In the work of artist Tracy Dods, men clad in business suits walk into windswept seas. What little hair they have left flies around their head in the wind, grey and wiry. These lone businessmen that form Tracy’s primary recurring motif appear disorientated – are they lost or free? Drawing inspiration from the businessmen she sees milling through Martin Place, Sydney, Tracy effectively explores contradictory notions of freedom and oppression.
“My work has always been about social observation, seeing the humour and the hidden desperation of those businessmen who scurry to and from their offices,” says the artist. “I was inspired by the beautiful and dynamic movement of a flock of bewigged and gowned barristers; the gait of a man in a suit, nearing his retirement.”
Contrasting these figures against the untamed nature of the ocean creates a poignant metaphor that dives to the heart of the human condition. She questions societal expectations and the goals we set ourselves, and explores the potential for human greatness.
Although Tracy attended art school for a time, she considers herself self-taught. “I developed my own peculiar way of painting and found greater inspiration and teachings from following local artists and the broader artist community,” she says.
Using water-based acrylic paints, Tracy imbues her works with vibrancy and life. Her use of colour and gentle brush strokes creates a sense of movement that flows throughout each painting.
At first glance, this subject matter could appear bleak, but if you look a little closer you discover the artist’s wry sense of humour and great capacity for empathy. “I want people to see things differently,” she says. “I want people to see the beauty in the ordinary.”