Thursday, 20 July 2017

Traffic Jam Galleries Anakita Escalante and Danielle McManus


The latest exhibition at Traffic Jam Galleries features two artists from its stable – Anakita Escalante with Sydney Surroundings and Danielle McManus with Wild.
Anakita Escalante’s work is an exploration of the relationship between the man-made and the natural, examining how we live and interact from the fringes of Sydney to the tumultuous bustling of the CBD. Her invigorating paintings feature a glorious use of texture and strong, dynamic composition.
Her subjects range from the iconic Coca Cola sign at Kings Cross, the Harbour Bridge and the Archibald Fountain to striking rock faces and crashing waves (Sea Breeze).
In Fun on the Waves we are almost on board the bobbing boats. There are some striking portraits of Hornsby Lighthouse at different times of day while Rainy Day – The Rocks is grey and mysterious.
She captures some magnificent cloud formations as well as some striking lightning bolts  stunning lighting in Morning Glow – Hornsby Lighthouse Sydney, as well as some large cold, harsh and forbidding cliff faces – Crashing Waves Beach Head. 
As Eskalante says, “Our natural surroundings fascinate me, especially the beauty, form, and colours of the Australian Landscape. I particularly find that my ideal, favourite place would be near the ocean alongside cliff faces. Seeing the power and strength of the waves crashing is so beautiful to watch. Through my paintings, I look to celebrate the nature within its surroundings and the emotional connection of all things to the earth.
Danielle McManus’ adorable paintings are enchanting and eye-catching. Her exhibition blends two of her passions – her concern for Australian native flora and fauna within its natural habitat and endangered species, and people celebrating being themselves in a less materialistic way and seeking personal freedom and truth.
The humans in the paintings have McManus’ trademark huge sorrowful eyes, distinctive to her work. In the depiction of the flora and fauna the works are very finely detailed.
There is a marvellous closeup portrait of a black cockatoo with its stunning feathers. In Nurture Your Wild a fox is being hugged, whilst in Bad Hair Day two birds are nesting in a young person’s hair.
Doe Eyed depicts a charming young girl wearing antlers. Embrace Your Wild is finely detailed with a girl wearing fox ears holding a numbat, wattle and waratahs whilst a butterfly flits nearby.
A featured work is Wild Party with a young person in fox ears at a tea table with a Rosella parrot, a numbat and birds. Two other featured are Imaginary Friend – one dark, one light, the two halves of a person? – mirroring each other? perhaps like Rosalind and Celia in the Forest of Arden? only here it is a forest of gum trees and waratahs.
This is linked in as well to Wild Rhapsody where it is summer and a cellist and piccolo player are delighting a fox, a numbat and various birds in the forest.
As McManus says “So many of our native species are under threat due to land clearing and the introduction of feral animals. I hope by painting these species that people may realise what a travesty it would be for these gorgeous creatures to disappear. I would love for everyone to embrace our wild!”
Anakita Escalante’s Sydney Surroundings and Danielle McManus’ Wild are on view at Traffic Jam Galleries until 22nd June.

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