Reviews | Dislocation of place

Canberra Times, Thursday, February 9, 1989

South Australian artist Neville Weston was in town last week for the opening of his exhibition Here and There at Solander Gallery, Grey Street, Deakin.

Weston has drawn from France, Italy, a place called Gunpowder in the Queensland outback, and closer to Canberra, Tidbinbilla, as sources of inspiration. He is fascinated by the qualities of light, shade and texture in the landscape and speaks of the “dislocation of time and place” in his work.

Thus he may be standing in Monet’s garden in Giverny, France, but the hills remind him of South Australia or Queensland. This ability to convey echoes of place and experience give his work an aura of wistfulness and thoughtful beauty which extends beyond Weston’s obvious technical accomplishment as a painter.

Last month Weston was described by The news in Adelaide as the artist to watch and one of South Australia’s leading painters. He won the inaugural Sir Hans Heysen Memorial Art Prize two years ago. Like Olsen, Weston loves the Australian landscape and abhors its destruction. He is horrified at plans to build a tourist resort in the wild and beautiful Flinders Ranges, a favourite “spiritual place” for painters, bushwalkers and campers.

Weston, who was born and studied painting in England, lived in Canberra in 1975 where he worked as a visiting fellow at the Humanities Research Centre at the ANU. The Tidbinbilla works were painted during a recent visit. “I like the way the clouds cast those fantastic deep colours over the landscape,” he said.

Weston carries a sketchbook with him “at all times”. When I caught up with him at Solander Gallery, he had it with him, filled with sketches of a recent visit to Lanyon. He would love to do a series of paintings of the homestead and its gardens – “maybe next time”.

When he paints Monet’s garden, Weston finds himself “almost unconsciously using brush strokes like Monet’s”. He is inspired by the Australian Impressionist painters like Roberts and Streeton, and believes the Impressionist style is specifically suited to depicting the Australian landscape. Weston is not simply looking back – he is painting in the 1980s and “updating” what painters have done before him. There is clarity in much of his work which makes it drift away from Impressionism at times and ensures that it is not easily pinned down. The exhibition finishes on February 26. Hours are Wednesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

Amanda Lynch

© 2014 Neville Weston