Bernadette (B) Twomey is an Australian abstract artist who creates bold canvas art from her Brisbane studio. B’s artwork is striking, inspired by colour, mood, emotion and season. Her artwork celebrates Australian life in vibrant colours and forms.
Her signature work is acrylic on canvas, and blends abstract art with organic, botanical shapes. She often describes her style as “messy botanicals” or even “whimsical botanicals.” It’s a merge of two great loves, where all the drips, splats and chaos of abstract art pull into a tapestry of organic shapes and silhouettes.
Growing up in Far North Queensland, Bernadette spent a lot of time outside and in the rainforest as a child. Feeling a sense of wonderment in the coolness of the forest, and the layers and tapestry of shapes of leaves, flowers, and vines. While her paintings bring these same components, she enhances them with absurd colours like hot pink and cobalt blues. For B, this adds other dimensions to childhood memories, and provides a massive sense of peace.
Plants, leaves, native flowers, and vines become jumbled, and unpredictable. There’s a feeling of irony in the bold colour placement. Invoking joy and often, triggering a connection that’s personal and significant for the beholder.
“People will often tell me, “I love this, it makes me happy.” I think what they see in my paintings is not necessarily what it means to me. Maybe it's more about sparking their own emotional memory. So my work is a trigger for their own happiness and desire for others to bear witness to that. It’s a beautiful exchange.”
Creativity has always been part of B’s world. She loved art at high school, particularly acrylics on canvas, and took every art subject available. After studying animation and digital design, B fell back in flow with the simplicity of acrylics on canvas and her love for painting took root again.
In her twenties, B was writing songs and playing guitar in bands around the Eastern suburbs of Sydney. Surrounded by other musicians, artists, and actors, her pathway to some sort of full-time creative career was inevitable.
B has travelled extensively both in Australia and overseas, and lived in the UK for several years. Sketchbooks and visual diaries were always nearby, indulging her sense of awe towards nature and place. On returning to Australia from Europe, a renewed love affair with the colours and shapes of her homeland took hold. These are heavily celebrated in her work today.
Painting from a rich lived experience, B seeks to interpret her emotional memory of shape, and colour in new and exciting ways. Recalling the exact shade made when light falls over rocks on a West Australian coastline. Or pink clay on a hillside far from the city. Boldness of bright tropical flowers. As well as the English woods rich in leaf litter. The trees, and their leaves. But also, their moss, and their lichen, their vines, and their insects. B sees it all - so full, so bursting with colour.
Now a full-time artist based in Brisbane, she is also the owner and curator of James Clark Gallery, in Stafford Heights, which she affectionately calls her “little gallery on the hill.” It’s a place where people can experience her work first-hand, as well as those of other Brisbane art makers.
September - October 2023 • ‘BOTANICA’ Solo Exhibition • Brunswick Street Gallery, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
July - August 2023 • ‘New Beginnings’ Solo Exhibition • Kaizen Gallery, Geebung, Queensland, Australia
March - May 2023 • ‘Messy Botanicals’ Solo Exhibition • Grasslands Gallery, Tambo, Queensland, Australia
December 2022 • ‘The Other Art Fair’ Saatchi Art • Barangaroo, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
"Immersing myself in a painting creates two things, a deeply intricate outcome on the canvas and a wonderful simplification in my brain. Overthinking is eliminated once I have a brush in my hand and in an almost trance like state, I paint. New shapes emerge and new species of plant life are created as I fill the canvas with colour." B.TWOMEY