The (logging) truck carries a representation of John Glover’s painted landscapes, which Cox has painted on a solid block of wood. John Glover is one of Australia’s most celebrated colonial landscape painters. Born in England, he was a highly successful water-colourist and painter of landscapes in the tradition of French artist Claude Lorrain. Arriving in Australia in 1831, Glover adapted his picturesque style and luminous technique to his new surrounds, creating naturalistic and atmospheric paintings of Australian nature, settler life, and Aboriginal culture. Working out of doors, Glover developed an understanding of the unfamiliar Australian landscape, especially the twisting forms of native eucalyptus trees. His direct experience of nature, as both pioneer settler and painter, resulted in a new approach using a subtle palette of olive greens, ochres, misty greys and intense blues, and layered glazes of mauve, grey and gold, to portray Australian light and atmosphere.
Dale Cox continues the ongoing preoccupation and tradition of landscape painting in the Nillumbik area and our impact on the environment in a contemporary way. The truck creates a playful nexus between painting (representational landscape) and sculpture, purposely bluring boundaries across these traditionally distinct disciplines. ‘Ghost’ seeks to convey the idea that when we remove something significant from a location, like the landscape itself, the remaining ‘place’ changes to become a new ‘place’. This may seem self-evident until we think more deeply about location and landscape. The white truck is a ghost, an ethereal, transient being that spirits away an entire place, forever removed from itself, and forever changed. Logging wild trees can never be like harvesting a ‘crop’. Logging removes a landscape, and changes a place forever. The ‘packaging’ of this painted landscape highlights the anomaly between commodity and our environment. Dale Cox was a local artist and this work was highly commended at the 2012 Nillumbik Prize.
White plastic toy (logging) truck with a landscape painting on a wooden block. The landscape painting is reminiscent of paintings by colonial artist John Glover.
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