Ebony Truscott’s paintings are soft and smudgy. At the same time, they’re incredibly realistic, as though you’re looking at objects arranged through a vaselined lens.
The Melbourne-based artist doesn’t make things easy for herself. Interested in the way ‘light strikes, is absorbed and scattered by objects that are essentially geometric solids’, her delicate still-life paintings often feature glass tumblers, mirrors and other reflective surfaces, arranged modestly alongside pieces of fruit, scraps of paper, oven mitts and bricks. The viewer naturally wants to move closer to work of art, looking for telltale signs of textured canvas to confirm it’s actually a painting rather than a well-lit photograph.
In her latest show at Bus Projects, A Brick in Mid-Air, Ebony continues her ongoing research into the tactile elements of objects, like depth and shape, while also exploring how to depict intangible ‘non-visual phenomena too – like weight, sound, spaciousness or density’.
As Ebony works to recreate the scene in front of her, she unwittingly stirs up a sense of melancholy in her finished works. ‘There is something that emerges from the labour of this research that looks grim… I’m not sure about this,’ she admits, ‘I intend to depict coolly and truthfully, but a looming sense of something sad and ambivalent turns up too.’