Printmakers John Pratt and Peter McLean use collage and mixed media to explore experiential relationships with place and moving through the environment through the physicality and visual langue of maps. Traverse -‘ tract thus surveyed’ The dictionary definition of ‘Traverse’ provides a curiously open understanding of the term including the implication of ‘Mapping’. The Map itself conventionally delivers an empirical and analytic portrayal of the landscape – however through its syntax of shape, colour, and text it also provides a felt archive of emotional and psychological presence. This series of cartographic collages playfully explores this experiential subtext.
Pratt is a graphic artist working across a range of media including printmaking, collage, drawing and projections in Public Space. Through a series of exhibitions, he has been exploring the impact of human presence within a range of natural landscapes and constructed environments, ranging from National Parks in the ACT to Southern Coastal zones to the streetscapes of the CBD.
McLean has a deep affinity for nature and the environment. Working across a range of printmaking techniques, drawing and installation, he explores the materiality of nature and our physical, emotional, and spiritual relationships with wild places. His practice combines traditional techniques and craftsmanship, a sense of play and willingness to experiment and a desire for his materials to be given equal voice as collaborators in his making process.
Incidental TV is an installation of screens arranged casually in the Gallery space. Each screen displays a short film or animation that is experimental, short, and mostly created without following the narrative conventions of ‘film’. This makes for a hard-to-categorise genre: video poetry is perhaps apposite. And while I have been using the term ‘film’, often, I refer not to actual film, but time-based sequences of images assembled from drawings and objects.
It was finding a hoard of screens on a nature strip that lead me to conceive of Incidental TV as the next iteration of my ‘Peephole Cinema’ installation. Films in the peephole installation are viewed through small holes in cardboard boxes. This manner of viewing is intended to unlink viewers conventional expectations of ‘film’. The unexpectedness of artwork in grocery boxes or on abandoned screens turns everyday object into magic; an element of working with found materials that attracts me.
The casual arrangement of old screens presents the work in the way it functions for me: as a form of note taking and observation, a stream of thought, or a set of experimental processes. As Jean Cocteau observed, “A film is a petrified fountain of thought.” Some of the work reflects my ongoing interest in language: miscommunication, misunderstanding and that which is deliberately confounding. Others are purely experimental. For the audience, the presentation of short moving images to be viewed in no particular order reflects the click-scroll-like-share manner in which moving-image is viewed on social media.
Mark Dober makes work on site in the landscape. Mostly, his paintings and works on paper are made in the surrounds of Castlemaine, in central Victoria, where he lives. He also make work away from that region, creating landscapes offering differing geologies, vegetation, spatial features and cultural associations, which engage my interest, stimulate production and provide him with new artistic opportunities for both extending my response to landscape and showing my work. The works in this exhibition were made at various sites, including some made at the Murrumbidgee several years ago when undertaking a residency at Strathnairn in 2021 organized by Wagga Wagga Art Gallery. One of the works was created on site where the Murrumbidgee River flows past Tuggeranong.
Each works is comprised of multiple sheets of watercolour paper, made clipped to drawing boards, while sitting on the ground and using watercolour and gouache. I generally start in the centre of the composition, working on a vertical column of three sheets, and then work on columns to the left and right. The final result is a work three sheets high and five sheets wide, for a completed size of 168 x 380 cm. They take several days to make. The weather may vary from start to finish as does the time of day. The work records these changes, so that one end of a work may show blue sky, while the other end shows an overcast day. Each work is a compilation of many moments, stretching over days. In this way, my pieces are very different to the recording of a singular moment in a photograph.
What: Exhibitions now showing at Tuggeranong Arts Centre
When: These exhibition are showing until 3 June 2023. The galleries are open from 10 am – 5 pm Tuesday to Friday and 10 am – 4 pm on Saturdays.
Where: Tuggeranong Arts Centre Theatre 137 Reed Street, Tuggeranong ACT 2901