The masterful paintings of Tasmanian artist Michaye Boulter chart the paradoxical vastness and intimacy of the ocean. Having spent much of her life on the sea – due, in part, to her father being a fisherman and her husband a seafarer – Boulter draws from a wellspring of experience in capturing the transformative and transcendent tenor of the endless ocean. Her new paintings on linen, board and steel chronicle the artist’s enduring search for hidden aspects of self and place. Informed by recent trips around Southern Tasmania – the secluded bays and still waters of Southport Lagoon, Port Davey and Bruny Island – the artist attempts to conjure and clarify the elusive emotions felt along these wild and remote coastlines. The paintings represent, for Boulter, ‘sheltered places where I have felt a sense of privacy and intimacy. To be alone. To be silenced. To connect to that which is beyond self.’
With resonant Romantic sentiment, the paintings in ‘Shelter’ chart this psychological cycle of departure and return within liminal landscapes of endless possibilities. These silent seascapes appear suspended in time and space; still waters and soft land forms silhouetted against ethereal skies in an eternal unfolding moment. Yet at the same time Boulter’s beguiling scenes are charged with transience – the distant, hazy horizon like a void of receding recollections and fleeting experiences. Moving through each point-of-view vista, we glimpse scintillating interplays of the finite self and the sublime, infinite ocean, connecting us to the continuum of existence.
‘Shelter’ visualises a profound synchronicity between the natural world and the human psyche. The works are an invitation into Boulter’s personal experience of self and landscape, an echoing of the internal within the external. ‘These paintings are about life and longing’, reflects Boulter, ‘about the intangible nature of beauty, the passing of time, and my attempt to find my place in it all.’
Michaye Boulter holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Tasmania, and her work has been exhibited extensively around the country. The artist was a finalist in the Tattersalls Art Prize (2017), the Paddington Art Prize (2016), the John Leslie Art Prize (2014) and the John Glover Prize (2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012). Her work is also held in various public and private collections around Australia, including the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and Parliament House, Canberra.