····· artist statement
Ramble, Kalorama 2017-19 is the culmination of more than ten years of drawing and painting, and exploring the problem of how to make a work that conveys the immersive and somewhat episodic experience of being in the bush. Even if I’m standing in one spot to draw or paint I move about; my point of view, relationship to forms, light and the seasons all change. The previously seen impinges on the present and all the internal stuff I bring to it is in flux. I ramble about and try to make sense of it all, in a kind of ecstatic reverie.
This work of 21 panels, each 180 x 90 cm, was painted en plein air in an area of about 8 x 10 square metres, much of it a kind of log corral of long fallen trees. It is just a little way into the bush from a spring-fed dam on my family’s rare bulb farm; where I grew up and where I have my studio. This painting is not a continuous panorama, but rather it loops through the space, doubling back and repeating forms, overlapping various points of view, ending with what is in reality the entry to this little haven, a kind of somersault of tree ferns.
I love this bush. I love its particular chaos and rotting smell, I love its intimacy – how it envelops and embraces, and its grandeur – the sense of a tree time-scale and natural rhythms beyond human ken. I love that sometimes it sparkles and dances, at other times is quiet and almost withdrawn. I’m not sure where or what I’d be without its sustaining presence. We all need these natural wellsprings.
– Mary Tonkin
····· Mary Tonkin
····· artist's bio
Landscape painter Mary Tonkin completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) in 1995 and a Master of Fine Arts in 2002 at Monash University, where she has also lectured. Tonkin has held solo exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney since 1999. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery and internationally in New York. A survey exhibition titled ‘Home’ was held at Burrinja Gallery in the Dandenong’s in 2012. Tonkin was awarded the National Gallery of Victoria Trustee award in 1994 and 1995 and Dobell drawing prize in 2002. She was the recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshield foundation grant in 1998 and Australian post-graduate fellowship award in 2000. Tonkin’s work is held by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, VIC and several regional and tertiary institutions.
Ramble, Kalorama 2017-19
MARY TONKIN oil on linen, 21 panels, 180cm x 1890cm.
On display in the Burrinja Gallery
Ramble, Kalorama 2017-19
porcelain paper clay (framed), 25cm x 52cm x 7cm, AG112603