13 March – 30 May | Gallery 1
This dynamic exhibition of five contemporary landscape Australian painters, Max Berry, Holly Greenwood, Dan Kyle, Bronte Leighton-Dore and Andrew Pye explores individual perspectives of elements of the Australian bush, the terrain, landscape and key symbolism of trees and flora in their immediate environment.
All five artists are emerging as contemporary painters in the Australian art scene. Berry, Greenwood, Kyle and Leighton-Dore are New South Wales based (Sydney and Blue Mountains), the four have partnered with local artist Andy Pye, the group have connections both through friendship but also their oeuvre, their painting practice and style. Each artists surrounding environments are re-interpreted in large scale paintings and works on paper.
This collection of artists and their work presents a diversity of expression and contemporary representation of the Australian Bush.
“Everything is object-y and potent. I aim to extract this magic from the moment. The stone is rough, the sun is warm, the shadow cool. Even in such tiny events you can sense the reverberations of a much larger universe. “
Max Berry’s work comprises semi-fictional paintings, bucolic scenes, vignettes and simple observation. Particular attention to line, colour, and the play between light and shadow reveals a single-minded attempt to slow time down. The paintings work in concert: dreamlike images of memory, levitation, water, and clouds condense to produce a companionable silence – an open invitation to the viewer to examine for themselves what they see.
International residencies and regional trips within Australia have equipped Berry with a pool of reference material: sketches, notes and photographs from these journeys crowding his studio. A slow, intuitive editing process has allowed specific details, memorable locations and persistent motifs to resurface for closer examination, before being committed to paint. In this way, disparate places and subjects are brought together without their relationships being overly determined or dictated. Berry manages to conjure a place of solitude and reflection. A single glimpse, a curious excursion that considers the relationship between world and self.
How are we to inhabit the poetic space separating places, words and things? Berry proposes a kind of magical presence in a world that is not quite our own but is, nonetheless, most welcoming.
Image: Max Berry courtesy of Jacqui Turk.
“It’s still about the Australian Bush. What continues to grab me is the awkward lines, the gnarly black lumps converted to bee hotels, the hollow logs converted to snake hotels, the soft ripples of the well satisfied river gums and the chaos of the bush floor arrangements.
Then, of course, there’s the tension between trees and the gravity of the rocks (at various temperatures) between them.”
Image : Andy Pye
Hovering somewhere between figuration and abstraction my practice is a direct response to my daily experiences of living in the bush.
From my studio on Darug land on the fringe of the Wollemi National park I witness the landscape in all of its stages of change, through the seasons, studying the daily changes in light, temperature and atmosphere, from early morning right through to sundown, and on a larger scale, from catastrophic events exacerbated by global warming such as drought and bushfire.
image: Dan Kyle, courtesy of David Clare
The works in the Wangaratta group show are a selection of plein air studies I’ve painted in numerous locations over the last three years. Locations include Hill End, Broken Hill, South Coast, North Coast and the Southern Highlands. There is something incredible about sitting with and attempting to capture the essence of a place through colour, line and form. The works are always collaborations between myself and the landscape dictated by weather and light. These pieces are incredibly special as they become blueprints for my larger works in oil. Fragments of place and ephemeral experiences.
image: Bronte Leighton- Dore, Courtesy artist.
image: Andy Pye, Gully View, Mansfield, 2020, oil on canvas, 153 x 153cm . Image courtesy of artist and Boom Gallery.