ARTIST PETER GREENAWAY is a man

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					                                                 Artist turns debris
                                                 into images of
                                                 coastal beauty
                                                 STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY AMELIA JAMES


            Victorian artist
     Peter Greenaway’s
 inspiration is the beauty
 of the seashore, but the
     materials he uses to
  portray that beauty are
        often the bits and
     pieces of washed-up
      debris that in many
      people’s eyes defile
                  a beach.
                                                 Water the colour of Windex .                                                         Flotsam series.


                 PETER GREENAWAY is a man        sights as old vessels washed high and dry     quality. They also create an historical



A
          RTIST
           who loves the sea, and                onto the shore. He likes to visit the         narrative linking it to the ocean.
           particularly that part where the      slipyard at Nungurner on Victoria’s              Like the ocean itself, Greenaway’s
           ocean meets the shore - the           Gippsland Lakes where the traditional         paintings draw the viewer into their
littoral edge. This, he points out, is where     shipbuilding skills and yarns from the        watery hues. The shadowy surfaces allude
man and nature collide and the residue of        proprietor often provide as much              to things that lie beneath and the liquid
both mingle to create a montage of               inspiration for his work as the tangible      colour swirls over and around objects that
shapes, textures and colours that are            debris he collects, the array of flotsam      float and collide on the surface. The
evocative and beautiful. This residue -          and jetsam he finds washed up on the          artist’s success is in capturing the ever-
washed-up on the beach - is his raw              shore.                                        changing nature of the ocean and the
material and his inspiration, and from it           Greenaway’s skill is made visible in the   viewer is rewarded with images that speak
he produces images which are rich and            way he juxtaposes the bits and pieces he      of coastal sights, transformed into artistic
detailed. What some would see as rubbish         collects. For him they have a meaning         works that are much more than simple
can be for Greenaway the starting point of       beyond themselves. A fragment of              representations.
a work of art.                                   signage becomes a metaphor for man; a
    The transformation from debris to art        piece of boat decking reflects the beauty     Peter Greenaway is represented by McCulloch
is achieved by means of a combination of         of the coastal landscape. Plastic             Gallery, 8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne 3000. For
                                                                                               information please ring 0422 162 013 or visit the
techniques - assemblage, painting and            packaging, now all to common on any
                                                                                               website www.mccullochgallery.com.au. His
glazing. The resulting images are                shore, is not just an example of human        works can also be seen with artist Ron Quick’s in
essentially abstract depictions of coastal       refuse but an incisive comment on man’s       the exhibition “An Open Landscape” at
landscapes, but they “read” at the same          disregard for the environment. Although       Wishart Gallery, 19 Sackville Street, Port Fairy,
                                                                                               Vic. 3284. from 29 October to 20 November. For
time both as aerial views and close-up           not      always     recognisable      when
                                                                                               details call 03 5568 2423 or visit
depictions of the water’s edge.                  incorporated into the finished work,          www.wishartgallery.com. Peter Greenaway’s own
    Greenaway’s paintings eloquently             these “found objects”, arranged and           website is www.petergreenaway.com.au.
proclaim the artist’s longstanding               juxtaposed to accentuate texture and
fascination with the ocean. He loves such        detail, give the work a three-dimensional


                                               COAST & COUNTRY FIFTH BIRTHDAY EDITION 2005                                                         79

				
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