‘Presence’ demonstrates the ways in which issues around spirituality, the sublime, romanticism, impressionism, minimalism and surrealism are manifested in depictions of the Australian landscape. The exhibition comprises of two components. The first component is indigenous artist Michael Riley’s film Empire. The second component is a suite of 7 small Australian landscape paintings from the 1860s to the present. This suite includes paintings by Eugene Von Guerard, Frederic McCubbin, Fred Williams, Clarice Beckett, Louise Hearman and Rick Amor.
Michael Riley’s Empire encompasses visions of the landscape and the effects of missions and Christianity on Aboriginal culture in country Australia. A visual essay accompanied by a grand and evocative musical score by composer Antony Partos and the Tasmania Symphony Orchestra, Empire is an ode to both the expansiveness and minutiae of Australian landscape. Set amongst works by some of the VCA's most distinguished alumni, Riley's film is a potent reminder of an Indigenous understanding of landscape existing centuries before the VCA's 150 year history.
Eugene von Guérard
Download the roomsheet [PDF, 277kb]