The instinctive feeling that there is indeed some kind of spirit that rolls through all things, some fearsome memory in stones, in wind, in the lives of birds---.

Tim Winton, Australian novelist, from Dirt Music, p 329

Home / Artist Statement


Space and Light: Painting Presence

When we are present, we are allowing life to be what it is, moment by moment. It is a direct, intuitive knowing, and is not related to accumulated knowledge.

Generally our lives are consumed with doing and with things. These paintings seek to create an experiential awareness of space and light and thereby directly focus on the reality that all our doing and our obsession with things is permeated with light and embraced by space. Space by its very nature is ‘allowing’; light is essentially life energy and aliveness. Together they are presence.

The pressing issue for me as I work is: ‘What is essential in this painting to make the space and light sing?’ For when they sing, everything sings and all is present and alive.

These paintings are informed by thirty years of a committed painting practice, and by a committed practice of Zen meditation for an equal length of time. For most of the last thirty years this has been accompanied by Tai Chi and Yoga practices which have developed the somatic sensibility essential to the creation of this work. All three practices have been instrumental in moving my painting from the primacy of form to the primacy of light and space, so that the forms enhance and express the space and light. This is the opposite of the traditional view of painting in which form takes centre stage with space and light as its support.

With this primacy of space and light, the paintings arrive at a stillness, a pure experience of being.

Sharon Thompson