Image: Peter Daverington, "Arcadia' 153 x 213cm Oil and Enamel on Canvas
Peter Daverington at Boutwell Draper Gallery in Redfern was the "stand out" visit on my quest to find interesting landscape painting (it's not an oxymoron to me! I do it, too)
Although emotionally extremely cool - well, what do you expect from an exhibition entitled "Cool Mountain" - the execution was of such quality it was gobsmacking. There is an institutional sized work (330cm x 440cm) on wood that I figure must have required a hydraulic lift to paint. Yet the precision of painted floating platforms, reflecting back into an invisible glass layer cutting through the picture plane at a 90degree angle, was amazing. Not a nervous line to be seen anywhere.
These works explore (according to the online information) "the cultural shift in perception of our natural landscape from the 19th century Romantic point of view to the resource hungry era of 21st century global economics". The artist uses digital manipulation of photographic material and renders the result in the old fashioned media of paint. The pictures incorporate architectural forms in an otherwise Romantic aesthetic, which is most often subsequently coated in an apparently resin-like finish reminiscent of a surfboard. That's quite a lot of fusing of genres and some heavy use of art history and strong conceptual ideas - all still pretty accessible to the slightly informed and interested viewer.
Whilst admiring the skill and conceptual elements of this exhibition, and easily able to envisage his work hung in the Museum of Contemporary Art let alone the 2011 Wynne Prize, I was still feeling unsatisfied in my quest for replenishment.
On the one hand, I feel like a dinosaur working in a painterly, intuitive mode, making very human mistakes and taking (often unproductive) risks; whilst on the other, I think this is what "ART" is about. The "human-ness" of the act, the investment of time and energy without knowing or controlling the outcome, and the willingness to find "the other" that cannot come from the logical application of media, the understanding between artist and viewer of the individual viewpoint that results - creativity without explanation or manifesto...
But I'm raving now. Go see it - let me know what you think. Is this the way of the future? Are expressionist painters dinosaurs??