Landscape and Memory

Group Exhibition

2 September — 23 September 2023

Nyurapayia Nampitjinpa, aka Mrs Bennett, was a complex woman—holder of all knowledge and law in the vast area around the rockhole system she called Punkilpirri—a hidden valley in the Peterman Ranges of the Western Desert of Australia. It is a beautifully precarious place where life-giving water is permanent and, for this grand old woman of the desert country, a spiritual home.

Nyurapayia was not one to suffer fools, yet she was always enthusiastic to explain the beauty and importance of where she once lived. The ancient stories of her Tjukurrpa were an ever-present narrative— her connection to country—the landscape of her mind was her reason for living. Her culture has remained alive and strong through her painting, singing, and storytelling. All of these were integral to life in the desert—the clues to existence are intrinsic in the paintings, and her memories of living there were forever etched in her heart. It is a gift to a Nation that is wrestling with its identity. The painting reminds us that whoever we ultimately believe we are, the fundamental fact is we exist in this ancient land, and our collective future culture is embedded in it.

Throughout history and across cultures, the idea of the landscape genre has served many masters. The connection of place to our history cannot be underestimated. In Australia, artists have used the landscape for many reasons beyond the picturesque imaging of the natural beauty of this land. Artists have always composed images to tell stories of the past and present. In the past, the genre has been used as an agent of colonisation; in effect, painting the landscape was a way of ideologically possessing a place. In recent decades, there has been an irrefutable acknowledgement of traditional ownership of this land due in no small part to how First Nation artists have imaged the landscape.

For artists with a non-Indigenous heritage, the stories of this place invariably have a subliminal connection to other countries and cultures. Their narratives manifest from literal to abstract; the memory of place makes these moments so powerful. This exhibition has drawn on paintings from diverse influences, backgrounds, and times. The work of contemporary artists Peter Gardiner and Nicolas Blowers—painters who navigate the visual vocabulary of the European landscape tradition—construct their paintings from the memory of places. Often broken yet still beautiful they remind us of the fragility of our environment. Stephanie Eather’s abstraction of a working sheep station is a meditation that acknowledges the landscape as a metaphor for something other than the literal. The sensuousness of Brett Whiteley’s drawn line is an evocative reminder of the human form we manifest when viewing the land. The monumentalism of Suzanne Archer’s paintings is born from her exploration of the landscape she holds dear.

Her work has an ethereal sensitivity, balancing the known and imagined composition. The rambunctiousness of Adam Cullen’s Kelly at Glenrowan—the mythical figure that looms large from Australian bush folk law is contextualised in all its Post Pop/Punk innuendo. It is a work that reminds us of the stories from the past that continue to ricochet around our contemporary consciousness.

Ultimately, the exhibition explores the exquisite intangibility of retrospection. What we have experienced, where we live, and who we are, whilst anchoring the narrative in the context of our landscape. It seeks to point to the realisation that we collectively are better able to navigate the future of our country through cognitively acknowledging our existence in it.

Ralph Hobbs
August 2023

\ Exhibition featured works

Peter Gardiner

Apotheosis IV

2023 \ Oil on canvas \ 150 x 120cm

Peter Gardiner

Apotheosis V

2023 \ Oil on board \ 120 x 90cm

Paul Ryan


2023 \ Oil stick on cotton rag paper \ F. 59 x 46cm

John Glover

Burning of the Tower of London (AWN:11048)

Sepia ink on paper \ 10 x 14.3cm


Nicholas Blowers

Chalk Pit Hollows, Devils Drop

2023 \ Oil on canvas \ 165 x 189cm


Adam Cullen

Edward Kelly at Glenrowan

2009 \ Acrylic on canvas \ 183 x 152cm

Peter Gardiner

Ember Study

2023 \ Oil on board \ 30 x 22.5cm

Kirsty Neilson

Fern Gully

2023 \ Oil on linen \ F. 78.5 x 63.5cm

Tony Mighell

Fly Fishing on Saltwater Creek B

2021 \ Ink on paper \ F. 47 x 50.5cm

Stephanie Eather

Freshly cut grass and hot pink socks hanging on the hills hoist outside the homestead

2023 \ Oil on polycotton \ 77 x 61cm


John Olsen

Giraffes and Hot Air Balloon

1997 \ Mixed media on paper \ F. 83 x 100cm

John Glover

London in a Fog

Sepia ink on paper \ 9.6 x 14.9cm


Jorna Newberry

Nigintaka Perentie (JNKM22012023)

2022 \ Acrylic on linen \ 200 x 300cm


Peter Gardiner


2023 \ Oil on board \ 30 x 40cm

Nyurapayia Nampitjinpa (Mrs Bennett)


2009 \ Acrylic on linen \ 182 x 244cm


Brett Whiteley

Queensland Sketch

1978 \ Pencil on paper, signed lower left Brett Whiteley \ 76 x 101 cm

Wentja Morgan Napaltjarri

Rockholes West of Kintore (AEWMN10-08222PAG)

2008 \ Acrylic on linen \ 201 x 496cm


Paul Ryan

Skull and Camp Fire

2023 \ Oil stick on cotton rag paper, framed \ F. 59 x 46cm

Paul Ryan

Standing Wave and Tree

2023 \ Oil stick on cotton rag paper \ F. 59 x 46cm

Peter Gardiner

Still Life 36

2023 \ Oil on paper \ 37.5 x 29.5cm


Nicholas Blowers

Study for a wood in rose madder crimson

2023 \ Oil on canvas \ F. 59.5 x 82.5cm

Nicholas Blowers

Study for a wood in violet

2023 \ Oil on canvas \ F. 59.5 x 82.5cm

Caroline Zilinsky

Thargomindah (Almost Home)

2023 \ Oil on linen \ 97 x 87cm


James Drinkwater

The Magnificent life of Nevia Consalvo

2019 \ Oil on canvas \ 216 x 165cm


Matt Coyle

The Palace

2023 \ Acrylic on canvas \ 120 x 170cm


Suzanne Archer


2022 \ Oil on canvas \ 213 x 366cm


Kayi Kayi Nampitjinpa


2010 \ Acrylic on linen \ 181 x 244cm


Naata Nungurrayi


2012 \ Acrylic on linen \ 181 x 244cm


James Powditch

Vanishing Point (After Fred Williams)

2022 \ Mixed media \ 150.5 x 100cm

Adam Nudelman

What We Have Lost is More Than an Ocean

2021 \ Acrylic and oil on linen \ 99.5 x 96.5cm

Peter Gardiner

Whirlpool Study

2023 \ Oil on board \ 40 x 30cm


\ Other exhibitions

Kate Nielsen


15 August — 30 August 2023

Tom Adair

Technium Naturae

15 August — 30 August 2023

James Drinkwater


25 July — 12 August 2023

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to find out more about Landscape and Memory.

12 - 14 Meagher Street Chippendale, NSW 2008
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