Greg Mallyon

Greg Mallyon

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Greg Mallyon attributes his interest in the aerial viewpoint both from his extensive involvement with indigenous print making and the evolution of his own practice. Using satellite photography, computer manipulation and frequent expeditions over the interior by plane he has developed a singular aesthetic. A Melbourne-based artist, Mallyon explores aerial perspective in landscape painting, a tradition began well before the age of air travel. Medieval cartography which influenced the ‘imagined’ landscapes’ of Renaissance painters and non western artists have a long and involved tradition of both epic land art and painting that appraises the earth from above. Australian indigenous masters have depicted country as an abstract mass mapped by the symbols of their mythology and story telling. Looking at the tiny rivulets, silos, industrial structures, roads and rivers that tremble like threads in his compositions, one is reminded of the landscapes of Egon Schiele. In these paintings from a previous century, the blinking windows and teetering houses punch little blinking holes in the canvas. Man made structures look fragile and kinetic. All that should be horizontal looms vertically and all that should be stable vibrates. Visual contradiction creates tension in a painting. Areas of congestion and peace. Unexpected colour. Strange details that can not be coded or un-ravelled, that is all the stuff of Mallyon’s paintings. An experienced print maker, the etchers art of gauging the surface and creating drama between dark and light is sustained in these paintings. If his clusters of forms indicate human settlement, then those hamlets appear dwarfed in a vast landscape. The pleasure taken in colour and paint is palpable in these works. And Mallyon’s line dances in ragged patterns, a shorthand for what he has absorbed from above. As the crisis of ecology becomes more real to Australians, places like Menindee and the Finke River in the Northern Territory are no longer obscure visualisations. They are becoming more real and more precious to the public consciousness. Every artist that tackles these lands, trudging plein air on foot or gliding by plane, contributes to that awareness. Stubbornly, obsessively and joyously, each artist makes the imagined real. Because this is not just land for cattle and gauged minerals and this is no longer a cliched shorthand of blue sky and red earth. This is our creative wellspring, and it is sacred.

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