Past Exhibition: Liz Wickramasinghe, Marshland Rise
"Since moving from the inner suburbs of Melbourne to Armstrong Creek in the outskirts of Geelong, my everyday visual experiences have undergone a big shift. These paintings are a series which have been informed by the varied landscape surrounding my new home.
Like many places, this landscape has many layers. Wadawurrung People are the Traditional Owners of this land. Geographically, it is a vast, natural floodplain of Lake Connewarre and surrounding coastal inlets and wetlands. There is a postcolonial history of farming which still exist in much of the area; many old, run-down farms surround the marshlands, swamp gum forests and gaming reserves. However this region has recently been going through huge shift in the last decade as many new, ever-expansive, housing developments are now transforming this landscape into vast, residential suburbs. I am personally part of that change - my own family home is a new-build house.
This series of works is a direct study of these surroundings which I now live. My paintings are abstracted, some-what surreal landscapes, inspired by the old farms, marshy grasslands and new housing constructions. While new coastal wetlands, grasslands, creeks and billabongs have been re-cultivated in these new developments (creating a new home to wildlife), a sea of pitched roofs and housing construction now sit upon the flat horizon, creating an almost mountain-like presence in the landscape. Their newness contrasts the dilapidated barns, rusted farming equipment and wire fences nearby. This body of work aims to capture both the tension and harmony of the construction, re-construction and history of this landscape and blur the line between what is human-made and what is natural. In my process, I have used elements of hard edged line, technical drawings and geometric shapes alongside organic forms and scratched, splashed, printed and brushed paint work. In each composition, the marshlands dominate the foreground however the housing-like shapes overlook the horizon. Both elements are vast and seem competitive and are reflective of this new, changed landscape.
Liz Wickramasinghe is an early career artist based in the Geelong region of Victoria. Liz graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from RMIT in 2008 where she majored in Painting and Printmaking. Her other qualifications include a Bachelor of Design from Swinburne University and a Graduate Diploma of Secondary Visual Art Teaching at the University of Melbourne. Having worked in a range of exhibition-related roles at the National Gallery of Victoria, Liz went on to work as a Secondary School teacher. After moving to Geelong and having a family, Liz finally pursued her life-long goal of being a practicing artist. She has since exhibited in a range of group exhibitions and this is her second solo exhibition. She currently works in her home studio in Armstrong Creek, Victoria.
Liz’s abstracted paintings often depict imagined, remembered and rearranged subjects such as landscapes and botanical studies. They draw inspiration from her wide range of life and study experiences as well as her current coastal surroundings. Her art making processes consist of many layers, combining a range of techniques and approaches such as printmaking, etching, design, architectural drafting, painting and drawing. Her artwork explores both a tension and interconnectedness between human-made and natural worlds.