Sublime Point: The Landscape in Painting

Art Life , Exhibitions Oct 31, 2014 No Comments

From Andrew Frost

The landscape remains a perennially popular subject with both Australian artists and their audiences. Indeed, so pervasive is the genre of landscape painting that it’s a very rare experience indeed to walk into any kind of gallery, from public museums to suburban framing shops, and not find plenty of examples. Despite that proliferation it’d be hard to find many artists who are actively seeking to evoke the sublime in its original sense, that grand, awe-inspiring experience of nature and the infinite provided to Romantic artists and their contemporary followers. The sublime has become so diffuse, and mostly consigned to the virtual worlds of cinema and games, that only trace elements of it can be found in quaint and picturesque renderings of rolling hills and fluffy clouds.


Hazelhurst Regional Gallery’s Sublime Point: The Landscape in Painting brings together the work of contemporary painters who use the landscape subject as a vehicle for personal exploration and reflection, or in direct response to the contemporary environment or those who are attuned to more spiritual matters. Works include Philip Wolfhagen‘s chilly romantic visions of Tasmania coming up against the icy sheen of Alexander McKenzie‘s imagined places, Kate Shaw‘s alien worlds conjured from paint reflecting Joanna Lamb‘s classically minimalist versions of suburbia, Noel McKenna‘s acerbic cataloguing of landscape features and George Tjungurrayi’s desert places. With many more artists included in this small but focused show, the result isn’t so much the absence of the big historical sublime, but its continued resonance across the entire genre. You really just need to know where to look.

Until November 30
Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, Gymea
Pic: Sally Gabori, Dibirdibi Country 2011. Synthetic polymer paint on linen, 198 x 455 cm.

Andrew Frost

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