Art, Identity & Place

How wild places, deep time and archaeology inform my contemporary art process


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Mungo

Mungo, 2015, collagraph and chine colle

Mungo, 2015, collagraph and chine colle on BFK Rives, 28×14 cm

Another version of landscape elements at Lake Mungo in printmaking media that consists of a roll up, chine colle and collagraph.

I returned to collagraph but thought I’d try it on metal plates instead of the more malleable wood or cardboard. However metal leaf as a part chine colle was not compatible as both attracted each other except in this case where the metal leaf had already been placed onto paper.

The process started unexpectedly when I had been working on a viscosity method of printing and had a ghost print left on my roller that looked more interesting than the viscosity print so I rolled it onto a sheet of BFK Rives 300 gsm and let it dry.

I noticed a square sample of gold leaf on red paper that I’d put away for later that matched the ghost roll.  So the bright yellow of the roll left over from a viscosity print had picked up a red layer from the viscosity print and melded into the yellow layer.

I made a collagraph with scrunched tissue paper and carborundum in the shape of a dune glued and sealed onto a metal plate.

I inked the plate with blue black and raw umber with plenty of extender (maybe more would have lightened it a little). The plan  for the darker layer was to tone down the layers beneath and tie together the gold leaf on the chine colle and the rather cool almost acid background yellow.

I love the art of the East and its textural nuance with which this prints seems to have an unexpected affinity but I’m not sure whether it quite captures the moonscape of Mungo. It does something else I think perhaps pointing me in another direction?


‘Painting’ a Sand Dune at Lake Mungo

This painting began in 2003 when I explored Lake Mungo for the second time doing small sketches and taking frottage on hand made paper from hardened clay of the now arid lake surface. I wanted to understand the hidden structure of this area that sat upon the Gol Gol formation.

I lost my way half way through the painting and started with a horizontal format as I tried to capture the expanse of the area. So the title changed from Lake Mungo Memory to ‘Painting’ a Sand Dune at Lake Mungo. This idea conflicted with how I imagined a depiction of the way colour, red from nearby hills, deposited on the lunette producing and earthy pink tinge into the sand that was then ‘sculpted’ by rain into small pyramid shapes.

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Exploration at Lake Mungo

Background

This painting has been through the wringer and almost landed in the bin.

Originating as an etching, gessoed, painted in a grey mixing raw umber, cobalt and white with a touch of naples yellow the image, I imagined it as an interior containing references to the painting process, vision and reflection. Then I sanded it back, employed  new colours because images from Lake Mungo kept drifting up and pulling me in a different direction.

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The first version, as an interior in soft grey-green, referred to poetics around vision that morphed into a landscape/mindscape about the light at Mungo and sunset. Still in vertical portrait format I reestablished the face and it then became about how we position ourselves within the landscape on many different levels.

One level was about trying to integrate European oil painting conventions into the Australian landscape-a popular theme by many artists. On another level, my question was about the relationship of humanity to the environment and whether or not we see ourselves as dominating it or working with it? Then there was the way in which the representation of women and nature have been depicted by the dominant culture as possessions onto which all sorts of objectification has occurred.

I’ve tried to find a way to express being in the landscape. The exaggerated depiction of ear refers symbolically to history.

I like to combine figuration, ( plastic and volume) with elements of abstraction.


Etching Collage about Lake Mungo

Two more images about Lake Mungo that refer to the landscape and how it may be understood in relation to its geology.

I have continued combining metallic leaf, handmade papers and intaglio with some intaglio as collage.