An annual artists’ retreat in the arid beauty of the Flinders Ranges creates a hiatus from urban existence; isolation from diversion allows artistic immersion in the landscape.
Nine artists recreate the essence of this shared experience in painting, photography, print, textile and installation.
Liz Hetzel, Gini Lee, Jane van Mierle, Anna Mycko, Shelley Richards, Cathy Sarles, Carrie Sprod, David Sprod, Kocksi Thoelke.
This exhibition engenders an experience of remote outback Australia interpreted by nine contemporary artists who regularly immerse themselves creatively in the landscape.
An informal annual retreat for like-minded artists provides the opportunity for a community of creating isolated from the diversion of routine urban living. Sharing food and skills, it is an opportunity to immerse in a specific landscape variably drawing, painting, walking, noticing, observing, contemplating, collecting, arranging, collaborating, extracting in response to the environment. A focus for activity is the campfire on which huge cauldrons simmer extracting colour from collected plant material subsequently applied to paper, silk and wool.
Oratunga Station is located near Blinman in the northern Flinders Ranges on the traditional land of the Adnyamathanha people. Once part of a larger pastoral group it is now primarily concerned with art and ecology.
It is an arid and paradoxical landscape – rugged and fragile; full of nature and death, detail, immensity, minutiae; movement in detail and silence in scale. Immense, intense, faded, blanched; ‘the bones of nature laid bare’ as so famously put by Sir Hans Heysen.
Oratunga is also a post-colonial landscape with traces of feral invasion from plants and animals. Scarring from introduced hoofed ruminants is evident. Bones and wool attest to their continued presence. Rusty relics are scattered about. The homestead dump is a multi-layered record of station life: a laid out archeological dig (without the dig); a record of discarded consumable phases including old bathtubs, vacuums, windmills, motors, signage.