“The gift of time”: Lucy Turnbull creates art from conversations


Lucy Turnbull has been artist in residence at Sauerbier House in South Australia’s beachside suburb of Port Noarlunga for only a few days when we discuss her plans for the exhibition which will follow. She suggests, “We’ll see where the conversation takes us and work it out—like a drawing.” It’s akin to her very process of creating.

For Riverside, Turnbull is producing works from her residency that “engage with the community and explore my interaction with Port Noarlunga, which is a place of recreation or adventure; with holiday makers, their fishing rods and beach equipment, camper vans and kayaks. I am interested in pursuing this idea of activity and movement.”

Her process develops through drawing, “which is the fastest way to pull an idea out or to communicate. Hopefully people come to Sauerbier House during my residency and talk about their experiences . . . I’ll start noticing things I can build a storyline [and exhibition] from.”

It is a departure from Turnbull’s training as a figurative painter, with a masters from New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture. Her recent work has drawn upon structures and architectures, with an interest in broken boundaries and fallen fences that allow for unlikely connections. For Riverside, Turnbull envisages a different type of imagery, related to the “wonderful, gentle things that can happen with space and time”.

Turnbull’s exhibition will be based on foundational forms, shapes and spaces. There is, she says, “the age-old challenge of portraying depth within the flat rectangle, the scale and shape of the canvas, which might take the shape of a windscreen or the size of a kayak, window frames or beach towels”. Integral to these observations will be her thought patterns shaped in this place and “the gift of time”.

Lucy Turnbull
Sauerbier House
24 September—29 October

This article was originally published in the September/October 2022 print edition of Art Guide Australia.

Preview Words by Louise Martin-Chew