Verisimilitude # 14 – 2007-2017
Mixed media. Oil on canvas, antique gilt frame on plain black frame, small wooden platform and found cast plastic toy girl.
H39.2 x W48.4 x D4 cm (frames included) – Painting – 402 x 30cm
A three-dimensional little girl is viewed voyeuristically from behind. She balances precariously on a small platform on the edge of the egg-shaped oval aperture which establishes a psychological tension. Unperturbed, she confronts the deep illusionistic vista. Although seemingly unaware of any predicament she may find herself in, her body is almost aligned with the cross-hairs of the targeting device, which further amplifies some obscured but imminent danger.
The simultaneous combination of naturalism and modernism in this mixed-media art work encourages multi-layered readings. The centrally-placed targeting or focusing device on the otherwise conventional landscape is intended to encourage the viewer to interpret and contribute their own individual meaning to the idea of landscape.
Landscape as metaphor related to personal and national identity is a common phenomenon in Australia and particularly in rural areas. In the collective consciousness ‘living on the land’ and ‘focusing on the horizon’ encapsulates not only the struggle to subsist against the odds, but additionally embodies the equally empowering mythic visual capacity to enthrall and fire the imagination. This relationship to the land is very often quoted by individuals in defining our Australian national identity. The [re]focusing devices additionally emphasize the deepening worldwide crisis we face in our management of land resources and the dire need for environmental conservation.