Laith McGregor: Archipelago
Perimeter Editions, in partnership with STATION gallery, bring us the second title surveying Laith McGregor’s works; a richly illustrated book which features an essay by Brisbane-based writer and curator Hamish Sawyer, accompanying 40 images of McGregor’s works from his Island Drawings and Island Collages series.
The book’s pages are largely filled with the images of McGregor’s series – meticulously rendered greyscale drawings and gaudy collages of postcard scenes, as the title suggests, depicting island life. Palm trees, sandy beaches, thatched huts, beached rafts, sunsets and calm seas are reoccurring motifs. Aptly the artist lives and works between Byron Bay and Bali, however somewhat ironically, it was his time spent on Suomenlinna Island, Finland during an Australian Council of the Arts residency program, that was the catalyst for the tropical collage works.
In the oversaturation of ever-popular assemblage and dismemberment artworks, Sawyer’s writings offer insight into McGregor’s artistic practice and process. The essay exposes much more than the geographical sources of inspiration guiding McGregor’s body of works, with Sawyer incisively construing the lasting impact of Robinson Crusoe and Henri Matisse, in addition to McGregor’s interest in time and the value of artistic labour, as well as the relationship between themes of identity, place and image-making.
The essay opens with a quote from McGregor, contextualising the intersect of these themes, ‘I’ve become familiar with moments of disorientation and isolation, unexpected realisations, and questioning of personal identity that come from living in another place that’s far away, but actually not that far away either.’