Meet Your Maker | Adele Dubarry

Adele Dubarry’s paintings and drawings are the result of careful observation of the natural world refracted through experimentation with oil paint, pastel and charcoal. A self-employed barrister, Dubarry took to art later in life, undertaking a masterclass at Adelaide Central School of Art in 2012. Since then she has taken up a workshop and class at the School each year, acknowledging her deep desire to make her mark. “Wanting to create is one of our most instinctive compulsions,” Dubarry says.

Dubarry started out as a realist, seeking to replicate the beauty and intricacy found in nature. But after taking up residence at Central Studios, now in Kent Town, and training under renowned Adelaide artist Christopher Orchard, she began to evolve a more abstracted approach. Now, Dubarry’s musings can lead to a wide range of results – from delicate oil paintings of lilies, to loose, intuitive mark making that only hints at the subjects from which they are inspired. One such example of her abstraction is the 2016 series Evidence. This series of charcoal drawings on paper, made through a visceral process of drawing and then rubbing back, have a Rorschach quality to them. As she lays them out on her studio floor, faces and bodies emerge and retreat.

In the same way, Dubarry’s studio wall is lined with large-scale oil paintings featuring abstract motifs in minimal colour palettes, set down with confidence. The artist notes the influence of American Abstract Expressionists Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell, known for their dynamic balance between restrained and boldly gestural brushstrokes.

More recently, Dubarry’s practice has shifted once more, as she begins to engage with the environment more politically. Bearing witness to both the splendour and the devastation of the River Murray has been the catalyst for a body of work developed for the 2017 South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival. In Managing the Murray, Dubarry paints the ghosts of the River Red Gums that line the Murray River, all the way through Lyrup and on to Loxton. Dubarry works from the memory of a place after visiting, rather than in situ or from a photograph, saying, “it takes time to get to know a landscape.”

Adele Dubarry will be showing in the group exhibition SALA On Terrace, at Terrace Furnishings on Glen Osmond Road, opening 27 August. Central Studios will host an Open Studio on 12 – 13 August where visitors are invited to meet the artists and see their work.

Joanna Kitto
First appeared in The Adelaide Review, Issue 449.