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"Beyond the Horizon" - Exhibition at Art Piece Gallery, Mullumbimby - 2013
During a visit to the Tate gallery in London a few years ago, I stumbled across a room of William Turner’s paintings unlike any I’d seen before. Thin, mostly translucent washes of yellows, pinks, blues and browns formed landscapes the painter was famous for. Only these works were different. They looked like under-paintings. There was hardly a wisp of detail; instead, the luminous washes of colour bordered on abstraction, precursors to Rothko. I was transfixed for the short moments we had to spend in the gallery, yet those paintings have lingered, forming a kind of revered, hazy, memory of an uplifting and inspiring art experience.
That room of paintings, along with the work of Howard Taylor, with his shimmering studies of the Australian landscape, have percolated in my visual memory since. There’s something to be said about ‘less is more’. In my case, I actually was doing an underpainting when the resulting canvas, hanging on my studio wall, begged to be left alone. The limited colour, lack of detail and streaky brush-marks produced a mystery. I didn’t know what I was looking at. I still don’t. And I liked it.
The paintings' titles once again come from my diary. They trace my inner thoughts and the changing seasons on my one and a half acres in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, where I’ve planted fruit trees, herbs, veggies, and natives. The titles reflect my learning experiences as the garden develops, inspires, teaches and grows. Juxtaposed with the soft, abstract, landscape-based imagery, I like the way these diary excerpts create more mystery, as they allude to snippets of my day to day life with the backdrop of garden-like dreamscapes.
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