ART WITH A social conscience: it’s not a new notion, but it’s one that often remains conceptual. This couldn’t be more opposite for Perth-based artist Tracey Harvey. A trained physiotherapist, Tracey is now a full-time painter and not only uses her exhibitions to raise awareness of various health issues, she also donates a portion of her sales to charities like The Hunger Project and the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation.
“I don’t believe in painting just for art’s sake or my own, I am an artist with a social conscience. My works draw on my aim to raise awareness of the frailty of the human condition,” says Tracey.
Her abstract expressionist paintings depict a hopeful and energetic quality, reflective of the resilience of the human spirit. Tracey is heavily inspired by the West Australian coastline and outback gorges, reimagining the natural landscapes as vibrant scenes that look as though they have been drawn from a kaleidoscopic dream.
While she loves using oils for their thick, buttery texture, Tracey more frequently works with acrylics due to their fast-drying nature. When beginning a new work she will start with a basic charcoal sketch on the canvas, and continue to build layers of texture and colour. She then abstracts the subject matter from the original idea, adding and editing until it barely resembles its starting point.
Tracey begins her day in the studio when her family has left the house. “I have a bright, airy studio so I love to crank up the music and paint all day long,” says the artist. A self-confessed night owl, she often paints late into the night.
Her next exhibition will support initiatives that are working to remove plastic from our oceans. “I love the ocean and spend as many weekends as possible out on our boat. I want to help preserve our precious environment for our children.”