IMAGINING the landscape
Adelaide artist Jason Cordero has relied on memory and a vivid imagination to create a new landscape exhibition now showing at BMG Art
JASON CORDERO’S new collection of landscape paintings at BMG Art suggest Cordero has been travelling widely since he last showed here four years ago. In fact, Cordero hasn’t been far from home, at least not in a physical sense. “Almost all these paintings are imaginary scenes,” he says.
Cordero’s exhibition, The Mountain, opened at BMG last night.
Representing two year’s work, the 12 large-scale paintings emerged recently from his Tea Tree Gully house.
He always looks forward to seeing them mounted on the gallery wall.
“I don’t really know until they’re hung in a gallery whether I’m happy with them because I can’t see them properly in my little space here,” he says.
“The pictures just happen, one leads to another.”
Cordero’s last Adelaide show at BMG in 2010 were mainly Fleurieu scenes.
Since then he has been painting constantly for competitions and exhibitions in prestigious interstate galleries. This has been good for business but curtailed his expeditions into the landscape.
When time allows Cordero likes travelling to the southeast of Australia, Tasmania or the Flinders Ranges to look for inspiration in hills, mountains and cloud formations. They appear in this exhibition in fictional vistas assembled from memory and imagination, or an “amalgam of experiences”.
In his artist’s statement Cordero says feelings of longing and restlessness pervade the works, epic dramas “arising from, and against, safe urbanism”.
Speaking from his home, he quips, “there’s nothing exciting here”.
“It’s a nice, quiet place,” he says. “My job is very solitary, so it suits me.”
Cordero, 40, graduated from SA School of Art “umpteen thousand years ago”.
Over the past decade he has been a finalist in several national landscape prizes, and winner of two, the 2010 John Leslie Art Prize and the 2006 Heysen Prize. He won third prize in the painting section of the 2008 Waterhouse at SA Museum, and was the People’s Choice in the 2008 Fleurieu, 2007 Glover, and 2005 and 2007 Heysen Prizes.
“I haven’t been travelling of late, it just hasn’t been possible in the past few years, so I think these paintings are probably just expressing a pent-up desire,” he says.
“Ordinarily in landscape you visit somewhere, and have a nice experience in the place you’re in, and paint from that.
“If you haven’t been anywhere, I suppose you imagine somewhere you’d like to be.
“It’s always nice to be away from people, to experience real solitude, and think about the significance of the individual in the landscape. This is a good way of going about it for me.” Jason Cordero is showing The Mountain at BMG Art until October 11.
oil on linen