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Heartland: From the desert to the ocean - art taps into our connection with place
James Darling, Lesley Forwood, detail: Country, 2011, 3.5 tonnes mallee roots; © courtesy the artist and Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide, photo: courtesy Hugo Michell Gallery, Adelaide.

ADELAIDE.- The Art Gallery of South Australia presents HEARTLAND: Contemporary Art from South Australia from 21 June to 8 September 2013. Premiering new and recent work by 45 established and up and coming South Australian artists the exhibition embraces the distinct geographic locations and sensibilities characteristic of South Australia.

“Throughout South Australia, artists are making work in response to the world around them. HEARTLAND: Contemporary Art from South Australia presents these evolving and sometimes unexpected visions and offers new ways of thinking about place, country and identity,” said co-curators Nici Cumpston and Lisa Slade.

Underpinned by the desire to work with artists who respond to place in an innovative manner Cumpston and Slade traversed the state - from as far as Amata in the state’s northwest to Mt Gambier in the states south-eastern corner - seeking out those making work with emotion, spirit, resilience and originality.

“Art from the ancestral heart of this country, from the world’s oldest living culture, occupies the centre of the exhibition and features works by the Tjala Arts artists from Amata in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in the state’s northwest. The multi-dimensional installation created for HEARTLAND includes figurative sculptures made from tjanpi (spinifex) and found materials, large vibrantly coloured canvasses and a local language sound component,” Ms Cumpston and Ms Slade said.

Traversing media, age, gender and culture HEARTLAND also features artists Kate Breakey, Kim Buck, James Darling and Lesley Forwood, Wendy Fairclough, Stewart MacFarlane, Ian North, Annalise Rees, Chris De Rosa, Yhonnie Scarce, Paul Sloan, Angela Valamanesh, Hossein Valamanesh and Amy JoyWatson.

Currently based in Arizona, internationally renowned artist Kate Breakey makes an almost annual pilgrimage to South Australia, her birthplace. During these visits, made over thirty years, she has crafted an anthology of photographs which is on display for the first time in HEARTLAND. From Kangaroo Island to Port Lincoln, the Marne River to Meningie, these large-scale richly handcoloured landscapes present an informal history of her life.

For Mt Gambier born artist Kim Buck, the human form is a vessel for her exploration of landscape. Rendered as terrain in charcoal with breath-taking realism, the folds of her models garments mimic mountains eroded by wind and rain. By presenting her drawings as a panorama – a tradition of presentation indelibly linked to landscape – Buck explores the intersection of figurative traditions and the natural environment, offering a unique broadening of the term landscape.

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