There is something so captivating about the Australian bush. Whether it’s the contrast of the white gum bark against vast shrubbery, or the intricate weaving of branches and leaves that create a labyrinth of natural universes, we’re transfixed. And evidently we’re not alone, the landscape also has a special hold over Sydney artist Dan Kyle. Graduating from the National Art School in 2010 and setting up his studio on the outskirts of Sydney’s west, Kyle creates art that captures the softer side of the deep and complicated bushland.
A preoccupation with the land is the focus of his latest exhibition at the Nicholas Thompson Gallery in Melbourne’s Collingwood: Backcountry features familiar visuals of the native landscape interpreted through Kyle’s artistic lens. “I want to grab a calmness out of the bush – to create a slow lean and produce calm composition,” the artist explains.
The result is a clean, calm impression of the bush that focuses on muted colour and light ahead of structure, forcing viewers to think about the emotion behind the work instead of the subject on face value. Backcountry brings to the fore the feeling of summer, hot dry days intermingled with the humidity and mist that comes with the unexpected summer storms. By elevating the traditional landscape painting to a new level of aesthetic investigation, Kyle seeks to reinvent the often dated genre in the name of the land. “The land never comes first. The land is always abused. I think that I am trying to preserve the beauty and the importance of the bush, or the natural landscape.”
Backcountry runs from April 10 – 28, for all those in the mood to lose themselves in the beauty of the land.