Each of the artists explores the notion of land, doing so from a range of perspectives – the physicality and geography of the landscape and the natural world; the land as a site of disruption, contest and displacement and nature as a myth and metaphor. The show also questions the oeuvre of representation of the natural world and its place in art history.
Vincent Namatjira’s portraits of his grandfather Albert Namatjira and Rex Battarbee, who first introduced Albert Namatjira to western watercolour painting, call on Australia’s colonial history and the impact on Indigenous culture, themes which are also explored in Michael Cook’s photographs.
Oliver Watts’ gestural landscape paintings celebrate Australia’s beauty while also addressing questions of geographical sovereignty and proprietary interests on Australian land. His practice also calls into question the genre of landscape painting and its historical role in propagating the status quo.
Petrina Hicks’ photographs draw on symbolism, archetypes and mythology, and the way the pool of symbols is continually drawn on, reframed and reinterpreted over time.
Izabela Pluta’s practice is rooted in the experience of place, the effects of time and the construction of reality. Her works examine the various ways that place is manifested or experienced, exploring her interest in serendipitous encounters, the effects of time and how the photographic image operates as a vehicle for witnessing various states of ruin.
Michael Cook’s photographs restage colonial-focused histories and re-image the contemporary reality of indigenous populations. Cook invites viewers to speculate Indigenous cultures living at the forefront, even a majority, rather than manipulated to live within the confines of a white man’s world.
Simon Degroot uses strategies of disassembly and reassembly, abstraction and fragmentation to explore how sampled shapes from sources such as nature and architecture can be translated into painting.