Wednesday, March 20, 2013


This Is A Landscape Gouache on paper 30 x 42 cm 2001
I was rummaging through my map drawers, where I keep my unframed works on paper, and found this painting [above] This Is A Landscape which I painted in 2001. When I painted it I remember my intention was to be more obvious than obvious, by writing 'This is a landscape' across the entire page. The words give form to the 'landscape' between the tree trunks.
Regular readers will know of my interest in untethering notions of landscape from Earth. In 2001 I had not really formulated my ideas, but I remember wanting to disrupt landscape. I wanted to question our complacency towards landscape painting, to unsettle the ubiquitous traditions of landscape, to postulate whether we humans find vulnerable sanctuary within landscape. 
When I lived out west, in Goondiwindi, there was an expectation that I'd paint landscapes. This expectation irritated me a bit, because city dwelling artists were not expected to paint cityscapes. Some did and others...most....did not. It seemed such a simplistic attitude. Yet, the 'regional artist' label hung heavy with expectation around my neck. I was angry with landscape!
I remember having an exhibition in Brisbane in 1995 or 1995...can't remember the exact date, but my second daughter was still a baby...where the paintings were my early tree-of-life works. Golden Lives [below] was in the exhibition. Back then for me, the tree-of-life was more of a familial tree, rather than the cosmic/universal one I dance with now! The tree, or my motivation to paint it, was about family and connection across generations. Regular readers will know that my ideas were vastly broadened when I exhibited in the Middle East in 2005.  
Golden Lives Mixed media on paper 1993
But back to 1994/5. At the opening of the exhibition a person from a Queensland government Arts organisation kept referring to the trees as gum trees! He was not the only one. I was more than a little irritated! My Goondiwindi address seemed to stick to me like mud!
When I moved to Brisbane in 2000 I found there was no expectation to paint landscapes. The irony is that, without the expectation, I began to feel much freer to paint landscapes ...or my versions of them!
And now, after years of being immersed in landscape, literally and artistically, I am suggesting we need to untether notions of landscape from being Earth bound, because whilst Earth maybe our home, the Universe is our environment. Looking beyond Earthly horizons provides new and different perspectives, which may reveal new pathways for the future, act as catalysts for co-operation, provide alternative insights...and more.  A cosmic context is really very horizons, frontiers and places to explore, at closer and farther distances of space and time. Landscape is no longer 'safe' or expected! I think it is now expectant! And, that's an exciting challenge for us.
Galactic Horizons and Beyond oil on linen 85 x 150 cm 2012
Absolutely beautiful!!!!!!!
Solo Sunflower photo taken by Wilfred Brimblecombe

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