Lost and Found: a painted landscape

06/10/2021 - 30/10/2021

Jennifer Riddle
Embrace of the Past - Bathurst Harbour

2021

acrylic on canvas

183.00 x 183.00 cm

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Lost and Found: a painted landscape


Finding a sense of clarity and peacefulness in a time of overwhelming uncertainty is becoming increasingly tough as we battle to navigate the complexities of our rapidly changing world. However, such challenging times may also offer us a time to reflect on what we have lost, reevaluate what is important to us and reconcile our innate relationship with nature - and maybe even each other.

Scholars are now confirming what the Indigenous and other ancient cultures have known for centuries - that we are a part of nature, not apart from it. A fundamental connection that is imperative for the future of our environment as well as our psychological, physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.

My relationship with nature was rekindled 21 years ago after the loss of my sister and has intensified ever since. By drawing upon this loss and the collective loss that we are experiencing now, I return my focus to the landscapes that have helped solidify my connection to the natural world and given me a sense of clarity, healing and peace.

These paintings are based on two geographically different landscapes: Red Hill, Victoria and Port Davey in Tasmania's Southwest. One, a pastoral landscape that has been the genesis of my love for the land and art practice. The other, a pristine wilderness, one that stirs an innate primal response to the land, whilst instilling an intense empathy for what our world has lost and what remains of its future.

Despite the physical differences of these landscapes, they all share alchemy - a life force that quietly softens and silences the land, transforming the landscape into a soulful and meditative place of sanctuary. These moments depicted have profoundly deepened my relationship with nature and offered a meaningful and soulful conversation with the land that continues to help shape my environmental, cultural and philosophical understandings of nature and our innate connection to it.

Through years of studying and painting these landscapes, I've developed a growing consciousness of the ecological rhythms and pulses that surrounds them. This understanding and ongoing interaction, have enabled me to create a sense of place within these works - representing both the physical and most importantly the emotional response.

When Tim Flannery walked through the wilderness of Port Davey he spoke about the importance of immersing oneself in the landscape.

“ When you know what each individual plant is and what its history is and what pollinates it and... what transports its seeds, it’s this tremendously complex and beautiful thing. I guess some people would see it and they’d just think, ”Oh! It’s a wall of green.” Some people would listen to the opera and just think, “It’s just sound.” But once you get your mind tuned in to the complexity of something, it's extraordinarily enriching and very beautiful just to be immersed in it.”

Through these works, I hope to synthesise an authentic emotional cohesion between the viewer and the beauty found within the landscape. A connection that goes beyond the physicality of the textured paint layers - opening up a silent song that sings to both our heart and soul. Restoring memories lost and founding memories new.

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