In the studio: Amy Dynan

Amy Dynan often uses beauty to explore relationships between humans and nature, inviting emotional response and engagement from her audiences.

Akin to the shifting cotton balls in her skies, Dynan’s new series of work represents a transition in material practice and process, moving away from her charcoal-infused monochromatic palette towards a bold new direction with colour. Evoking the classic burnt palette of the country witnessed on her travels along the Hume Highway, Dynan’s large-scale pastel cloudscapes dream of family gatherings, personal histories, and nostalgia for connectivity. ‘The dynamics of light and dark work to allegorically interpret the opposing forces in nature and in ourselves to create landscapes that are suspended between land and sky, material and ethereal,’ explains the gallery. ‘‘Sky Talk’ is a wanting of being without constraint, control or regiment.’

Amy Dynan, Sky Talk – Hume, pastel on paper, 75 × 101cm. Courtesy the artist and Stanley Street Gallery, Sydney

Dynan shares with Art Almanac her thoughts and creative processes in the studio:

‘My primary practice is experimental drawing. I use techniques, which range from traditional chiaroscuro to gestural marks that are embodied connections to being and presence. In my work, there are elements of both figuration and abstraction – not as oppositions but as devices to bring about maximum expressivity. I use the framework of beauty to explore the intrinsic relationship human beings have with nature. My work documents nature and self in flux and celebrates the beauty of what we stand to lose.

Amy Dynan in her studio, September 2021. Photograph: Art Almanac. Courtesy the artist

For me, my studio life works as a practical metaphor for the nascent realisation that change – whilst it affects the outward appearance of things – cannot do away with what is innate in us. Drawing is present in every stage of my studio development; now more than ever, I acknowledge it more fully to be intrinsic to my mode of expression.

Amy Dynan in her studio, September 2021. Photograph: Art Almanac. Courtesy the artist

My studio research investigates the merging of mind|body in art practice as an experiential state of being. For me, this means aligning the pace of mind with body and experimenting with alternate methodologies that might make this a more fluid process. I am drawn to time-consuming, laborious processes, through which the rapid pace of mind is coerced into meeting the slower pace of the body. Correlations between eastern and western ontological philosophy inform my understanding of drawing in relation to the experience of being – namely that there is no separation between inner and outer self-experience, or any such division in art practice. Drawing in this sense is a unifying method capable of embodying this unifying aspect.

Access to the studio during lockdown has been an absolute joy and has offered respite during such a strange and uncertain time. I have been preparing for a solo exhibition with Stanley Street Gallery entitled ‘Sky Talk’. Using sky as motif, this series invites conversations that pull focus on our relationship to our environment and the consequences of a changing climate. For me, these dramatic skyscapes represent the wide-eyed, expansive wonder that comes with a desire to reconnect – to ourselves, to each other and to nature. My feeling is that, at a time when we all yearn for a sense of connection more than ever, we might look up and contemplate the same one sky that binds us.’

– Amy Dynan, 2021


‘Amy Dynan: Sky Talk’
Stanley Street Gallery
18 November to 11 December, 2021