'Green Paintings in July' 2017
‘There is a Shadow in the doorway under the trees’ 2017, oil on canvas,190cm x 120cm $2900
This series of paintings explores sites I have visited over the previous eight months. In a conversation with Alexandra Lawson recently we discussed how one work leads into another as one body of paintings is continually morphing into fresh works of newly imagined scenes. Alexandra made the observation that one painting informs the next and the next in a continuous evolution of ideas. This has proved to be an important realisation as it directs me toward a better understanding of how my visual narrative is constructed. One painting becomes a point of departure toward another.
Graeme Sullivan suggests that,
‘The meanings that artists make from their imaginative investigations are not only collected from their encounters with things around them but they are also created in response to their experiences. That is what is unique about the inquiring mind of artists, for they create new understandings from what we don’t know, which profoundly changes what we do know’ (2005, p.12).
The investigation of personally situated knowledge through my arts practice allows me to not only develop ideas but to articulate my experiences as a direct reaction to the landscape through the subsequent making of art. It instils my practice with meaning.
In Green Paintings in July I am responding to daily encounters with place. The sites I visit or pass through and the involvement I have from moment to moment and from place to place inform my work in an endless progression. It reminds me of looking out the window at the landscape as you travel down the highway. It’s all a bit of a blur with movement but every now and then a tree or a scene catches your eye and makes your eye pause and it enters you.
While my personal focus is on the relationship between environment/landscape and the act of painting, my peers each hold their own individual paths of enquiry and response that help them make sense of their worlds. My practice is a deeply personal metaphor for my life knowledge. Experiences, memories and encounters all translating into paintings of the landscape.
It is this world first observed and subsequently imagined and re-imagined that is what interests me with respect to my studio practice. The world that I am immersed in as a painter of the Australian landscape is defined by not only the importance of place to my personal narrative but also the connections that exist through memory and my family to places that I have known during my lifetime. It is also significant as an environment where I have found solitude and a sense of belonging. It is the space from which I have subsequently drawn inspiration for self-expression through mark-making/painting. It may not always be green but the landscape is mine to paint and I actively seek landscape moments to keep me from slipping under the waves.
David Usher, July 2017