Chris Lawry - 'There Are Places I Remember'
Wednesday 1 - Saturday 18 June 2022
I love cities, but somehow it is rarely cities that inspire my creative work. The wild places, the forests, the deserts and ancient landscapes that hold deep geological time make my heart catch. Forests seem alive in an almost anthropomorphic way. I lean against a huge old tree and quietly have a chat with it. Seeing the Valley of the Winds at Kata Tjuta for the first time, I cried. These moments in ancient desert gorges filled with plants from an earlier age of rainforests and billion year old rocks are referred to as my ‘Cathedral Moments’. The plight of our wildlife during bushfire worries me more than houses burning. Tortured trees struggling to survive, their canopies bare and trunks covered with hopeful new leaves give me sympathetic pain.
The Australian landscape is unbelievably beautiful and colourful, from the shades of ochres and distant hazes of Central Australia, the vast array of greens and browns in the forests, the vastness of its horizons, the huge skies and seas of more blues that are yet to be given specific names in the colour chart, to the coloured shapes that seemingly create the landscape itself. My art-form though, is mainly black and white lino prints, I need to describe the landscape with my own visual language. Trying to reduce the complexity of nature to a form as simple as lino cut is almost perverse. The tools are limited and clumsy, and sometimes my hands themselves feel too clumsy for the task. There can only be black or white, with the illusion of grey created with dots or lines. Yet the beauty, and delight, for me, is in those very limitations. How to do best to include every element in the landscape when all I have is dots, lines, and my hands, is the creative challenge.
(separate paragraphs taken from the catalogue essay accompanying the exhibition).