Long Shadowed Land (2012)
La Trobe University Visual Arts Centre, Bendigo.
June 27 - July 29, 2012
I've often wondered, in Australia, whether the pursuit of representing the landscape is an attempt to reconcile a disconnection from it; an attempt to tame the wild and somehow contain the ancient through artful domestication. I would argue a defaulting rhetoric is also employed for repositioning this colonial desire and couching it in quasi-spiritual terms. This is the notion of a ‘sacred’ land, yet perhaps it is more of a colonial historicisation, a land ideally fixed in the pioneer past where nature can be 'captured' in pictorial form, made picturesque. Long Shadowed Land explores contemporary uncertainty towards the ideal of this tokenised sacred in the Australian landscape. It recognises that amidst ideals of representation, this land, like any other that is or has been inhabited, is foreshadowed by loss (in particular death) and the notion of sacredness masks a subtle residual melancholia. In this context, each vision of the land presented in Long Shadowed Land mirrors a finite self looking out across the open terrain. - Michael Needham