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Fleurieuscapes Art Exhibition

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by Jenny Esots (subscribe)
A freelance writer and traveller who likes to explore the spiritual, literary and hidden gems of Adelaide and beyond.
Event: -
Intimate and Brooding Landscapes and Sculpture
Magpie Springs is presenting more excellent art in their rustic gallery surrounded by its own vineyard and expansive gardens. Landscape photography is an emotive, innovative, evolving and prevalent field. I say prevalent as so many people post pictures on social media of their surroundings. Our surroundings reflect how we feel. The dull drab cloudy skies can bring solace to some and sadness to others. A beautiful beach or an inspiring sunset is shared and liked multiple times around the globe with increasing frequency. To understand Fleurieuscapes method of landscapes the viewer needs to gain an understanding of the artists objective and view point.

Fleurieuscapes Art Exhibition
Fleurieuscapes Art Exhibition

Fleurieuscapes seeks to take the viewer deeper into the Fleurieu landscape. Not seeking merely beautiful pictures, but to go beyond the picturesque. By way of making the distinction the picturesque photography mode relishes light and shadow, texture of grass, antiquated fences, dappled shaded cows and what can be called postcard views.

Fleurieuscapes Art Exhibition
Fleurieuscapes Art Exhibition

Gary Sauer-Thompson is a photographer and blogger based in Victor Harbor on the Southern Fleurieu Peninsula. Gary seeks to expose the darker elements of a landscape, not merely in terms of shading, but historically, ecologically and environmentally as well. His style of photography has some similarities with esteemed and well-regarded photographer Trent Parke. Whose most recent exhibition was The Black Rose at the Art Gallery of South Australia. Parke's work as a photographer also seeks to expose more than the tourist postcard view of Australia. Searching for a deeper connection to its people and underbelly, places and heartlands.

Fleurieuscapes Art Exhibition
Fleurieuscapes Art Exhibition

Gary's work is an intensive experience. The viewer will not be given soothing images, but a darker perspective. Gary writes on his blog Thought Factory of a desire to create an understanding of the ecology and erosion of a landscape. He is not seeking disinterested enjoyment or an outsider perspective. But highlighting the ecological disasters, the tamed and stripped land now devoid of vegetation.

This ecological concern enables us to start photographing particular environments at particular times—intimate landscapes— without embracing the pastoral or the picturesque modes.

The photographs now on show at Fleurieuscapes are challenging to the viewer. They are dark, brooding and gloomy. They are not obvious pastoral panoramas. At first I found this disturbing, looking throughout for images that I could translate as beautiful. Instead I had to find beauty in other ways. The often somber black and white images allow a greater degree of detail to be discovered. Looking deep into a weathered tree trunk and stubborn roadside trees.

Magpie Springs Gallery – Art, Wine & Coffee
Magpie Springs Gallery – Art, Wine & Coffee

Gary writes further of his motivations on his Fleurieu photographs:

'attracted by the gloominess of what was left of the native scrub or bush in relation to the field for the grazing cattle. If the field represents 'mastering' and 'possessing' of wild nature, then the roadside vegetation was all that was left of the bush. It was to be brooding.'

Other understandings of Gary's work include the impact of colonisation on the landscape. The resulting effects still being felt as more and more demands are placed on our environment. Gary's photographs seek to expose some of these impacts. He describes his ethos here;

What I did have in mind then was the on-going eclipse of the natural through the clearing of the land for farming. This eclipse is felt keenly in South Australia, which continues to rely on the water from the River Murray, which is in slow and steady decline due to the water taken by irrigated agriculture in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Another perspective explored in these works is an awareness of the indigenous people's spirit of place in this land. In addition to investigating their displacement from this landscape in the current climate.

It was only later that I started becoming aware of the aboriginal absence in both the pastoral landscape and in the mediascape's flow of popular and tourist images of the Fleurieu Peninsula.

Sculpture in the garden by James Martin
Sculpture in the garden by James Martin

The Fleruieu Peninsula has been my home for over twenty years. But I am still discovering different perspectives. It has many populated areas but many wild places remain. It is not overly commercialised, yet. There are opportunities to investigate and absorb nature and as Gary has done recognise the impact we as a people have had on this landscape. Fleurieuscapes will encourage further discourse on the nature of our landscape and force people to look deeper into its dark and ruined places.

Sculpture by James Martin
Sculpture by James Martin

Fleurieuscapes includes sculptures by James Martin. These include smaller head and torso works, to very large heads which are placed in the outdoor setting. The sculpture works counter balance the landscapes well and also get the visitor out in the garden. However the buttock shaped sculptures in the garden look strange and off putting. Each to his own maybe.

The exhibition was opened by Paul Atkins from Atkins Technicolour. The show is now on until 13th March, 2016.
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Why? Intimate Landscapes and Sculpture
When: On until March 17th, 2016
Where: Magpie Springs - 1870 Brookman Rd, Hope Forest SA 5172
Cost: Free Admission
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