80 x 186 cm acrylic on canvas
They came, they saw, they conquered. Judges Maudie Palmer, Fiona Hall and Sean Kelly selected David Keeling for his oil ‘Lowtide, soft breeze‘, a worthy winner of the thirteenth Glover Prize.
Mention was made of four other highly commended artworks, which they said made the final selection a challenge. These were Nicholas Blowers -‘Savage Ponds‘, Craig Waddell -‘The Darkness That Lies Within-Cape Grim‘, Leonie Duff -‘Considering My Landscape’ and my own acrylic -‘Expatriate‘.
Judges comments of ‘Expatriate’: “This work encapsulates the longing for something – perhaps for an opportunity lost. It conceptualises the colliding of worlds – the one we are in at the moment and the one of desire or memory that we carry around with us. The ex-patriot going into another placeand looking back with nostalgia. This is often how Australians experience Tasmania. The artist could have overwhelmed us with an environmental message, but instead the work is much more subtle. The void gives an extra layer of meaning – big black hole that marks a great loss.”
I chose this subject in order to heighten the contrast between the two views of Lake Pedder (pre-1972 flooding) and the familiar but empty interior setting. There are two canvases that make up the painting as a whole; they butt up against eachother in the middle and in a sense, either side takes on a different level of strength. The image of the lake at far left; a satellite’s perspective, is intended to be somewhat unsettling, perhaps because for many, the lakes’ inundation beneath 20 metres of water was a failure of civil society to properly function. In other words, we knew what we were about to do, but we did it anyway. That the image at left is also akin to a scream, this was a surprise that I found as I put the painting together.
Future generations, maybe even this one, will undo the HEC’s recklessness. The old lakes’ famous beach, dune and megaripples are still there, intact, under a few millimetres of sediment. No wonder it was a magnet for artists that sought its uniqueness, isolation and incredible reflections amidst the many moods of the SouthWest.
Lake Pedder 1972, The Trembling Sky
acrylic on canvas, 78 x 158 cm – $6,500 (SOLD)
The flooding of Lake Pedder was a watershed in Australia’s environmental history. The summer of ’72 was busy with many visitors flying in to see the lake one last time before winter rains drowned the valley. The dichotomy: the sand lines speak of the people who flew there, intrigued by the lake’s uniqueness. A disturbing, impending finality.
Exhibition dates: Saturday 11 March – Sunday 19 March (check opening times on Glover Art Prize website)