16/02/2023 - 14/03/2023

“The longer you sit in one remote spot in the bush, the more you become part of it,” Celia Perceval explains. “The landscape really does have a meaning, a character. It speaks to you. Everything is truly alive. Everything has its place.” Perceval is describing her painting process. It is a process that takes her out of the comforts and the confines of an air conditioned artist’s studio, and instead places her in the midst of the Australian landscape. For decades, Perceval has ventured out into the bush in search of the ineffable—looking for an unnameable something in the wilderness. “I’m always going off the main thoroughfares into places where it looks like I can’t,’ she says. “There is no other way of finding inspiration, other than being there.” Perceval pauses before going on. “I walk past something that speaks to me. I won’t say anything to anyone, but I always know that I’m going to go back there.”

There is, of course, an established tradition of landscape painters going out into nature and painting en plein air. Yet this tradition often tends to be based around acts of artistic control: the attempt to arrest some small part of the natural world—to freeze it—and to transfer this frozen image onto the canvas. Perceval’s paintings could not be more different. Her process is less about taking control, and more about relinquishing this very thing. “We change the landscape too much,” she says. “I feel like I’m painting what’s left of that landscape. I wish we could just be part of it.” Perceval’s work draws her out of the built up environment of the city and manicured lawns of the suburbs to a wilderness, where the disorder of nature still prevails.

Yet Perceval’s paintings do more than just memorialise a vision of place. While most people think of a painting in purely ocular terms—they focus on what they can see—Perceval reaches beyond this. When she talks of her paintings, Perceval evokes a multisensory experience. Her kinetic brushstrokes are animated by sounds and smells and filled with the unmistakable sense of life in motion. Her paintings reproduce some part of what it means not only to look at a place but become a part of it. “I always think that a good painting should never just be seen once,” she observes. “It should always draw you in and reveal something new. Just like the landscape itself.”

By Tai Mitsuji, January, 2023


Celia Perceval 'Ferry on the Clyde River' oil on canvas 100 x 100cm $19,500 SOLD
Celia Perceval 'Wildflowers Above the Araluen Valley' oil on canvas 46 x 61cm $9,000
Celia Perceval 'Rosellas in the bush above the Clyde River’ oil on canvas 102 x 102cm $19,500
Celia Perceval 'Rosellas in the Snow Gums on Mongarlow River' oil on canvas 72 x 102cm SOLD
Perceval The Hindwell Brook Winding Through the Woods with Bluebells and Blossom oil on canvas 76 x 83cm $14,000
Celia Perceval 'Ravens in the Tea Trees Merrick's Beach' oil on canvas 61 x 76cm $10,000
Celia Perceval 'Raven in the Bunnytails at Merrick's Beach' oil on canvas 61 x 75cm $10,000
Celia Perceval 'Old Railway Bridge and Yellow Wildflowers' oil on canvas 72 x 102cm $15,800
Celia Perceval 'Man and Boat at Low Tide' oil on canvas 51 x 61cm $9,000
Celia Perceval 'Looking through angophora bush at the mist coming in from the sea at Blackbutt Reserve' oil on canvas 109 x 122cm $22,000
Celia Perceval 'Currawongs above the Shoalhaven' oil on canvas 61 x 92cm $13,000
Celia Perceval 'Bluebells in Wild Garlic on the Rodd Wood' oil on canvas 76 x 76cm $13,000
Celia Perceval 'Bluebells and snowdrops in swamp in cwm coed y cerrig, Wales' oil on canvas 80 x 85cm $14,000
Celia Perceval 'Apple Orchard at Merricks North' oil on canvas 46 x 61cm $9,000
Celia Perceval 'Landscape at Point Leo ' oil on canvas 50 x 77cm $9,500
Celia Perceval 'Black Cockatoos Deep in the Gully with Rock Pools on Bells Creek' oil on canvas 153 x 198cm $44,500
Celia Perceval 'White Cockies on the Mooney Mooney Creek' oil on canvas 153 x 198cm $44,500 SOLD