Girl from the North Country, Ella Dunn(Download PDF)
Condensed and abstracted, this collection of recent painted work amalgamates memories of regional, remote and romantic experience with coastal plains. Dunn captures the rural through platitudes of quiet dwelling; a figure stretching free on an ambiguous matress-pool plain drifting into the night sky, a sunflower-picker bathing under warm light and hose-shower, blue-jean arms outstretched to mount a red ochre boulder. A speedo-donning flipper-wearer propels themselves up and outward into deep blue sea-sky.
On charmingly mismatched and found boards, Dunn explores the nature of place- specific language in the shaping of memory in compositions which slowly unravel, giving subtle clues but maintaining ambiguity. Borrowing the titular of Dian Thomas’ 1974 New York Times Best Selling ‘Roughing It Easy’, Dunn humorously critiques the inherent privilege within the idea of ‘roughing it’ as a lifestyle choice, re-painting the capitalised title on a sawed segment of an old painting attached to a cupboard door. Further indications of regional place are found in the corner of a green numbered road sign, a ‘fragile’ transportation box, a rusted tea-tin, breakfast fry-up of bacon and eggs sitting atop a camp table and a note for a particularly nicotine-happy pool-table patron.
Painted from sketches and memory, this body of work combines close-proximity portraiture and landscape, framing non- metropolitan imagery and country from a singular and abstracted perspective.
by Brigid Hansen
“Girl from The North country”