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5 months ago

Genius loci

The landscape is a rich starting point for the exploration of a broad variety of topics. From the connection to Country of Australia’s First Peoples through to the contemporary re-imagining of what a landscape is, artists celebrate the beauty, power and fragility of the natural world. In this exhibition the artists share a common interest in landscape. Working with glass they respond in a variety of ways to challenge the viewer’s perception of what is often regarded as a stylistically rigid genre.

The Australian landscape

The Australian landscape is a rich starting point for the exploration of a broad variety of topics. From the connection to Country of Australia’s First Peoples through to the contemporary re-imagining of what a landscape is, artists celebrate the beauty, power and fragility of the natural world. In this exhibition the artists share a common interest in landscape. Working with glass they respond in a variety of ways to challenge the viewer’s perception of what is often regarded as a stylistically rigid genre. The varied responses embrace and intersect with social, political, spiritual and emotional perspectives revealing the Australian landscape to be a dynamic - often highly charged - space that is revered as well as contested. The exhibiting artists’ works highlight parallels and contrasts, establishing a compelling dialogue between each artwork. The muted palette of Kirstie Rae’s substantial work Open door 1 (2018) correlates with the subtle print and glass works Shift #2 and Shift #3 (2017) by Hannah Gason. Punctuating these are the deep tones of Amy Schleif’s work Seeing No.13-a (2015), a work that the artist defines as “ …exploration through the use of colour layering, reflections and the passage of time.” Other accents are provided by the rich, earthy hues and visually textured surfaces of Holly Grace’s Moonlit - Thredbo Valley (2017) and Moonlit - Mt Tantangara (2017). Digital images from photographic expeditions into the remote regions of the Australian Highlands have been translated onto the surface of large-scale glass artworks through a photo-sensitive sandblast resist technique. The resulting work is both technically and aesthetically pleasing. A startlingly beautiful work by Jessica Loughlin sums up the evocative possibilities of landscape abstraction. With its out-of-focus planes of white on white, Unfolding Continuum viii (2018) is inspired by the South Australian salt flats. The softness disallows any definitive identification of place, landmark or horizon. By way of this disorientating visual effect, Loughlin recreates the sensation of a mirage of fog enveloping a silent landscape. Brenda L Croft’s lead crystal stone axes cast during her residency at Canberra Glassworks in 2017 draw inspiration from “…the original material cultural object that found me (not the other way around) on my people’s country during site visits with Gurindji elders and community members back in June 2014.” Installed in the darkened link area of the exhibition space, Grounded (black on red), Grounded (red) and Grounded (white) resonate with the colours of the red, white and black crystal that in the artist’s words “… reference corporeality – blood and skin colour, a sliding scale of authenticity and eugenicist classification.” Taken as a whole, the works in Genius loci emit much information about the changing nature of rural and urban landscapes and the impact of man on the environment. The diversity of the artists’ approach to landscape allows for associations and dialogues to converge and diverge, for shifts in perception and to reveal the flexibility of the term ‘landscape’ as viewed through the many faceted prism of art. 2 | GENIUS LOCI | 5 APRIL TO 3 JUNE

Amy Schleif Seeing No.13-a, 2015 engraved glass, oil paint 35 x 134.5 x 20 cm $750 Photo: Adam McGrath 3 | GENIUS LOCI | 5 APRIL TO 3 JUNE