Michelle Dawson | Grampions Lion
July / August 2015
Michelle Dawson combines a fascination with creatures, mythologies and night skies to create paintings inspired by the heavens. Reimagining the constellations identified by western astronomy with antipodean native animals, these works acknowledge our unique wild life, past and present as a confluence of myth, history, astronomy and artistic license. Her works reflect on the constellations from the southern hemisphere perspective, projecting Australian native animals onto the configurations hitherto drawn and referenced from a northern hemisphere zoological reservoir.
The Southern Firmament paintings symbolically express Dawson’s deep sadness of the great loss to humanity and the natural world when a species moves out of the corporeal existence and into extinction. The miraculous Thylacine, a wolf-like marsupial with a backwards-facing pouch and tiger stripes, was hunted into extinction in the wild by 1930. And the Tasmanian Devil, the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial, now officially endangered, is teetering on the edge of leaving our world.
Michelle Dawson was born in New Zealand and moved to Australia in 1985. She has been working as a professional artist since 1996. Her work invariably includes animals, although of late the creatures have begun to cross breed and hybridize into strange beasts.