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Sally Lee Anderson


Growing up in NSW’s lush Northern Rivers region, and going on to undertake a residency amongst the dramatic scenery of Reykjavik, Iceland, it’s no surprise that Sally Lee Anderson’s paintings take cues from the natural world.

We recently popped by Sally’s Sydney studio to discover more ahead of her exhibition, The Washdown and Salvation Jane, which opens at Edwina Corlette Gallery in Brisbane next month.

2nd February, 2017
Elisha Kennedy
Thursday 2nd February 2017

Sally Lee Anderson originally studied printmaking at UNSW Art and Design, but first decided to focus on painting during an artist residency in Reykjavik, Iceland. ‘I think my printmaking always had a painterly aesthetic,’ she describes. ‘Without the tools in Iceland, painting was the natural alternative, and I loved the immediacy of it.’

Sally didn’t look back, and by the time she returned to Australia she’d decided to pursue painting. Her expressive aesthetic quickly garnered attention, with group show invitations coming in from across the country, and support from retailers such as Sydney store Small Spaces.

The fresh-faced artist’s paintings integrate abstracted landscapes with interiors, and take cues from everyday interactions. Sally is interested in how we bring the elements of outdoor landscapes inside our homes – through a piece of art, a plant, or collected fragments of nature.

Originally from Alstonville, NSW, Sally now splits her time between Sydney and the Northern Rivers. Earlier this year, she spent time working on a flower farm growing bromeliads. This plant, with its vibrant tropical colours, made such an impression on Sally that she’s currently creating a series featuring them.

Working predominantly with a muted colour palette, the artist will often add an unexpected contrast, like a brush of bright magenta. ‘For me, working with colour is very intuitive; I might spend weeks working with dusky colours, only to come in one day needing to mix a cyan blue,’ she tells.

The paintings are an ongoing process of adding layers and marks. Sometimes Sally will paint over a work in her studio that she’d thought she was long done with. ‘My partner once said that my pieces are a bit like découpage… with individual snippets and cut-outs layered heavily onto a surface,’ she says. ‘My mum has always loved crafts and used to actually découpage the furniture in our house… maybe that’s unknowingly made an impression on me!’

The Washdown and Salvation Jane by Sally Anderson
February 3rd – 23rd
Edwina Corlette Gallery
2/555 Brunswick St, New Farm, Brisbane

To see more, visit Sally’s website here.

Printmaker-turned-painter Sally Lee Anderson in her Sydney studio. Photo – Nikki To for The Design Files.

The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email