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

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - VISUAL ARTS - Words louise nunn

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

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