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Patrick Grieve
First Sights from May
3 February to 4 March 2006

 

Patrick Grieve’s striking landscape paintings reveal his intimate attachment to the place of his birth, the Tasmanian north-west coast. This landscape is highly distinctive characterized by vibrant, green paddocks set against ploughed fields of red ochre-coloured earth. In this coastal corner of Tasmania, the country flattens out to reveal sweeping, open vistas where the overarching sky meets the land and the sea.

Grieve is an artist deeply concerned with the process of painting. His works are studies exploring the texture of paint, the expressive gesture of the brush and the nature of the canvas surface. It is these concerns that allow him to represent the dramatic northwest coast so effectively. The layers of paint with which Grieve builds up the surfaces of his work reflect the layers of the landscape itself. Blocks of green paint convey the rich agricultural fields. Small patches of ochre pigment under-painting remain visible and recall the ochre earth beneath the lush grass paddocks.

Grieve’s paintings are also studies in landscape composition. Some works are dramatic skyscapes in which the land is relegated to a small strip at the bottom of the canvas. In other paintings, there is a near vertical, aerial view of the landscape with the horizon line pushed up to the very top of the canvas.

Grieve’s concern with the two dimensional patterning of colour and gesture upon the canvas recalls the experiments of American abstract expressionist painters, notably Marc Rothko.  Yet whilst Grieve displays an interest in the formalist concerns of paint and surface, his works remain representations of a unique landscape. They flicker between the two dimensional canvas surface and the three dimensional dramatic vistas of ploughed earth and open sky that characterize the North-west coast. This flickering between two dimensional and abstraction and three dimensional vista can also be found in the art of English painters such as Peter Lanyon and William Scott.  It is also a characteristic of Fred Williams most striking landscapes.

The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and Artbank in Sydney have already acquired paintings by the artist. Grieve’s brilliant, large, bold canvases react against the soft, muted hues of the Tasmanian watercolour painting tradition that so dominated art from this region during the 1970s and early 1980s. Nor do his paintings possess the melancholy and subdued tones evident in the paintings of other well-known Tasmanian artists such as David Keeling.  Grieve’s work is distinctive, forging a unique interpretation of the Tasmanian landscape.

Dr Sarah Scott

Patrick Grieve

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