But I also like the freedom, of space and observing the beauty of nature. I always return back to the studio inspired. I like the studio space and I spend most of my time there, pottering around, and starting to create. I like to keep my paintings alive, as far as my invested energy, but also mimicking the aliveness of nature, as it dies it is also reborn, and this is the process of how I paint.”
In 2005 Dana dedicated herself to painting full-time, applying to each work the discipline of her lifetime of travel and experiences.
“It’s the travel, it’s the moving, it’s different because you have to connect to a place and you have reinvent yourself every time you go somewhere. When you travel, you appreciate the beauty, and do what you have to do when you want to do it. However, when you’re moving, actually living somewhere that is new, that is my inspiration. It is to experience that feeling of wanting to connect, and that’s why I started to paint landscapes, so that I had somewhere to connect to because of all the travel and the moving around I have experienced. I think that travel and change creates flexibility and to be flexible you need to be creative. So I think that’s what has lead me to see things the way I do. I like that when you reinvent yourself, those remnants of who you were or who you become create layers, and I like that. I use a lot of paint. I make a mess. I am very physical when I work, moving energetically. I allow the movement to initiate rhythms. I capture the energy by painting quickly.”
Between the Trees – Dana Dion
These works are inspired by the views through branches and trees where I live and work.
Trees create ‘windows’ that frame the view beyond. The view beyond in my case is of rocks, branches, water, boats and sails.
Much is going on, creating an intricate and intimate landscape. Everything is in a flux: moving, disappearing, and reappearing while constantly framed by the subtle changes in light and texture created by tree branches, leaves and twigs.
I try to visually deconstruct this dynamic reality and then reconstruct it back into painting. I use a dynamic cycle of merging old into new to improve, refine, and to incorporate the best of what is into a platform for future possibilities. The reconstruction is intentionally left incomplete and perhaps slightly nonsensical.
Incompleteness and lack of sense permits and demands viewer participation, engagement, and ultimately viewer experience.
Why not try and pop over to Art2Muse Gallery (www.art2muse.com.au) in Double Bay, Sydney, Australia and before the 20th March 2017 .
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