We’ve recently discovered the work of WA based artist Samantha Dennison, whose clear, considered and hyper-real still life paintings had us instantly mesmerised!
Originally trained in art education, Samantha was a high school art teacher until 2006. However, she always had a passion for painting, and even whilst working full-time, she would paint small landscapes (in gouache and oils) and occasionally exhibit these works.
After having three young kids of her own, five years ago Samantha and her family decided to swap life in the City (Perth) for a more simple life in Albany on the South Coast of WA. ‘Part of settling in to our new community involved establishing our home’s garden, and making it how we wanted it to be’ Samantha reflects. ‘The garden continues to evolve and we take enormous pleasure in it. My husband Geoff grows it, and I get to paint it.’
After many years dabbling in painting, Samantha started making her distinctive, layered, almost translucent floral-inspired still life paintings around three years ago – working from her garage! In 2015, she was invited by Amber Creswell-Bell to take part in a group show at Saint Cloche gallery in Sydney – and the rest is history. Not long after that show, she started painting full time.
Three years on, Samantha’s purpose-built studio (above her garage!) is about to celebrate its first birthday, and her second solo show opened last week in WA. Entitled ‘Across the Road and Around the Corner’, this show brings together 21 oil paintings, a body of work which has been twelve months in the making.
So, what actually is ‘Across the Road and Around the Corner’ from Samantha’s studio? ‘Aha! Across the Road are my lovely neighbours Gerry and Lila and their garden, from which I regularly thieve plants for painting.’ Samantha divulges. ‘Brian is over the road – he gives me the lemons and honey, while Steve next door loves his orchids… and around the Corner is Jo who lets me collect blossom from her trees’.
Above all, this exhibition is about belonging. ‘This show is all about my daily surroundings’ the artist concludes. ‘The community, its people, their conversation and their stories, and how these have contributed to my family finding a home here, and a sense of belonging’.