Monday, December 30, 2013

CUTLINES: '...sense of perspective is under review.'

Composite photo of Cutlines 1.2 x .9m at Soapbox Gallery Brisbane 2002
In 2002, just before my exhibition Distance in London, I held a show called Cutlines at SoapBox Gallery. The gallery was one of the best artist run galleries in Brisbane at the time. Sadly it closed its physical doors a few years ago. However, the artist/director Franz Ehmann still keeps the website for his own work.
The main part of the Cutlines exhibition was a continuous work on paper that ran around two walls of the gallery space. The length 9m and the height 1.2m. The painting was a vast landscape. Below the painting I marked the wall at random intervals with cut-line indicators. Yep, that's right, I was prepared to cut the painting. Why? Because, I was thinking about how we divide land up into countries, states, and properties. If someone had wanted a piece of the painting, I'd have cut it...for a price of course! Yes, you guessed there's more to it than money...some commentary too...questions about ownership, borders, 'value' and more.
I also had some small works on paper on another wall. These were each given a title with the name of a property ie: Australian rural properties that I have known, or know of, such as 'Rugby', 'Glencoe', 'Taunton', 'Windulka', 'Oklahoma', 'Benelawin', 'Nungwai' and so on.
Dr. Sally Butler, an Art Historian at the University of Queensland wrote a review of Cutlines for 'Eyeline Magazine'. You can read the review on my website by clicking HERE . And, the 'Eyeline' website is HERE
 Detail of Cutlines Gouche and watercolour on paper 1.2 x 9m
Today I reread Dr. Butler's review of Cutlines. It's been awhile since I had last read it. She wrote something that whilst I've seen it before, it now leaps out as something quite prophetic!
The micro and macro scale of these paintings subverts traditional landscape format, but so too does the spatial scope of the work. Space, or place, is clearly being measured and creates a recurring impression that our sense of perspective is under review.
The exact bit that has me excited is creates a recurring impression that our sense of perspective is under review.
I feel quite humbled that Dr. Butler saw a 'review of perspective' in my work...over ten years ago...and today I articulate my interest in, and concern about, perspective here on this BLOG and very consciously in my painting. I suggest that developing skills in seeing multiple perspectives, even simultaneously, is something we humans need to think about. I suggest that modern cosmological research is revealing new perspectives which implore our attention. A renegotiation of perspective may hold clues to new ways of 'seeing'...and thus new and different questions....leading to answers never dreamed of. By untethering notions of 'landscape' from Earth-bound horizons, as cosmology invites us to do, may help us in our renegotiation. Landscape painting as much more to offer us...if we're game to launch ourselves beyond seemingly safe horizons.

Detail of Cutlines  Gouache and watercolour on paper 1.2 x 9m
Some of you may be wondering where Cutlines is now. did not get cut into pieces. Why? because people were horrified that I'd 'destroy' such, as they said, beautiful painting. Cutting a painting...slicing up the land...?
Cutlines is rolled up and has been under my bed for years. Maybe I will have to bring it out and coax it out of its rolled state!?
I've been painting over the festive season. One of the paintings I cannot show you, as it will be entered into the Mandorla Religious Art Prize later in 2014. I can't show you because one of the regulations is that the entered painting cannot have been exhibited before...and some would say that uploading an image on the web is akin to 'exhibition'. I am just being cautious.
But, there is another painting...nearly finished. It was inspired by the speech/article, by well known Australian author Tim Winton, which I wrote about in my last BLOG post 'Encountering Landscape'

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