Living in the land of landscape

  • A painting by Gabrielle Collins of a hillside rendered in broad brown and white paint

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    Gabrielle Collins, Paris to Girona IV, 2014

    Oil on board. Photo: courtesy of NERAM.

  • A painting by Gabrielle Collins of a hillside rendered in broad brown strokes

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    Gabrielle Collins, Paris to Girona VII, 2014

    Oil on board. Photo: courtesy of NERAM.

  • A painting by Gabrielle Collins of a landscape with farmhouse and trees

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    Gabrielle Collins, Paris to Girona VXII, 2014

    Oil on board. Photo: courtesy of NERAM.

  • A painting by Michelle Hungerford of an abstracted landscape in yellow and grey

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    Michelle Hungerford

    Photo: courtesy of NERAM.

  • A painting by Michelle Hungerford of an abstracted landscape in blue and orange

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    Michelle Hungerford

    Photo: courtesy of NERAM.

It’s official. Australian landscape art has come of age.

Art critic John McDonald said recently that landscape is one of the few areas where we have “contributed something original to modern art’s global patrimony”.  And right now, there’s a smorgasbord of Aussie landscape on which to gorge or savour as your appetite demands.

If you are in the city, start with Drawing Out, the ‘successor’ event for the Dobell Prize and as such, is newly titled as the Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial, and currently at the Art Gallery of NSW. Although essentially a survey of drawing, the inaugural exhibition takes landscape as its focus with diverse delights on display, including Gosia Wlodarczak’s panoramic piece drawn directly on the expansive window overlooking Woolloomooloo Bay. Part scribble fest, part visual diary, part renaissance cartoon, the white pen lines melt into reflected light as the viewer looks through and past into the cityscape beyond.

These shows are not only a testimony to the power of paint, but pay tribute to the importance of being in the landscape in order to record and distil its essence.

Stepping out of the city and away from those poised with pencil, pen, or charcoal, several other full-bodied landscape shows feature throughout the state. At Shoalhaven City Arts Centre see Landscapes and Interiors by Elisabeth Cummings. Long-time painter, Cummings gets better and better, and in this show she presents a fresh suite of abstracted and essential landscapes, many in her trademark burnt orange, apricot and grey, a combination which makes so much Aussie sense.

The University of Wollongong Library has an exhibition of Early Illawarra Explorers on display until this weekend, so you might have to hurry to see this one. They have a great website specifically for this show; a perfect way to sample some of the historical works that take the region’s landscape as their subject, if you can't make the exhibtion itself. 

NERAM in Armidale is showing two plein-air artists, Michelle Hungerford and Gabrielle Collins, who have put together a spectacular exhibition, demonstrating their talent in using colour and brush work to translate the New England surrounds into powerful landscapes; full of form and delicate detail simultaneously.

These shows are not only a testimony to the power of paint, but pay tribute to the importance of being in the landscape in order to record and distil its essence. The Art Gallery of NSW has a series of videos on their Gallery Channel which illustrates the myriad of ways artists interact with their environment in order to tap its lifeblood. Here’s a couple of our favourites:

So this summer, leave Santa behind and launch yourself into some of Australia’s languid and lingering landscapes.

 

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