I selected these works on paper and large oil on board completed in 2010 as different versions of the same topic as the Point Roadknight influenced commission and its companion. The selections ( horizontal) are part of a series of artworks titled Return to Sand and Water. The different media also emphasised the processes of erosion at a special place called Point Roadknight.
Etching technique consisting of intaglio and chine -colle enabled me to express and evoke a feeling of mystery and the sense of the sublime when confronted with the age of rocks and their significance. When in Dales Gorge in Karijini National Park I felt awed by the depth of the rock-forming steep gorge. On the gorge floor strata within the rocks alternate from pink brown and red purple. This layering caused by oxidation of the iron laden ocean when oxygen produced from stromatolites photosynthesis gradually entered the Earth’s atmosphere. The striped pattern built up from the ocean floor as early as three billion years ago. Water cut through the gorge over millions of years as land gradually uplifted.
Several etchings are artist’s proof and require fine tuning before I print an edition. I print small editions because I prefer to change the plate and produce one off images because it enables me to see the subject in many different ways.
My trip to the Pilbara in April this year can be read and viewed with photographs and frottages done on sight in my first posts on this blog.
This week I tried more proofs on different textured paper – rice paper, a thickly textured but porous spongy handmade paper as well as Fabriano.
I think line crispness suffered due to too much texture and the second last one looks too scrubby.
I love the intensity of black and my idea was that it would evoke a sense of mystery regarding this 3 billion year old clue to a momentous moment in Earth’s history.
I discovered a blog titled geo-aesthetics which sounded more accurate a description to my imagery than the term contemporary landscape because the content as well as the form is central.
The address of the blog is geo-aesthetics.blogspot.com.au
Walga (Walganna) Rock, 1.8 km long and composed of post-tectonic granite, is one of the many whalebacks scattered throughout the Yilgarn Craton. Situated on the Western section of the craton which consists of rocks of every Archean era with zircons dating back to the Hadean also clastic sedimentary rock. It consists of K-feldspar porphyritic monogranite that forms the type area thought to be approx. 2.5 billion years old.
Above the gallery situated on the cave wall are large slabs of granite in the process of ‘peeling off’ the main rock form. This process is caused by expansion and contraction of the surface because of extreme seasonal and diurnal temperatures in this inland (300 km), arid climate. Rain water and wind erosion molded and eroded the lower recessed section of the rock.
The rock overhang protected the array of paintings. The depiction of a masted boat was quoted by archaeologists as evidence of contact with sailors of European origin, firstly Dutch and then later archaeological evidence suggested a similarity between this depiction and the nineteenth century coastal steamer SS Xantho. (Bigourdan, 2006)
I took a rubbing/frottage from rocks as well as rice paper stains from soil far from the enclosure. They are a way for me to connect with the place via a tactile experience when I return to my studio. Often I adhere them with gesso to the canvas surface.
This technique is one that includes quick sketches done on site. Below are previous examples of this mixing of different media which I meld into large oil paintings. They may be viewed on my website : desterreart.com.au and are part of a series titled An Archaeology of Landscape.
P.S. Correction: Feldspar should read K-feldspar. The “K”, refers to the Potassium content of feldspar. There are 3 K feldspars: microcline, sanidine and orthoclase (orthoclase and plagioclase, another type of feldspar, are often easily seen in volcanic rocks, they’re usually a milky to pinkish white).