Art, Identity & Place

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


Lake Mungo Landscape (work in progress)

At a half way stage through another Mungo scape difficulties often arise. Before this stage I often feel that I have the composition under control with the first few layers of thin lean paint consistency shapes texture, line, colour and forms coalesce into a flash memory of the particular place. Random shapes that settle after poured, spattered and bleeding paint often suggest other avenues. At this juncture another mental image appears and interrupts the original flash memory. By letting the composition evolve and not trying to control it by wanting to recapture a former memory, some other aspect often reveals itself. I have to wait, then pounce and hope that I will like it.

 


Lake Mungo Experience

In this continuation of the Mungo Experience I tried to merge the idea of history represented by the ear and converge it in the artist’s mind with the atmosphere of this place represented by the sun.

 

 

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Previous stages of Watching by a Mungo Dune, 2016

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Lake Mungo and Poet

This painting has been through the wringer. I was trying to capture an image of a poet or artist entering the landscape as it seeps into the mind and the person ‘becomes’ the landscape and the image of the person fuses with aspects of it in this case, one of the dunes at Lake Mungo. In my first rendition in moody grey green I returned to an older type of imagery of the visionary figure and interior, a total side track that I dropped and began the thought process. The harsh outdoors, the heat and desiccated landscape and its effect on the artist/poet took over again. changing from artist and brush and light bulb to artist near dune with sun replacing the light bulb image. The dune image also obscured the light bulb.

Reversal didn’t work and I felt that the weight and volume of the head had been lost in colour and brush strokes. I dithered and fiddled with the image of the ear representing ‘history’ and ‘information’ as it changed from an obscured shape to a clearer representation. Unhappy with head in box imagery and as time went by the painting changed  from that of artist into the representation of the poet with a vast blue sky background.

The meaning also evolved when I painted the head in mental constraints represented by lines of a box shape outside of which an ear reached to earth and so I titled the composition at that stage, The Sound of History at Mungo, 2015. Not happy and time passed again.

I decided to cover up what was looking like fussiness. The head solid but part of the forehead became dune shaped and also the dune image reflected onto the black spectacle lens. I repeated the image of the dune shape near the mouth as a way to represent the poet’s words. Then it seemed that the basic shape of the dune being a triangle was shared like the letter “A” placed on the left of the composition; the experience of the flesh merging with the matter of the landscape created the symbol. The title now is The Flesh Created the Symbol at Lake Mungo, 2016

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