Rover Thomas in the desert making art that is of the earth, simple, iconic masterpieces, representing deeply the land he was, he not separate, but a part of a whole intimately felt universe. Traveling overhead in planes, peering from tiny windows many times over the years, looking down into the land of Australia, seeing the red earth in a different way, became the first step for me to see life differently. To stop trying to see the earth with only one sense, the eyes, in a two dimensional pictorial way.
Lying on thick dewy grass in the night, looking up into the velvety blackness, light twinkling from distant planets and stars, but part of it, in it, not separate and observing, but deeply within the great night sky, deeply held by the deep dark earth. How to express this inner knowledge of life. Maybe the ancients have always expressed this and it is we who are now the primitive ones. Modernization and technology seem to have ultimately divided us from each other, our voracious consumerism has meant we are neglecting the earth, and our knowledge comes from others, not ourselves who have separated our senses from their essential connectivity. We are often alone with only the companions of things that have no life.
For months I have been in my studio drawing, trying to feel the earth, be the earth. I have scoured books of ancient art including the art of our Australian aboriginals, sinking into their work, meditating on it, trying to redraw in my own way their sense of the world, because instinctively I know they are deeply connected to all of life and I, too, want to belong.
My sculptures have been going this way for years, looking for the elemental, the spiritual essence of the human being. My drawings have lagged behind, perhaps out of habit in the way I see two dimensionally, I have seen only pictorially with that one visual sense and not all. My challenge was to ‘become’ everything I was trying to express. Recently, I put big slabs of paper on the floor and crawled all over them, black everywhere, a mess, losing perspective. Out of it came the message of Rover Thomas. I have been shamelessly influenced by him and so grateful. I have fallen in love with the rich earth colours that are here just the same in Italy. I feel the earth colour in my whole being, I can smell in its dark smoky browns its woodiness, its mustiness, in the reds I feel the abundant bloody fertility, in the ochres I feel the sun and warmth and light. I have let my figures fall on the paper, anywhere. The spaces between them as vibrant as their own energy that is part of the sky and part of the earth.
Some of these drawings and sculptures were in an exhibition recently at La Rondine Gallery along with the photos and sculptures of Sarah Danays.Tags: pastel drawings, rover thomas, sculptures, Shona Nunan