Gesundheit - gum turpentine makes me sneeze. Paintings by Spalding

Published by: Stanley Street Gallery | 18-Mar-2016
Spalding's paintings immerse viewers in the windswept and weather-beaten landscape of the Snowy Mountains, as dense mist and snow give way to twisted gums and scrub.
Venue: Stanley Street Gallery
Address: 1/52-54 Stanley Street Gallery, Darlinghurst.
Date: 9th March - 9th April
Time: Wednesday - friday 11- 6pm. saturday 11am -5pm. Closed on Public holidays.
Call: 02 9368 1142
Spalding's paintings immerse viewers in the windswept and weather-beaten landscape of the Snowy Mountains, as dense mist and snow give way to twisted gums and scrub.

"I am inspired by the clarity of light at altitude and the quality of the air. The higher you climb the more vivid the colours become and the landscape has a very broad palette. In many ways the name 'Snowy Mountains' seems inadequate to describe a place with such environmental diversity and cultural history". Spalding

Fascinated with capturing Australia's mountain landscape as he experiences it, Spalding feels the landscape through his paintings. Up on the worn peaks of our ancient mountain ranges, he observes the intense colours of high altitudes through the sharp, clear light of the mountain air. After the devastating fires that burnt through the Kosciuszko region in 2003, Spalding began collecting the charcoal remnants of trees and using these to draw the burnt scenes before him. Since then, Spalding has incorporated natural elements from the land for his rendering of it, hand-grinding rocks to extract grey, brown and red ochres, and collecting sticks and leaves to furrow incisions in the paint.

There is a pleasing circularity to Spalding's exploration of the landscape, as the pigments come to represent the land of their origin, and by cutting through thick layers of paint Spalding revisits the drawings at the heart of his works. This becomes a tactile link back to sketches made whilst out experiencing the land.

Through his large scale works, Spalding envelopes viewers in the wild beauty of Lake Jindabyne and the Kosciuszko ranges by drawing us into his sense of place.

The exclamatory exhibition title Gesundheit, or 'to your health,' heralds each sneeze provoked by the process of binding natural pigments with gum turpentine and linseed oil, and wittily reflects the experiential nature of Spalding's approach to his subject. After living in Austria for a number of years and returning to Australia with his Austrian wife, Spalding feels a strong connection with the German language. Beyond the whimsy of its reference the title forms a heartfelt homage to the distinctive qualities of the Australian alpine landscape. As a toast to its sculptural eucalypts, forceful sou'westerly winds and unusual wildlife, this exhibition forges an experiential union between canvas and country.

About Spalding

Spalding lives in the Snowy Mountains of Australia. His artwork is strongly influenced by the majestic and raw beauty of the alpine environment, capturing the spirit of the mountains and the constantly changing colour and light.

Spalding graduated from the Bendigo Art School, Victoria in 1979 where he attended classes at the gallery school with Fred Williams. "We spent time at the ANU and RMIT as well, being a country art school we were billeted around in the cities. It was a really cool experience as Melbourne was a happening place with roar studio artist run exhibitions just starting to get some traction". Spalding

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