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Immanent Landscape

Paul Nolan

JAPAN FOUNDATION GALLERY: The climax of a passionate two-year artistic, emotional and cultural exchange project between eight contemporary artists from Australia and Japan.
Immanent Landscape
This exhibition is the climax of a passionate two-year artistic, emotional and cultural exchange project. The concept of ‘immanent’ or indwelling and inherent landscapes within the super-landscape of experience is shared sincerely by artists. Works selected from the eight artists’ workshopped output are as contrasting and diverse as aspects of the two cultures and national landscapes themselves.

Artistic director and exhibitor Utako Shindo has successfully led artists from Australia and Japan through workshops, work placements, exhibitions, forums, travel and social exchange since 2010, in an eager attempt to redefine the portrayal of landscape. This exhibition celebrates the reaction to new landscapes by encouraging the masked energy and consequences of place or situation to be brought to the fore. Elements of setting, time, memory, familiarity and discovery are manipulated in the works.

The result is a selection from the eight artists’ concentrated output over time. Often the creation, discussion and exhibiting of works was in a different landscape to their native one. Twelve pieces create a new panorama within which we the viewers can find our own immanent delights and focus points. The works selected range from pencil on paper to lithograph, and from one that utilises a TV monitor through to three-dimensional sculpture.

Special mention has to be made of Jeremy Bakker’s focussed piece Within, Without. The detail employed with pencil on paper to develop reaction to intensity of movement within a landscape is both believable and visually gripping from any point of the gallery landscape you view it.

A table of everyday objects created in resin by Nobuaki Onishi adds to the diversity of media in this exhibition. It is a genuine display in keeping with the concerns of the project. The inner energy of objects found in the everyday routine of Japanese and Australian life in both urban and other locations reminds us of overlooked layers from our own landscape.

Redistributing Intimacy, the ink and acrylic work of Hamish Carr, with its map-like construction, is one of the larger works in this exhibition. It possesses an aesthetically satisfying topographic effect from both close scrutiny and from distances within the Japan Foundation Gallery.

The haunting lithographs of Hisaharu Motoda deconstruct our beloved Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge in a chilling but beautifully rendered nightmare of neglect and urban mistreatment.

This exhibition is an exciting collection of well-contrasted works. The strength of its concept is no overnight acquisition for the Japan Foundation Gallery. Its human experience, off-paper cultural exchange and artistic energy has benefitted from earnest preparation and successes. Whilst not every one of the different pieces may affect viewers at the same level, the immanent possibilities for pondering life’s landscape many different ways through this exhibition are rewarding.

Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Immanent Landscape
Japan Foundation Gallery
Level 1, Chifley Plaza, 2 Chifley Square, Sydney
March 29 – April 30

Artists: Jeremy Bakker, Hamish Carr, Atsunobu Katagiri, Hisaharu Motoda, Nobuaki Onishi, Kiron Robinson, Ai Sasaki, Utako Shindo

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Paul Nolan is a classically trained pianist. He studied at UNSW and graduated with a Bachelor of Music.

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