In these recent Paintings the livestock itself has literally usurped and supplanted the land.. A usurper is someone (or something) who wrongfully takes someone else’s place. This concept draws a direct line between the original Pre Colonial Australian landscape and the Post Colonial Australian agricultural landscape.
So much of the most fertile and arable areas of Australia have been consumed and so comprehensively replaced by Farmland employing traditionally European Farm practices. Indeed even less arable areas such as inland Australia have been extensively turned over to livestock.
In turn the livestock are of course turned over to our own needs, the endpoint of this is that we have supplanted the landscape, whether we consume or use the by-products of farming, we are either eating or perhaps – in the instance of wool or cotton for example- we are wearing the land.
These works – like many themes familiar to my artistic oeuvre- seek to unite opposing endpoints to neatly encapsulate a broader idea within a neatly consumable visual concept. It’s a kind of distillation process that removes time, particularity and other circumstantial elements that can clutter and distract, to achieve an abridged refined visual idea.
By consolidating a broader concept into a single hopefully compelling image, my aim is to challenge and invite the viewer to consider the vectors and processes at work that shape and determine the broader world around us. I have always tried to convey environmental concerns in an engagingly poetic way- rather than present the grim face of environmental impacts directly which can at times disengage an audience. I would rather invite a more contemplative and reflective experience.
Dale Cox 2016