Critically acclaimed artists Bruce Hunt and Neil Frazer convey an authoritative sense of location, each traversing the Southern landscape and capturing its enduring majesty in their own unique and distinctive styles.
Bruce Hunt’s paintings express and reveal the silent breathtaking beauty, vastness and solitariness of the Southern landscape. Drawing upon an astute sensitivity of observation, Hunt captures the topographical accuracy of the landscape and portrays its essential moods, light and nuances. He skilfully uses casting light and emergent shadow as an expressive, atmospheric time-of-day device and compositional elements to weave the viewer’s eye through the image.
The late afternoon sun in Transit II – Into Shadow sends shadows slowly inching through the valley blanketing every rise and fall of the land. Layers of translucent paint in warm shades over cool, produce a luminosity echoing the soft light at dusk. This painterly technique lends itself well to the effect of aerial perspective as evidenced in Mt Alexander (Study for The Pass and The Kyeburn) where the viewer’s perspective soars over the ranges in the foreground to the distant plain. The horizon becomes less defined as drifting clouds dissolve and reform blurring the point where land meets the sky. The sensation of movement develops and intensifies as in Transit – Big Jocks Trail - it is as though we are lifted up on a gentle current of air and swept up and over the steep ridgelines, around and beyond the valley rim.
Neil Frazer offers an innovative sculptural interpretation of our rugged and energetic southern mountain-scapes with intensely energetic and sumptuous layers of impasto paint. As if materialised from the landscape itself, the texture of the painted surface conveys quite convincingly the geological, seasonal and vegetative characteristics of the alpine vista. Frazer’s expressive style is so commanding that it transcends the picture plane – one can sense the crisply chilled still mountain air and experience awe as if truly standing before these monumental towering snow-covered peaks.
A unique and key characteristic of Frazer’s recent work is his utilisation of the negative space of the sky and the ever-present reflections to create the illusion of space. This ambiguity is particularly apparent in works such as Divider and Shadow Line in which the white sky is mirrored in the tranquil waters of the mountain tarn. “I intend for the white areas to make the picture feel like it goes beyond the edges of the canvas....the landscape is so vast and amazing, how can you rein it in?” (1)
1. Neil Frazer quoted in Donna Duggan “White Out,” Mindfood, April 2008.