A Graffitied Land (2016)
A GRAFFITIED LAND
Dark Horse Experiment, Melbourne 2016
This body of work combines my interests in landscape painting, graffiti, and the Tasmanian landscape.
In these paintings I am comparing the Tasmanian landscape to that of an urban laneway wall, with its many, many layers of paint: graffiti, attempted removal, over painted, more graffiti, slashed, buffed over, yet more graffiti, white washed etc. etc… As I am painting these works I'm wondering if it is possible to read a history of the land in these layers?
Most of the works in the exhibition began as photographs or sketches made whilst working in Tasmania's National Parks constructing walking tracks. The photographs or memories are then interpreted in oil paint on canvas or watercolour on paper in a fairly traditional style. Later I begin to layer over the top of these representational paintings with more gestural marks, applied either with a spray can or a roller. Through this process the original landscape becomes either partially or completely obscured.
While reading James Boyce's book Van Diemen's Land, it struck me (not for the first time) just how much the land we inhabit has endured, and how much it must have changed over time as geological forces have taken their course, and as human hands have worked and reworked the land. I have attempted to address this idea of a changing land in my paintings through a layered application of paint, and have suggested the role of the human hand by introducing graffiti-style mark making to certain paintings. In other paintings the final spray painted layer creates a misty veil through which the land can only just be seen.
Hopefully with this body of work the viewer gets a sense of a land constantly changing and evolving, much like the painted layers of an urban laneway wall.