Joanna Logue: The Experienced Landscape

For 20 years Joanna Logue has lived and worked from her home-studio in Oberon, a country town in the central west of New South Wales. It has been the landscape and the gardens surrounding her home and studio that has defined her work to date. However, a recent shift in the artist’s creative base to a metropolitan centre has inspired different methods and processes thus forging a new interpretation of the landscape.

Joanna Logue’s first solo show at Melbourne’s James Makin Gallery is the culmination of working in both her country studio and her new city studio. Working between rural Oberon and urban Melbourne for the past two years, the work reveals how the shift has altered her philosophical approach to landscape painting.

Where her work often used the motifs of pine trees and cultivated farm land, she would blur the image and only depict a segment of view as though looking through a window. The new plein air works of her garden represent a significant change from this previous process, which often employed a photograph as the point of departure. For Logue, responding directly and immediately to her surroundings is a formal exercise in gathering and analysing visual information and rendering it in her own style.

The garden works reflect a fundamental contrast between “the ordered linear geometry within the garden against the skeletal conifer shapes and wider fields undulating into the distance.”

In contrast, at her Clifton Hill studio, she works through memory, reimagining the landscape and her relationship to it. As Logue states: “Here it seems the instinct is to conjure up an experience of the landscape, it is a way of painting by looking inward and accessing a remembered visceral sensation, a way of reconnecting with ’place’ where the landscape becomes clearer with distance.”

Some of her remembered landscapes focus on the area of Lake George in Monaro country in New South Wales, an area she has visited many times. These works on paper are visually textured, the marks created with a trowel and thick paint which is scraped across the delicate surface. Some of these works were then cut into pieces which were then transposed back together, a device used to truncate and distil the image. These images are free flowing and illusionary but retain a sense of geometry and space.

Logue brings the same approach to the remembered landscapes inspired by a recent trip to the north island of New Zealand, as well as collective visual imagery gathered over years in Oberon.

Joanna Logue is an artist committed to the landscape as a potent expression of self and the spirit. As she states: “The new works are imbued with a mysteriousness and otherworldliness but appear to be made with seemingly contradictory approaches. There is evidence of a constant pushing and pulling between emotional and intellectual attention, a kind of ebb and flow between certainty and uncertainty, between knowing and not knowing, which speaks to and echoes the ephemeral, transient nature of the landscape.”

James Makin Gallery
14 November to 8 December, 2013

Lake George, 2013, acrylic on paper, 45 x 42 cm

Lake George IV, 2013, acrylic on paper, 52 x 122cm

Courtesy the artist and James Makin Gallery, Melbourne

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