Alice and Beyond: Recent Work by JANET and MIKE GREEN

Recent travels in Central Australia are the inspiration for new artwork by Janet and Mike Green now showing at Lauraine Diggins Fine Art. Alice and Beyond extends existing artistic ideas in the light of the majestic ancient landscape of central Australia encompassing Uluru, Kata Tjuta and the MacDonnell Ranges.

Art Exhibition currently on at Lauraine Diggins Fine Art in Melbourne precinct, Victoria, Australia.
From Saturday 17 November 2018 to Saturday 15 December 2018

Uluru image Angkerle, Standley Chasm image Still Life with Grape, Kata Tjuta image Still Life with Persimmons, Anthwerrke, Emily Gap image Kundju Gorge image Guddea  image Sticks and Bones image Overlooking Ulpma, Serpentine Gorge image

Published by anonymous on Wednesday 14 November 2018.
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Janet’s usual preferred format of depicting a realistic array of still life elements within the landscape is accompanied by watercolour studies painted en plein air and a series of ceramic works. Following the tradition of Dutch seventeenth century still life painting, with their elaborate display of fruits and ornate vessels, Janet selects her objects to complement and contrast with the landscape depicted in the background of her paintings; creating a discourse between the rich use of colour in the foreground still life and background landscape, and the undulating forms of the landscape and the elements carefully selected to draw the viewer’s eye. There is an inherent symbolism in any such ‘nature morte’, with links between the ripeness and subsequent decay of the fruits on display. This may perhaps be seen to be echoed in Janet’s usually fertile landscapes which tend to eschew any signs of human intervention; a commentary on pristine nature and today’s real concerns of environmental and conservation issues. Despite this, Janet’s work tends towards a joyous play of colour, light and form, drawing the viewer into the landscape and delighting us with the opulent display.

This exhibition sees Janet extending her usual motif and preferred square format, choosing to focus on just the landscape in works such as Eucalypts, Yeperenje Park, Jessie Gap where the complex twisting tangle of eucalypt branches allows the viewer to feel the disorientation navigating the bush or in Uluru where the commanding presence of this ancient monolith rising from the red earth is fully realised.

Mike Green, known as one of Australia’s most skilled watercolourists, able to produce works in this difficult medium over a large scale, has here turned to using synthetic polymer on canvas, which captures the intense saturated colour of the red earth and wide blue skies. The paintings are based on gouache studies created during his time in the central Australian landscape, a medium much more forgiving and conducive to mixing colours and capturing images quickly with the ever-changing light. The viewer is transported through each work’s sense of place from the serenity of Early Morning, Ormiston Gorge; to the dizzying heights of Ulpma, Serpentine Gorge to the almost abstract Kunju Gorge, where the full range of colours is understood and appreciated as one approaches closer to the painting. The spirituality of place is also imparted, in some cases inspired by indigenous stories, such as In Silent Pool…. many bones down there, depicting a bunyip from Oodgeroo Noonuccal’s (Kathleen Walker) poem.

Mike continues to explore his personal heritage, Anglo-Irish on his father’s side and Tongan experience on his mother’s side, with excerpts from historic family correspondence featuring regularly in his work. Mike’s striking, elaborate multi-panelled constructions with their links between present and past, family history and memory, reveal an artist delighting in materials, with paint on paper of different types, plastic and strips of text carefully and deliberately combined to create a rich and complex whole. They are almost sculptural in their construct. And indeed, the exhibition includes two sculptures, Guddea’s Gatherer and Bones a series of eight individual ‘bones’, which can be piled together in an endless series of configurations, inscribed with snippets of family letters expressing the writer’s experience and attitude to war.

Location

5 Malakoff Street North Caulfield VIC 3161 AUSTRALIA