Paintings > 2020 'It is Not Down in Any Map; True Places Never Are'

Oil on canvas
183 x 150 cm

City of Perth Cultural Collections, exhibited at my 2020 solo show 'It is Not Down in Any Map; True Places Never Are', Stala Contemporary, Leederville, WA.

The painting Haze explores the relationship between urban and rural communities as the natural environment changes. The changing global climate is marked by an increase in extreme weather events. Haze collages a fire-fighter attempting to hose down several flood damaged cars, as some distant figures interact over a boiled billy. In recent years, society has become much more aware of how their daily choices affect the overall ecosystem. The predicament facing the fire-fighter is symbolic of the current indecision and anxiety that many feel towards making these choices, or by climate inaction. Most significantly, the anxiety towards our inability to meet the agreed outcomes outlined by the Paris Agreement (2015).

The figures within the painting are artists themselves, taken from the painting The Artist Camp (1886) by Tom Roberts. By placing the camping artists within the scene, it sets up a line of questioning about what painting can offer to this changing situation. It also acknowledges how adaptable past generations of humans were, and how humans have become more reliant on material possessions and technology as time has passed. This sense of insistent consumerism is reflected by the plastic blow-up Kangaroo; nature becoming artificial in our desire for increased capital and economic growth.

Characteristics of the Heidelberg School of Painting, such as the isolated cottage, rolling hills, and dense foliage, have become symbolic representations of what Australians consider a rural landscape. Using source images taken from a rural property in Nannup,WA, these characteristics are juxtaposed against the looming skyscrapers of the Perth Central Business District.These buildings suggest a level of control over the future of our relationship with the environment. Many decisions of this relationship will be experienced initially through the weather, shown in Haze by parts of the sky and the wider composition is broken up by shapes and hues derived from weather forecast graphics.