Why are landscapes so often depicted with an element of fear? Think Wolf Creek, Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Man From Snowy River.
This is the question artist Merri Randell explores in her latest audio visual exhibition, one she describes as “experience that feels like David Cronenberg’s movie ‘The Brood‘ had a baby with Hans Heysen”.
With a background in TV and advertising, the Griffith University Queensland College of Art (QCA) Doctorate of Visual Arts candidate says she has crafted a confronting look at the landscapes of Australia.
“Drawing on that sense of fear often demonstrated toward the bush, the landscapes within the show are constructed through photography and motion design to give them a character with humanising resonances,” she explains.
“The show combines traditional cinematic trends with fairy-tales and myths to expose the non-indigenous relationship with the natural environment.”
“While there are certainly soothing aspects within nature that too often go unnoticed, there also exists a more carnivorous side of any landscape.”
In giving these landscapes personality or life-forces of their own, Merri has adopted the use of sound, with speakers throughout the gallery designed to encourage the audience to perceive the true nature of the images on screen.
“It’s ultimately an anthropomorphizing of trees, based on the more primitive or animal side of humans to depict the often compulsive consumption that drives us,” she says.
The show is her final body of work at the QCA and draws on experiences throughout her 20 year career, spanning film and television in London and Australia, screen writing, advertising, music (with a gig at MTV no less) and most recently, visual arts.
Landscapes are also a theme close to her heart, as Merri spends her down time living on a farm in Mt Cotton with her husband.
The Fen: A dark exploration of Australian landscape myths will open at 6.00pm on Friday 7 March at [email protected] (Postgraduate + Other Projects at Art Factory Gallery), 84 Merivale Street, South Brisbane.
The show runs each Thursday and Friday, 12pm – 6pm and Saturday 11am – 4pm from 27 February – 15 March.
For a sneak peek at the show: vimeo.com/76838897