Review: Capturing the the emotion of landscape

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FROM the ancient Aboriginal songlines to the impressionistic beauty of the Heidelberg school, from the figurative renderings of the Antipodeans to the abstraction of Fred Williams, let there be no doubt the Australian landscape is integral to the ethos of the Australian art.

“Marking Place” encompasses the work of three local artists, and highlights the way the Australian outback informs and extends expressions of belonging. Working in a range of mediums G W Bot, Anita McIntyre and Wendy Teakel move beyond the mere physical and geographical dimensions of landscape, and respond to its emotional and temporal fabric.

G W Bot’s work is striking with a disciplinary range including bronze sculptures, linocuts and watercolour paintings. In “Journey Through a Landscape”, pictured, she reduces the terrain to a few squiggly lines and a lush red-ochre wash. As the exhibition catalogue states: “Each mark offers an interpretation of the movements of time and its effect on the natural world”.

McIntyre’s fabulous ceramic platter series draws influence from Eastern artistic traditions and also references indigenous culture. These works explore the tension between the domestic utilitarian status of the platter and its pictorial beauty. Through a blend of earthy, sun-drenched hues “Untitled” captures the textural grains and rhythmic contours of the familiar overlapping Brindabella ranges.

In Teakle’s work we encounter a rural Australia. This is brilliantly portrayed in “Drought” where white settlement is invoked through the barbed wire segmenting on the landscape, and the plowing of fields. The piece’s minimal design and its grading of ancient and indigenous colours further suggest a mapping of white ownership.

“Marking Place” is a fascinating exhibit that encapsulates the poetics of landscape as expressed through the careers of the three remarkable artists.

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