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Town and Country

BY Susan Gibson | 27-May-2017
This series of paintings explore the imprecise boundary between the man made and natural worlds. This is where nature is encroached upon by man made activity, and where the periphery of town life is scattered with symbols of decline and abandonment.
Venue: Cambridge Studio Gallery
Address: 52 Cambridge Street, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia
Date: 7 to 25 June, 2017
Time: 12 to 5pm, Weds to Suns
Ticket: Free
Web: www.cambridgestudiogallery.com.au
: https://goo.gl/BuLmGv
EMail: info@cambridgestudiogallery.com.au
Call: 03 9486 0169
Old Capitol Theatre, David McLeod
As I depict the down at heel aspect of outskirt rural buildings and roads, and of paddocks strewn with old cars and sheds, I also take the viewer down the road and into the towns themselves. I focus on the many shops that lie abandoned in main streets quietened by impact of highway bypasses and long ago closures of banks, pubs and sense of community.

The young people have largely moved away, the nearest supermarkets, hardware stores and service providers, are now twenty kilometres or more over in the larger towns. This whole scale change in identity and purpose of these places in also replicated in the abandoned corner store, which reflects a change in attitudes to how people shop and the globalised impact of large corporations centralising their retail operations in enormous shopping malls and hyper stores. It is the tip of the iceberg of globalisation, free trade and the dramatic changes henceforth.

The resulting impact is a fragmenting of community and the upheaval of dramatic societal change. This leads to a mindset of envy and resentment, and is reflected in the growing attraction in regional areas, to populist political leaders.

Despite the beauty of some of my locations ,on closer inspection the creeks are polluted, there is obvious neglect, communities are closed and forgotten, and a timelessness and a strange silence pervades.

There is a poignant narrative to be found in these scenes. The abandoned shopfronts of my smaller paintings, are painted viscerally and with a solitary dignity. There are no people about and stillness is often symbolised with stark tones and long shadows. Some of these buildings are loose depictions of backstreet locations and the main streets of country towns.

These locations share a similar disinheritance. The modern world with it’s global economy, has created rural dispossession and has bypassed the former society of corner shops where people met and where there was the backbone of a close-knit community.


Exhibition runs: 7 - 25 June, 2017
Opening drinks: Sunday 11 June, 2 to 4pm.