Art, Identity & Place

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

Revision of “Detritus 2”

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Detritus 2

Detritus 2, 2003 – 2016, mixed media on board, 92×120 cm had languished in my storeroom for several years and was exhibited recently and then put away. As I set about  bubble wrapping it something said “wait a minute I see in my mind’s eye a  call for a little improvement”.  I usually resist making so called improvements because I liked the original altho it felt a bit heavily red-brown. The urge for orange prompted me, and after all it had been inspired by my being in Katherine Gorge back in 2001. My memory was of an orange weathered edifice, so off I went hoping that I wouldn’t mess it up.

I remixed in gesso grated pastel, acrylic and a touch of crimson red gouache knowing that the adhesive quality of the gesso and a little cad. yellow acrylic had lasted for over 10 years without fading or deteriorating by flaking or crumbling.

The crumpled canvas simulating a rock face also remained in good condition and had absorbed pigment which hadn’t faded.

In my drawn section with indian ink and done on site and then later in my studio incorporated into the composition, I depicted small pieces of vegetation that littered the gorge after a wet season deluge which deposited them on a ledge where a group of us were painting.

After much pouring of different colours and tones, letting them settle in formations that resembled the textures of the place I felt that the painting had more body. The composition changed slightly too with the introduction of a dark vertical line on the left and removal of the orange direction lines now covered with a large passage of earthy dusty orange.

I’d like to think that the viewer’s eye is drawn further into the image altho I hope I haven’t lost too much tension in the process. I like to create tension between the observed aspect done on site with the imaginary background, which encases it, produced in my studio.

 

Author: elainedesterre

I have been producing oil paintings, mixed media, prints (etching), digital prints and drawings for many years travelling to the Australian outback and overseas for inspiration and further education. My formal education consists of a PhD in painting and a BA in printmaking and my artwork is represented in public and private collections. My purpose and ongoing challenge is to create a gender-balanced and environment-focused iconography within the Western canon of European oil painting. These themes find expression within imagery about time, memory and identity as well as in geomorphology of evolutionary and environmental significance.

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