Catherine Parker + David Usher
Portals + Parables
Catherine Parker + David Usher both have an inherent and inescapable attachment to nature and the vastness of the internal and external landscape. Parker continues her exploration of time and place and human relationships within nature. She believes that all these elements can co-exist freely and fluidly at once. Through the depiction of ancient landforms the works meld the familiar with the ethereal, while vibrant colour schemes from neon pinks to deep indigos rein us into the present. Parker invites us to traverse the landscapes within the canvas, navigating the different territories whether they are physical, spiritual, psychological, metaphorical, historical or mythological. The viewer is invited into a nuanced space that has multiple entry points. Using landscapes as diverse as Magnetic Island, her home in Toowoomba, Queensland and the Himalayas as a starting point, Parker’s paintings present us with portals to multidimensional spaces and times, should we choose to enter. Usher’s current series of landscape paintings and ceramic vessels further explore memories of travelling through the Australian landscape as a child and viewing this landscape from the backseat of a moving car. These road trips form a parable in which the blurring endless panorama can be reinterpreted through mark making, evoking a sense of the sublime. The car window becomes a portal to mythological spaces and serves to frame the trance-like state the viewer/passenger enters as they gaze out at the seemingly limitless plains, valleys and hills.
This rushing view is broken only by the skipping dance of fences, gates, crossroads and occasional signs of life. The images that are remembered haze together into an endless landscape. Back in his studio, he recalls moments, places and encounters that can be reconstructed as art works invested with personal significance and coding.