PUZ­ZLE PIECES

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - WOMADELAID­E -

away in a drafty and dusty shed in­hab­ited by rats, pos­sums and the odd red-bel­lied black snake, Mark Thompson has been work­ing in su­per-re­al­ist de­tail. He en­ters an­other world as he as­sem­bles images and thoughts with a de­signer’s eye. The masses of ref­er­ence ma­te­rial, pho­to­graphs and stocks of things which have caught his imag­i­na­tion are all cross-pol­li­nated into works for A Soli­tary Vice in the BMG Ade­laide Fes­ti­val joint show with Stephen Bow­ers.

The show’s pri­mary piece, Evening Shad­ows: Al­bert, Ru­bina and Alice Lid­dell at Port Pirie, right, pulls to­gether Al­bert Na­matjira’s fam­ily from two pho­to­graphs by the late Axel Poignant. The stacks of the Port Au­gusta power sta­tion form the back­ground be­cause this is the view that greeted Thompson when he came down from Dar­win on reg­u­lar child­hood vis­its to his grand­par­ents at Largs. “It’s a mem­ory paint­ing,” says the work­ing class boy who doesn’t like to be called an artist, say­ing that’s a ti­tle you get “when you’re long and truly gone”.

To one side is a man hold­ing a whip and sit­ting on a rather op­pressed-look­ing horse – the first horse Thompson has ever painted. The man looks like Henry Ay­ers but Thompson says he is just a “fig­ure of white au­thor­ity”. In front of him stands a man in green. A sta­tion­mas­ter? “He is a man in green be­cause the paint­ing needed a fig­ure and colour there,” he says. “I put him there with my de­signer hat on. Same with the palm trees. I stood back and looked at the paint­ing and knew it needed some­thing

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