Strathnairn, Woolshed Gallery
96 Stockdill Drive Holt ACT
Until 18 April 2021
Open Thursday – Friday 10 am – 4 pm, Saturday – Sunday 12 pm – 3 pm
Carolyn Fitzpatrick’s superb drawings in ink and pastel carry a deep reverence for the landscape and for the tenacious power of nature Her sensitive evocation of land has found a perfect home in the woolshed at Strathnairn.
For the most part the drawings depict a dry landscape, often ravaged by fire and drought, an earthiness; the palette is in browns, duns, blacks and that washed out whiteness we as Australians are so familiar with, especially in these times of cataclysmic fire.
But, there is also greening, the always hopeful and hope-inducing regrowth of the eucalypts, the verdant fronds of brackens, the wanton regeneration of the cabbage tree palm and the solid hardiness of the Xanthorrhoea. Her works are made from images mostly close to home or on NSW regional drives and include long views with which Canberrans will be familiar as well as various places and properties at the nearby coast. The artist’s respect for the landscape is everywhere palpable.
The handsome exhibition catalogue includes an essay by Peter Haynes. In it he speaks of Carolyn Fitzpatrick’s work thus: ‘The monumentality of the individual motifs so beautifully captured, coexists with an intimacy that illustrates FItzpatrick’s especial relationship that she establishes with the landscapes that constitute her peripatetic practice… It is the necessary tool for her to express her deep connection with the natural world…’
In the Strathnairn Woolshed Gallery the audience can at once experience a closeness to Nature with the roughly hewn timber posts, the natural light and the sound of the wind ever present, but one is also conscious of encroaching urbanisation with the nearby sounds of construction at Ginninderry.
The works affect us similarly with their wildness, the strength of their distinctive ‘naturalness’ but with an ever-present consciousness of a certain fragility at the touch of humankind and its deleterious effects.