I am eternally jealous of anyone who experienced an English upbringing. As a kid, I had an intense love of all things Enid Blyton, and was desperate for my Gold Coast childhood to feature more enchanted forests and misty cliffs. I mean, the beach is pretty and all, but who doesn’t want a Magic Faraway Tree in their neighbourhood?
Sunshine Coast artist Amica Whincop knows exactly what I mean. Having grown up along the rugged coastline of the Isle of Wight, she became fascinated early on by the beauty and fragility of the wildlife and ecosystems that surrounded her. Made up of soft cliffs, sea ledges and pebbled banks, her home county was a site of diverse wildlife and world protected landscapes that inspired the environmental awareness now evident in her work. Global travel and emigration to Australia only heightened this connection, with each new vista providing unique inspiration for an art practice as organic and spontaneous as the environment itself.
Once the chaos of the initial stages has been resolved, Amica regains control of her process by working white paint into the composition to define edges and lift underlying layers to the fore. This tension between positive and negative space becomes an integral part of the work as Whincop strives to find the perfect balance between her constructed and organic process. The result is a vast canvas of undulating gemstones that, when seen up close, glow like fire opals in a belt of Cooper Pedy sandstone, each one as magical and enchanted as Blyton’s Faraway Tree.
Amica’s work can be seen as part of The Ambience Store Project until 27 June 2016.