Review / Rambeau paints ‘arresting’ images of the outback

art / Marc Rambeau, Australia’s red landscapes. Alliance Française, Turner. Until October 16. Reviewed by ROB KENNEDY.

Marc Rambeau’s, “Leigh Creek”. 

KNOWN for his landscapes, Marc Rambeau’s vivid and thickly textured oil paintings on the amazing hand-made French Colombe paper, underscore the colours and feeling of the Australian outback.

The vibrancy of light and texture in these works painted on a trip to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia is dramatic and arresting. Many painters have drawn inspiration for their works from this part of Australia, Hans Heysen (1877–1968) being just one.

The medium Rambeau has chosen for this group of artworks (Colombe paper) is so heavy and thick it perfectly reconstructs the feeling of the outback. This paper is like a canvas board or a construction material. The thick oil sticks he uses creates an ideal combination to capture the harsh dry earth of this territory.

Marc Rambeau’s “Hawker Landscape”, oil on colombe paper.

The works in this exhibition, at Alliance Française in Turner, offer a sense of the dryness and the space of the Flinders Ranges. But what stands out is the bright earthy palette of ochres and the occasional deep blue sky. Also well captured is the dramatic changes in light and all the artworks have caught a unique perspective of a distinctively artistic place.

The trees in the paintings stand in stark contrast to the hot, dry landscape and appear almost as apparitions. They break up the view and offer a slight touch of a fertile environment in an otherwise desolate place.

The Colombe paper chosen gives the perfect representation of this dry and cracked scenery. The medium of this unique material tells so much of the story of the earth in these paintings. Rambeau has captured something rare in these 19 images from an artistically inspiring part of Australia.

Born in France and now residing in Australia, Rambeau has lived in and worked throughout the South Pacific region where he regularly exhibits in Singapore, New Zealand, Tahiti, Noumea, and in Paris. He is represented in Canberra by Beaver Galleries.


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