High Country

Over her five years with Michael Reid, Waugh has forged a deeply original visual language. She wields her brush like a ballpoint pen, following the loops and arcs of a signature. The effect is one of rippling movement, as though these paintings were realised in the midst of striding through the bush and meandering down fire trails, rather than from a fixed and distant vantage point. By treating her brush in this way, Waugh proclaims an affinity with the essential principle of this immense country: it is never constant: always in flux.

With High Country, Melanie Waugh has absorbed the colours and boulder-strewn terrain of Cathedral Rock National Park on Gumbaynggirr and Anaiwan country, allowing this beguiling notch of the New England Tablelands to modify and inflect both her palette and forms. Located an hour’s drive from Waugh’s family home on the NSW Mid North Coast, Cathedral Rock holds deep significance for the artist. “In this series,” she writes, “I have continued with painting places of rest and solace. Here, ancient volcanic rocks have formed and created a natural sculpture park that is deeply immersive.”

Waugh holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the National Art School and a Master of Arts from UNSW. She has garnered recognition as a finalist in several prestigious art prizes, including the Hawkesbury Art Prize (2019), the King’s School Art Prize (2020), the National Emerging Art Prize (2021), and the 9×5 Landscape Prize (2021).

High Country is the last opportunity for collectors to acquire new pieces from Waugh in 2024.

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