The Unconformity is a rare geological feature. Queenstown has one!
An unconformity represents the collision of a number of geological ages.
Superposition and conformable relationships between layers of rock are thrown into unconformable collisions through time. The moment of apprehension of such a superstructure is ironically at odds with the evolution of such a process. Great swathes of ‘deep’ time are irrevocably frozen within ones gaze. Scanning this panoply of rock high on Philosophers ridge above Queenstown is a unique experience. This motif with its attendant meanings is the key to the LARQ program for 2012.
Geoparks and geological heritage have become important to the LARQ project. They were clearly apparent through the development of LARQ’s Psycho Geographers and Geoparks exhibition and they come to the fore again through the auspices of The Unconformity. The UNESCO concept of cultural framing of landscape is well established, particularly in the context of World Heritage areas, but appreciating the landscape through a geological lens as prescribed by the Geopark convention is another matter. I see such a framework as helping to make sense of living and working on the West Coast of Tasmania.
25 February – 24 March
Lorraine Biggs and Lila Meleisea – Vale of Belvoir
An exhibition/event that will be a mixed media response to the unique landscape of the Vale of Belvoir which is situated an hour and a half North of Queenstown. This grassy valley contains the meandering, partly subterranean, Vale River which flows through a karst landscape. This wonderland is of world heritage significance. It is the only surviving grassy valley of its kind, unchanged since the time of the wallaby hunters of southwest Tasmania 18,000 ~ 20,000 years ago, when glaciers covered much of highland Tasmania. Tasmanian Land Conservancy website.
The geology of the Vale is dominated by glacigenic drift and tertiary basalt which overlie karstified Ordovician Gordon group limestones. Exploration Geophysics 1993 Augustus + Idnurm.
The Vale is a Land Conservancy lab with artists and scientists as active agents in that environment. Lorraine Biggs and Lila Meleisea spent a year on a residency project in the Vale of Belvoir and Cradle Mountain areas to work on a collaborative visual /sound project. The exhibition will consist of paintings and filmic/sound pieces.
April – May
Jude Abell – A Search for Material Transformation
LARQ Artist in Residence – Supported by an Arts Tasmania Residency grant
The project involves collecting waste and considering re-use in the context of contemporary art practice and design. Jude is an artist/architect/writer of national importance and she brings a range of professional experiences to a residency project in Queenstown
In her words: Throughout my time in Queenstown, I intend to work in a fluid way between my sculpture and design practice. I have always worked with material in a way that could evolve into outcomes at any scale. So a prototype could become a piece of jewellery, a functional object, a work of architecture, a sculptural artwork, or something that fits a number of these categories. I expect that in the processing of material throughout this residency I will continually shift between design and sculptural thinking
Jude’s studio will be on main street and situated in one of Queenstown’s old Banks. Interaction and dialogue will be encouraged with community members via open studio, exhibition and possible workshop events throughout the period of the residency.
28 April – 26 May
Anna Mieke Roberts and Maxine Brown – Recent Work
Anna and Maxine are Queenstown artists working in print and watercolour and they have developed their art practice through involvement with LARQ’s art workshops over the last three years. This exhibition cultivates the fertile ground being tilled by creative, local artists. Some of the artwork will be about the Lake Margaret area which is a constant theme in LARQ’s art research interests. The German painter Elizabeth Weckes spent a cold, wet winter residency working with the Lake Margaret environment in 2009. Maxine lived for a period of time in the historic Power Station precinct.
Anna is becoming adept at salvaging copper sheet for recycling into imaginative etchings which go on to resemble something like a cross between the symbolist work of the English artist Samuel Palmer and the gritty realism of early George Gittoes. Something of the metal’s previous functional life also comes through in the resulting print.
9 June – 30 June
Raymond Arnold –The Pale Show of Life
Raymond Arnold lives in Queenstown, Tasmania. The surrounding terrain has been tempered and shaped by exposure to a prevailing westerly air-stream with two and a half metres of rain per year. Large tracts of wet forest give way to more settled, pastoral areas further east. This dynamic natural environment has shaped Tasmanian identity and culture. The abandoned Linda Valley cemetery is testimony to these natural forces, the passage of time and transient life. The paintings in this exhibition reflect this construction of a landscape and the identification with a type of ‘ground’.
For many years Raymond researched the intaglio print medium in Europe. He originally went to Paris and the Atelier Lacourière et Frélaut, in particular, to connect to the tradition of making etchings. His great-grandfather’s experiences of the First World War as a soldier in the AIF, Commonwealth War Grave sites and the decoration of medieval armour are concepts that have been played out in tandem with Raymond’s investigation into the print and identification with the ‘figure’ as much as the ground!
The paintings in this exhibition insinuate themselves into the fold between these traditional twinned concepts of the figure and the ground. The ‘fissure’ in their canvas surfaces mediates the painted canvas plain as the anonymous gravesite registers the presence of the human remains in the landscape and, in turn, echoes the idea and the reality of one’s death.
*The pale show of life may be miraculous but is more a reminder of the death of the subject than of their current vitality. Alex Miller. Autumn Laing
11 June – 23 June
LARQ 2012 Print workshops and Robynn Smith (Artist in Residence from USA)
Robynn is a dynamic West Coast US artist with a long exhibition record. Robynn will be LARQ’s June artist in residence and will be a participant in LARQ’s annual print workshop which will operate in two modes. The initial phase will involve a weekend workshop for a small number of artist participants. The dates are Saturday and Sunday 16/17 June and will not require any previous experience with prints. Award winning Melbourne artist Bridget Hillebrand will be guest artist. The concept or theme will be local geology and relief print techniques will be explored. The second phase will be a weeklong residential workshop involving a smaller group of experienced artists sharing their ideas and approaches to making their art. This phase will immediately follow the 16/17 June weekend and extend to the 22nd of June. Conceptually the week will also be about geology including field trips with geologists and an underground mine tour. There would be a range of accommodation and good food would be an important part of the week – catered lunches etc. It will be wet and cold with possible snow but a print workshop is the perfect antidote to such weather.
The Unconformity Exhibitions
LARQ’s contribution to October’s Centenary of the Mt Lyell mining disaster and the attendant Second Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival is a three-part exhibition project titled The Unconformity. It isorganised in conjunction with Project Queenstown and the National Trust and is generously supported by the Commonwealth Government’s Regional Art Fund. Tim Chatwin, who is currently working at the Beaconsfield Mining and Heritage Centre and is also an artist, will join Raymond Arnold in supporting the project.
Exhibition 4 – The Savage Rocks of Circumstance an exhibition by artist/curator Tim Chatwin.
The Mt Read Volcanics superstructure is also a dizzying type of ‘super’ library. Stacked trays of core-samples, drilled from kilometres beneath the surface for metals exploration, or even a stone collected as token of a climb in the West Coast Range, contain “hieroglyphics which record the revolutions of the globe”*. A whole is imagined from these fleeting glimpses into deep earth and deep time. The paintings of this geology are a further attempt at some sort of translation, or archaeology even: a speculation on what random sentences, chapters, or few indecipherable symbols of my own history, or the history of the world, might be contained within the rock. * John Playfair
Exhibition 1 – Julian who was LARQ’s 2011 artist in residence and funded by Arts Tasmania returns from the UK for an exhibition of his Iron Blow paintings. Julian spent two months working out of the LARQ studios and is currently undertaking a series of major paintings in his Cumbria studio as a development of his field research. That direct and intimate association between art and geology through pigment and paint is at the core of Julian’s approach to his subject – The open cut mines of Philosophers Ridge Queenstown.
Dr Ruth Johnstone – (Artist in Residence from Melbourne)
Exhibition 2 – A mixed media installation as an intervention into the heritage status Mt Lyell Mining Museum, Queenstown. Ruth will work with the idea of the now mostly dispersed Robert Sticht Collection. Over 2,000 items from that original collection, including Durer woodcuts, are now in the NGV collection and Ruth’s interest in the historic print and her own contemporary responses to the print medium will be brought into play in her residency/exhibition. Ruth will conduct her research over two visits – an early February introductory period and a June/July time for on-site production and installation of the project.
Exhibition 3 – Jan Senbergs artwork drawn from the collection of the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston and some research material from Jan’s own collection. Chris Tassell from the National Trust of Tasmania is supporting the project. Jan Senbergs worked on a series of paintings and drawings following his early 1980/2 visit to Queenstown. The work is discussed in Patrick McCaughey’s monograph on Jan in a chapter titled The Infernal Regions of Tasmania 1982-1983 and they are important, iconic images in Australian art that incorporate landscape, mining and historic aspects of the town.
LARQ’s 2012 program is generously supported through:
Arts Tasmania by the Minister for the Arts.
The Regional Art Fund, an Australian Government initiative supporting the arts in regional & remote Australia delivered in partnership with Tasmanian Regional Arts