Patterns of meaning

In order to fully appreciate art, it is often necessary to understand the artist’s motivation, inspiration and background.

Two new exhibitions at Falkner Gallery: ‘The colour of your heart is your pride and joy’ by Ian Clark and ‘Paradise and Other Places’ by Anita Laurence illustrate this clearly.

Ian Clark was born in Kamilaroi lands, North Western NSW where  he spent most of his early years. He is a quietly spoken, thoughtful person who dislikes labels. He has recently completed the TAFE Visual Arts course at Bendigo as an adult student during which time he developed his distinctive and powerful painting and printmaking style.

He doesn’t draw, plan or design his canvas: instead he begins painting in one place and lets his story or subject ‘construct itself’. The act of painting for him is often spiritual, a form of prayer or meditation. Sometimes the work is completed to his satisfaction; other times he halts midway, overpaints the work and begins again.

He describes painting as a positive force in his life and states ‘Sometimes I am the kid; constructing again’. He works slowly and methodically in acrylics on canvas depicting stories to do with nature eg ‘Desert Country after Rain’ and his own life and philosophy eg ‘One Red Blood’. The resultant dots and colours pulsate with intense and rhythmic vibrations. They are the spiritual creations of a contemporary artist with a powerful, storytelling heritage.

Downstairs, the linocuts and paintings by Anita Laurence in ‘Paradise and Other Places’ also tell a story. Her inspiration comes from the developed, settled districts around her home in King Valley and other places she visits. Her works appear simple but Anita relies on her innate control of graphic pattern-making to make meaningful statements about her world.

Individual images – trees, hills, vineyards, churches and orchards have an almost child-like simplicity. They are repeated and layered as horizontal bands transforming the literal landscape into decorative patterns in the same way Egyptian wall painting did 3000 years ago. Her linocuts ‘Paradise’ and ‘Sacred Places, Mildura’ contain recognisable images and icons of the Sunraysia district in Victoria while ‘Cork City’ is the result of her experiences travelling in Ireland.

In all her works Anita Laurence uses patterns and repetition to convey meaning just as Ian Clark does with his dots, lines and spirals.

IAN CLARK: ‘The colour of your heart is your pride and joy’ Paintings and Works on Paper

ANITA LAURENCE: ’Paradise and Other Places’ Paintings and Linocuts

Ends: 19 February 2012