Ann Vardanega explores the meaning of life – through local painter David Rowe’s art
Have you ever thought about how the world was created? Was it chance? Or divine intervention?
Goldilocks, an exhibition of creative work by local painter David Rowe, challenges us to ponder that question.
His work explores the age-old question of creation versus evolution. While David identifies as a creationist, his work invites us to consider this question and make our own choice.
While Goldilocks may seem an unusual title for an exhibition of surreal landscapes, it is a term given by scientists and astrologers to describe a palatable area in the universe where human life could be sustainable.
When Goldilocks sampled the porridge in the bears’ house, the first was too cold, and the second too hot – but the last was just right.
A Goldilocks planet is that perfect combination of porridge – everything has to be just right.
In our region of the galaxy, the Earth is the Goldilocks planet. Mars is too hot and Venus too cold – but our planet is uniquely positioned to develop complex life.
The paintings depict bizarre landscapes filled with massive waterfalls, supernatural rocky outcrops full of valleys and mountain ranges woven together by seemingly daunting perspectives and questionable gravitational circumstances, projected onto stressed-shaped canvasses to make the viewing experience more exciting.
Planet rotations with a milky way background threaten the stability of the composition. Realistically, tidal and seasonal patterns would challenge these nebular landscapes, making life more difficult.
But the paintings depict utopian scenes which entice you to swim in the rivers and waterfalls, to play among the stars, as if invited by God Himself.
Looking closely at the valleys and mountainsides, you will recognise life in the form of cane farms, sugar mills, cane cutters, barracks and harvesters. All so familiar, but immensely out of place, set within these surreal make-believe worlds, painting a vision of outer space.
There is nothing to reference except the artist’s imagination and vision.
There is no real horizon line or vanishing point, or if there is, it exists on multiple levels. There are still effects of light, shade and colour. It is this use of light which assists in making the paintings somewhat familiar.
This exhibition is a dreamlike visual experience – the work of a highly creative and original painter.
David was described recently in an interview as one of the most exciting painters in North Queensland. His large format and sometimes three dimensional canvases are only part of his unique style.
His work is highly detailed and completed using a very small brush. Look at the fine brushwork! The body of work was produced by David over the past two years.
It is the result of long hours in the studio after work and on weekends. His dedication and passion for his art is evident in this body of work. David, like most true artists, lives to paint he doesn’t paint to live.
His work is represented in gallery and private collections across Australia.
The exhibition sat nicely cradled in the lap of the recent UFO Festival in Cardwell. The opportunity to exhibit was made possible through the assistance of the Cardwell Gallery, Hinchinbrook Regional Arts Association and especially in cooperation with Thea Ormond and the UFO Festival Committee.
If you missed this show, then watch this space for the next showing of Goldilocks at a gallery near you.