Various artists: Interpretations of landscape. Form Studio and Gallery. 1/30 Aurora Ave, Queanbeyan. Until May 19.
This is an impressive exhibition in size, variety and quality. Of the seven artists represented, five display paintings and/or drawings, and two ceramics. The work is spread across Form's two gallery spaces and these are nicely linked by the inclusion of ceramic works in each.
The initial éclat is imbued by the symphony of landscape paintings on the gallery walls. These are mostly characterised by the abstract approaches adopted by their makers, although "realistic" interpretations are also present. Most of the works are large and this also adds to the majesty innate in the subject matter.
Pamela Honeyfield shows two large works alongside a suite of nine smaller works. The latter (Hills and far away) depict hills, trees and other topographical elements that populate the landscape. These are "real" but the infusion of a substantial dose of abstraction imbues each of them with the "essence" of landscape, with that spirit of place that gives each "place" a unique identity.
Honeyfield's landscapes are instilled with a marvellous energy, delivered by her active brushstrokes, astute use of line and subtly modulated palette. Her larger works (The still of nightfall and Upland and eucalypts) beautifully demonstrate the efficacy of the elision of the abstract with the real and again demonstrate her ability to capture the "essence" and drama of the places depicted.
Felicity O'Connor's works take an almost totally abstract take on the landscape. Her high-lit palette is activated by a lot of painterly activity in Song of trees. However this activity overloads the canvas, imparting a sort of looseness to the surface that subsumes any intimation of the underlying structures that give shape to the natural world.
Kathleen Rhee's works reveal her understanding of the astute use of line and painterly effects. In Our mountains are blue too she offers sweeping mountain vistas where depth and intersecting forms are subtly indicated through her graphic control. The use of an almost monochrome palette in this work is beautiful and used to great effect.
Monochrome palettes also characterise the work of Jana Hunt. The surfaces of her seascapes are activated by carefully controlled brushstrokes that reflect the movements of the sea's surface. Cabbage Tree Bay and The rocks beneath are especially effective.
Vanessa Ashcroft's work is characterised by a particularly clear understanding of her subject matter. The denizens of the floral and arboreal elements of the bush are presented with a singularly stylish flair. She uses graphic inclusions in a skilled manner and this allied with her controlled use of the negative spaces across the surface of her works on paper and canvas invests them with a pictorial authority.
Claire Primrose's While the light is good 2 continues to exemplify her considerable painterly and compositional expertise.
Barry Jackson's work explores the littoral topographies of the NSW South Coast, while Rose Auld's examines the rural environment around her home in the central west of the same state.
Jackson's sinuous organic forms reverberate with an inner aesthetic tension in the manner in which they symbolise the weathered surfaces of the rocky shorelines of the South Coast.
Jackson's use of textural and tonal contrasts aligned with his incisive use of cutting into the body of his forms is given lyrical expression in Perdidit viam, a spectacular and powerful piece deserving of special attention.
Ros Auld's vessel forms continue to beautifully demonstrate her consummate understanding of her medium and its aesthetic and sculptural possibilities.
Interpretations of landscape is a beautiful exhibition with some exceptional works.