North Coast artist celebrates 160 years of a special site

Northern Rivers artist Hobie Porter. Photo supplied

Leading Northern Rivers based artist and SCU graduate Hobie Porter returns to the Lismore Regional Gallery this month for the opening of his remarkable exhibition Unnatural History: The Tower Hill Project.

Well known for his majestic representations of the local landscape. Porter attributes much of his influence to renowned colonial painter, Eugene von Guérard.

For this series of paintings being exhibited Porter travelled to the south-West coast of Victoria to re-visit the site of one of von Guérard’s most celebrated paintings, Tower Hill, painted more than 160 years ago in 1855.

Hobie Porter 2015, From Little Things, Big Things (detail) , oil on canvas, 120 x 200cm, Collection Warrnambool Art Gallery

In this exhibition Porter interrogates the environmental impacts that colonial settlement has had on this special place.

Guided by von Guérard’s painting, a major revegetation program began in the 1960s to restore the flora and fauna native to the region. Porter’s depiction of Tower Hill celebrates this renewed state, while also alluding to the complexities of the restoration program, our relationship to the natural environment and how our understanding of these relationships has been shifted since von Guérard’s time.

Porter’s sublime panoramic landscapes are overlaid with configurations of the minutiae that the artist discovered while exploring these sites. Feathers, leaves, flowers, botanical specimens, ceramic shards and beach shells (often used to represent Aboriginal midden shells) – forge meaningful connections between the microcosm and the macrocosm.

Hobie Porter: Unnatural History: The Tower Hill Project, Lismore Regional Gallery: 17 February – 1 April 2018.

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