Exhibition Review: The Big Landscape

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Presented by Art Images Gallery
Reviewed 12 March 2016

The Parade’s Art Images Gallery opens up again for another exhibition, this time presenting the natural beauty and stories of Australia in stunning colour.

The vastness and vibrancy of some of these beautiful Australian works definitely make you feel like you’re on a whirlwind journey to far-off lands. Though the title itself, The Big Landscape, isn’t very imaginative, it’s definitely suitable in capturing the essence of the exhibition. Australia is a big place, after all.

These works are all suitably big and bold, with even the smaller canvases (each artist contributed a large and small piece) seemingly bursting out of their frames. The varying styles, from Peter Harley Jensen’s smooth, almost Scandinavian works to Mark Warren’s joyful playgrounds of colour, really give you a sense of Australia as a place of great contrast and natural diversity.

The highlights of this exhibition are the works of Dave Groom. His spectacular landscapes of South-East Queensland are both realistic and alien. There’s a quality in the misty colours and oddly flesh-like tree bark that make these landscapes incredibly enticing.

Also playing a major part in this are the works of Indigenous artists Tjimpayi Presley, Gail Napagati, Maureen Douglas and Janie Kulyuru Lewis. There remarkable works all tell vivid stories of the land and history that can seem lacking from many photo-realistic representations. Napagati’s work in particular just seems to strike the perfect balance of colour and shifting form that captures some sort of spirit.

Rod Bax and Susan Tingay both take a more “traditional” and rural approach to their presentation of the landscape, with burnt fields and stark skies. Bax’s paintings, however, strike out further with lightning-bolt-like trees shooting out spectacularly from the rocks. Both artists manage to capture a “real” Australian atmosphere.

Siv Grava’s almost psychedelic, rainbow landscapes are marvels, the results belying what seems like a rather simple technique. Multi-coloured sunlight seems to shine through, under and over the similarly multi-coloured ground. While it might sound like a bit of a mess on paper, the canvases are delights to get lost in.

My personal favourite piece on display is Ross Wilsmore’s giant painting of a hazard-stripe-patterned car, sitting on a similarly patterned truck in the middle of a dusky paddock. The contrast of the bright, dangerous yellows and blacks and the musky, velvety pinks and blues of the sky really make the solid central objects pop.

Art Images Gallery isn’t a huge space, but it manages to pack a lot in. So go get in there and get lost in the wilderness.

Reviewed by James Rudd
Twitter: @james_Wrr

Venue: The Art Images Gallery, 32 The Parade, Norwood
Season: 4 March – 3 April

artimagesgallery.com.au

Image: “Out Along the Border” by Dave Groom, Oil on Canvas, 130x192cms

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