We're Still Here, Takayna
Framed oil on canvas
600mm x 450mm
I painted this while camping out with the Bob Brown Foundation’s Blockade near the Pieman River. I felt by setting clear felled stumps in the foreground, backed with old growth forest reaching into the sky I could create a narrative between destruction and growth, life and death, and by utilising the patches of blue sky, a sense of hope.
Bushwalk Beauty - Colin Schildhauer
A Californian amidst the roaring 40s in Hobart where I live, paint and recently acquired a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the University of Tasmania. Rugged coastlines, gondwonic temperate rainforest, and unique wildlife were the impetus for my travels. I’ve become spellbound by the unfamiliar textures, colors, and patterns of the Tassie land and seascapes. While navigating desolate country roads, painting en plein air between bush walks and erratic weather, Tasmania continuously leaves me in awe. I hope to express the wonder I experience through my paintings while also preserving images of the beautiful yet slowly vanishing natural landscapes.
This exhibition features two complementary bodies of work...
EN PLEIN AIR
The first collection of works has been painted en Plein air across various locations recording the ever changing light over Tassie’s various natural land & seascapes. I enter the field with my paints and immerse myself in its surroundings. Through meditated observation, I experience the light, color, sound; the weather, sea, sky, and land. My goal is to document the rhythm and flow of these experiences through paint, offering a visual transcendence into the essence of location and universal interconnectedness.
Over the past 10 years my work has become increasingly driven by themes concerning the detrimental impact humans are exerting on the natural environment. After moving to Tasmania enrolled in a Master program of fine arts at Utas I quickly began learning about the numerous environmental issues that plague its fragile ecosystems, particularly the ongoing logging of the north-west temperate rainforest known as the Tarkine (takayna). As an avid plein air painter, ecology enthusiast, and activist for environmental preservation this became the impetus to construct a project that would enable me to experience first-hand the destruction being imposed on a truly indispensable habitat.
I became immersed in the Tarkine for days on end, conducting studies, sketches, and workbook documentations on the aesthetic juxtaposition between pristine old-growth myrtle forest surrounding the Julius River and a nearby freshly clear- felled coupe. Inevitably I became captivated by the absolute beauty of the Tarkine, yet it was the chaos of the splintered detritus and machinery strewn across the clear-felled coupes that exposed our short-sighted greed and futile presence amongst land that should be regarded as sacred.
20th century American painter Rockwell Kent suggested, “Contemporary art is a record of man’s reaction to the environment of contemporary life, an expression of human imagination affected by the spiritual and material conditions of its day.” (Kent 1933 pg-31). The 21st century encompasses a crestfallen anthropocentric search for equilibrium. My commitment as an artist is to document, expose, and reawaken an emotional connection through visual imagery with the natural world to perpetuate a future of sustainability and life. The deforestation of the Tarkine is symbolic for our disconnection with the natural world and this project seeks to reconcile our connection with the environment while representing a visual allegory pertinent to the increasing detrimental impact we exude on the planet.
Exhibited here are 5 paintings from a larger 16 panel polyptych concluding the final project for my masters course at Utas in 2019. The polyptych depicts the current battle between the preservation and deforestation of Takayna. Each panel conveys a particular microcosm of the Tarkine, from the burrowing Giant Freshwater Crayfish to a pile of slash, the splintered byproduct of a freshly cleared coupe. Upon purchase of a work you will receive an image of the polyptych in its entirety as well as a certificate describing your paintings unique attribution in telling the story of the ongoing battle for the Tarkine’s preservation.
Images purchased directly from the gallery wall can be collected directly from Wild Island at the end of the exhibition. Alternatively we can arrange for shipping via courier within Australia for an additional freightage cost.
Please contact the gallery directly for a shipping estimate.
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