Painter sees desert’s heart

Ovens & Murray Advertiser - - NEWS -

By WENDY STEPHENS

BEECH­WORTH Three Miles artist Alan Phillips has re­turned from a highly suc­cess­ful ex­hi­bi­tion of art­works as a fea­ture of Desert Fes­ti­val Week in Alice Springs in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory.

The 27 works were painted from Au­gust last year af­ter Mr Phillips joined an ex­pe­di­tion into the Gib­son Desert along the Rawl­in­son Range, in Western Aus­tralia – as pre­vi­ously re­ported in the Ovens and Mur­ray Ad­ver­tiser.

“I joined the sci­en­tific ex­pe­di­tion as the artist along with three sci­en­tists,” he said.

“One was look­ing for new flora in the Gib­son, one was look­ing for mam­mals and trac­ing the tracks of a mam­mol­o­gist from an ear­lier ex­pe­di­tion in 1934, and one was a ge­ol­o­gist.

“I col­lected in­for­ma­tion, tak­ing notes, pho­to­graphs and mak­ing draw­ings.”

Mr Phillips’ show – ‘ Paint­ings from the Gib­son Desert: a jour­ney of dis­cov­ery’ – was held in the Olive Pink Gallery in the Alice Springs’ Botanic Gar­dens of the same name.

“I would go out into the land­scape the early morn­ing or in the evening when the colours were ex­tra­or­di­nary and were chang­ing from minute to minute from vivid reds and oranges to the most amaz­ing deep pur­ples and ul­tra­ma­rine shad­ows,” he said.

“I came home to my stu­dio here in Beech­worth and spent the last 12 months work­ing on 30 paint­ings, 27 of which I took with me ( for the Pink ex­hi­bi­tion).

“We slot­ted the show into Desert Fes­ti­val Week and the re­sponse was amaz­ing, at­tract­ing the high­est num­ber of vis­i­tors ever recorded at the gallery over a 10- day pe­riod.

“About 1500 peo­ple passed through and the direc­tor, Ian Cole­man, com­mented to me that their so­cial me­dia page had more than 13,000 hits.”

Mr Phillips be­lieves his de­pic­tion of the Gib­son was a first for other than an indige­nous artist and the works at­tracted deep in­ter­est from the Ter­ri­tory com­mu­nity.

“I also ran a work­shop ti­tled ‘ Draw­ing the Desert’ and gave an artist’s talk and both events were booked out im­me­di­ately.”

Mr Phillips and Joy, his wife – a writer – gave pro­ceeds for brain cancer re­search.

“Next year I plan to go to Erl­dunda, a lovely moun­tain range just off the Las­siter High­way on the way to Uluru,” Mr Phillips said.

WORK OF ART: Alan Phillips with ‘Sladen Wa­ters re­vis­ited’ one his paint­ings from the Gib­son Desert se­ries ex­pe­di­tion.

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