Opened with a ‘Meet the Artist – Q&A’ by Graham Lang, followed by a poetry readingfrom Kristen Lang, inspired by Graham’s new exhibition.
“This collection continues some old obsessions in its attempt to evoke the human condition via animal/landscape surrogates. Our identification with animals (totemic and otherwise) finds several intuitive expressions embodying dislocation and deliverance. The dog, for instance, has long been a presence in my art as a representation of psyche. Likewise, the bull appears not as the usual symbol of masculine power, but of ironic vulnerability or folly. This has its origin in a dream I had in Africa of a bull standing alone in the darkness, surrounded by the shining eyes of predators. Prophetic at a time when the last vestiges of colonial rule were collapsing, that dream image became the source of many subsequent works in which a familiar symbol of power is subverted by an altered context.
Similarly, landscape offers layered associations. Identity is determined in large part by place, usually a childhood home that forms us and ultimately resides in us even when we are separated from it. For tumbleweeds like me it can also be a place of instinctive yearning – an ancestral land, or simply a place where we ‘feel’ at home. Several works in this collection seek to symbolise this existential reciprocity via the morphing of landscape and the human head, implying the transformative power of place as an inner prism through which we comprehend and adapt to the world. These works can therefore be seen both as a universal and personal homage to the internalised landscapes that shape our lives. Underlying this, however, is another reflection: The fleeting image of a landscape of the mind, or one that appears to be draining from a cloud/dream, could also suggest that our places of origin or yearning are merely constructions of the mind. Or that our home – the planet to which we feel so entitled – is in the process of discarding us.” – Graham Lang, October 2018