"Mapleton", Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney, 2 Feb to 26 Feb, 2012
Mapleton is a series of more-or-less life-size paintings of a group of trees in the Mapleton Forest Reserve on the Blackall Range in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
The largest are made up of separate panels; landscapes within landscapes that at a distance combine to present an immediately recognisable and naturalistic representation of typical remnant Australian rainforest.
Up close, tree trunks disintegrate into columns of abstract shapes, which like those in a camouflage pattern, conspire to confuse the eye: challenging the illusion of volume and defying resolution at the edges. In parts the trees and foliage are implausibly transparent, with gaps revealing a complicated surface of apparently chaotic marks of surprising, saturated colours.
Do the pictures present as convincing images despite these paradoxical elements? Or do they work precisely because of the disparities and contradictions that demand to be integrated and resolved in an active process of seeing?
AJT, January 2012