As an art student in the 1980s, I often visited the National Gallery of Victoria to see one of my favourite paintings—"Picherit’s Farm" by Max Meldrum. Many years later as I walked into my backyard, I noticed that the view that confronted me constantly reminded me of Meldrum’s painting. Propelled by this image, in 2011 I began to paint a series of backyard paintings which I completed this year. I have painted the same view numerous times on different surfaces and colour, using diverse techniques and sizes to create various mood swings. The paintings also draw attention to a suburban landscape that is constantly changing—large backyards are rapidly disappearing to accommodate smaller, more convenient backyards. A big backyard attached to an average home is now nostalgic. While creating these paintings, I imagined my backyard as a stage. I physically and mentally moved objects around the space to play with their symbolic attachments. For example, the swing evokes memories of childhood, the fence suggests boundaries, and the windmill alludes to colonialism and shaping the land. The painting titled, “The cosmos is becoming our backyard” is not only inspired by Meldrums painting, but also influenced but the light in Joseph Wright of Derby’s painting, “Dovedale by moonlight". I had deliberately chosen to exhibit this series in my home. I wanted each viewer to be brought closer to the context of the work and to experience the backyard.
"Picherit's Farm" by Max Meldrum
"Dovedale by moonlight" by Joseph Wright of Derby
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