LOST 20-28 MAY 2017
Eramboo Artists Environment
Installation documentation and video coming soon.
The Australian bush conjures up a deeply felt anxiety in many whom may have, at some point, wandered too far from the track. Beguiled by its beauty and the excitement of exploring the untamed, imagination takes hold and adventure can soon lead to misadventure. Stories of lost children – in early colonial paintings and narratives such as Picnic at Hanging Rock – have become folklore, holding their place in the Australian psyche.
The Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park is the chosen setting for this exhibition which seeks to re-imagine the notion of being lost in the Australian landscape via painting, installation and photography. White Australia has an unease with our identity as displacers of Aboriginal heritage and it is this anxiety which has been explored time and again through film, literature and art. Sadly, the Garigal ancestors of this landscape are lost to us; their rock carvings are set to fade away as there are no known descendants with the wisdom to perform the re-carving ceremony.
In response to the landscape around Eramboo, my work focuses on the figurative aspect of the landscape via painting and a new aspect of my practice – photographing my paintings within the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Placing a painted portrait or figurative work in the landscape heightens the paintings meaning, which in turn accentuates the psychology of the landscape and a sense of the uncanny. The intention of the installation is to create an immersive experience for the viewer. By exhibiting paintings away from the traditional gallery space and effectively sending the audience on a bush walk, they will experience the works in the poetic Australian light. Furthermore, the displaced works and audience is a reminder of the bush and its eerie magnetism. The oil paintings on aluminium installed on trees are influenced by “lost children narratives” and also conjure up missing persons’ posters.
Conceptually, my work is closely aligned with the Australian Gothic mode and references psychological connection to landscape – specifically white Australian anxiety associated with being alone or lost within a foreign landscape. My work interprets imagery of people ‘lost’, whether in a physical or emotional sense. Referencing a bygone era, paintings on aluminium have been directly influenced by daguerreotypes, working the painting as though on a photographic plate – scratching and sanding back the layers to reveal aluminium and a damaged aesthetic and conjuring up ghostly images of figures, histories and identities erased.
Peta Dzubiel 2017