Julie Purcell's exhibition Plein Air Park was inspired by the landscape and sunsets around Maryvale. It is on display at the Warwick Art Gallery.
Julie Purcell's exhibition Plein Air Park was inspired by the landscape and sunsets around Maryvale. It is on display at the Warwick Art Gallery. Michael Nolan

Seeing Maryvale landscape through a game artist's eyes

AT FIRST glance Julie Purcell's landscape paintings look like a throwback to the traditional impressionist style, though there is more to them.

They capture light and its subtle effect on the environment, and they are produced in the open air, but Ms Purcell also draws on her experience as a video gamer.

"I'm really into game spaces and I see a lot of parallels between landscape conventions in game spaces and landscape conventions in impressionist painting," she said.

"When you are playing a video game, you're looking at a flat screen but you are in a wider space, it extends virtually.

"There's an overall pixelated impressionism in the work, there is a blocky, chucky image making process, that is like impressionism.

"I don't game so much any more but my early experience shaped my practice, I see painting as the ultimate game, you are creating and exploring space with your brain."

The Redcliffe artist opened a show at the Orange Gallery in the Warwick Art Gallery on Saturday.

It includes work produced while visiting her parents at Maryvale through 2017-18.

While her parents renovated the old post office Ms Purcell would ride to Millar Vale Creek Park and capture the setting sun.

Like all impressionists, Ms Purcell had a great love of light and said the Maryvale landscape had a very unique quality.

"It is really clear, the open expanses kind of blows your mind a bit," she said.

"It takes a considerable amount of problem solving to capture the sense of depth in some of the views here.

"When I first moved out it took a few weeks to adjust to the wideness.

"The light here creates really crisp shadows, it is a harsh kind of light, it gives you really a intense yellowing to the grasses and then it fades really quickly in winter as the sun sets."

Initially Mr Purcell did not plan on exhibiting her work in Warwick but a little encouragement from her mother changed her mind.

The exhibition is Ms Purcell's first solo show since graduating from the Queensland College of Art in 2017.

She said the Southern Downs art community embraced her new approach to the traditional impressionist style.

"It wasn't my intention, but I thought to share it with the local community means more than in a cold, city institution."

"This experience has been brilliant, it was my first time doing a project like this but Karina Devine, the Gallery Director, was a really excited to see work like this and really encouraged me.

"It's a beautiful thing, there is more respect for a wider art practice (in small towns).

"I'm thinking of doing one at my family's property at Inglewood and it would be an in depth painting study of place and the feeling of the place and I would approach the local council and art galleries to have have a show."

Julie Purcell's exhibition title Plein Air Park is currently on display.

It is free to view.

More of her work can be found here.



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