Untitled (Illuminated Tree)

Art Life , Exhibitions Aug 17, 2012 No Comments

From Sharne Wolff

A member of the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi nations of Australia, and an artist based in Sydney, Jonathan Jones work has ranged across various media while he explores Indigenous tradition and relationships. He is particularly well known for his use of light. The artist’s new exhibition untitled (illuminated tree) is comprised of just one work – first shown earlier this year at the Art Gallery of South Australia and commissioned for Parallel Collisions, the 12th Adelaide Biennial of Art.

Jones’s art revels in simplicity but comes with layers of meaning. ‘Untitled (illuminated tree)’ is made up of pieces of wood representing a fallen tree, and is lit with fluorescent tubes like those bought at hardware stores. It’s a visual narrative of the Murray-Darling river system and places the spotlight on issues brought about by the colonisation of the landscape through which the rivers flow. Jones’ never shies away from politics and this piece provides an Indigenous perspective by seeking to redress romantic colonial (white) depictions of Australia in art history, where the siting of a tall tree would often take the foreground of a picture. By reworking subject matter and inverting meaning, the artist is suggesting that such art could more appropriately be considered propaganda.

Until September 8,
Gallery Barry Keldoulis, Waterloo.

Pic: Untitled (illuminated tree), wood, natural pigment, fluorescent tubes and fittings, electrical cable, framed hand-coloured engraving (Ellis Rowan, making a bark canoe, c1886), dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and Gallery Barry Keldoulis.

Sharne Wolff

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