In over 40 years as a full time practising ceramic artist, the Australian landscape has never ceased to inspire and fascinate Pippin Drysdale. For the Breakaway exhibition, she wanted to create a visual response to the topography of chasms, gorges, gaps and cavities created over millions of years. This collection represents the spine of our landscape, the cliffs, caves and ecosystems that play a unique role within nature’s maps; succour offering shelter, water and food; and points of surveillance and safety.
Inspired initially by the compelling formations in the Karlu Karlu Conservation Reserve near Katherine in the Northern Territory, and walking and camping around the Bungle Bungles in the Kimberley, the works resonate with both a deep respect for the profound physical beauty of the landscape and the sacred connection to country, stories and cultural life of Australia’s First Nations People.
Pippin saw in the natural process of the weathering and erosion that shapes, scars, and colours those spectacular natural wonders create, with the challenge to create drawings of layered colours around ceramic forms. She has long understood that landscape is not just about the physical form, and over time has tried, using colour and pattern, to describe the effect of light changing hues over the passing of time from sunrise to sunset, and season to season.
In ‘Breakaway’, Pippin has sought to capture the vastness of the Australian sky and the effects of differing weather patterns. The sky is where the earth and the universe meet and whether it is a cloudless cerulean blue or dark or the grey and purple of a looming storm, its luminous, lustrous magnificence is all-encompassing.
Maggie Baxter is an artist, curator, and writer who lives and works in Western Australia