Art, Identity & Place

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


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Collage and Texture

When I compare collage and mixed media compositions with oil painted compositions sharing the same topic, I become aware of how different media often suit particular topics.

In this case contemporary art about the environment and the forces of nature somehow is suited to the dryness of rice paper as well as handmade paper as they become simulations of the earth’s surface and landforms. The dusty terrain, desiccated rock surfaces, cracked salt-laden and powdery surfaces and dry sand depictions, although semi abstracted, seem so much easier to portray with various collages than with the lush textures and viscosity of oil paint. Impasto especially can look too lush when alluding to Australia’s ancient land.

One solution to attain the powdery delicate but ancient bleached look was when I mixed grated pastel into gesso and then applied liberally on top of gesso ground whether on canvas, paper or wood surface. I usually begin with this technique but am often not quite satisfied with the end result so I will keep on experimenting.

I feel as though this small series has ended for now and oil painting is calling once again back to psychological portraits where oil paint is a sympathetic medium in which to portray subtleties  and nuanced tonal values.

Contemporary landscape collage


Anbangbang Billabong cont.

 

 

The final rendition of Anbangbang Billabong with two more collaged digital images. In Journey, 2017, I returned to figuration referencing characteristics of Neolithic Goddess figurines where the creators combined abstracted anatomical elements with naturalism. I let random shapes suggest the presence of anatomical structure onto which I placed abstracted shapes to suggest particular anatomical features.

In Rock to Palette, 2017, I connected a palette image in the lower section of the composition with rock strata simulated and formed from different overlapped paper textures. Over time the formation of oxides complete a journey ending as pigment on a palette.


Anbangbang Billabong – cont.

Once again I overlaid two digital images with various types of paper where my aim was to play with transparencies.

In the first panel the image beneath was reversed with the pen – line outlined image of a palette becoming the site of departure for a metaphorical journey to the artists’ mental underworld of creative inspiration.

The first digital layer looked very different when a sheet of black pastel paper covered figurative elements of the composition beneath. A sheet of rice paper over black made a mottled grey texture of varying thickness within the paper’s texture. I left the bottom half remained much the same except for a piece of rust stained paper harmonious with orange sections of the composition.

 

An organic appearance of the first image transformed into a combination of abstraction plus elements of the organic.