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VALERIE TRING : Anxious Watercolours ::: Installation Views ::: GALERIE DÜSSELDORF ::: 1 - 29 April 2007

1 - 29 April
Valerie Tring : Anxious Watercolours

I am in possession of a large ( 22 colour pan) black metal ‘Made in England’ Winsor & Newton watercolour paintbox.
For several years now I have been obsessed with the medium of watercolour. The place of watercolours as paintings rather than drawings on paper – as finished and autonomous (‘Projective’ as described by Bois). This is not unrelated to the story of exhibition watercolours and the societies that promoted them alongside oil paintings. Watercolour’s peculiar qualities of transparency and portability made it the medium for recording the origins of flora and fauns; architecture and its ruins; landscapes and the weather. The shape of colour in water…sometimes fugitive pigments “ colours…held on the paper by a feeble binding of gum” (Thackeray). What began with ‘stained drawing methods’ (tinting- imitating tone in oils), opened out into pure washes of colour (British artists working in Italy @1780)
My own watercolour fetish began with the mysterious and delicate watercolours of jellyfish on vellum, and others kangaroos and possums by Charles Alexandre Lesueur in the 1999 Museum of Sydney exhibition ‘Terre Napoleon: Australia through French Eyes 1800-1804’ curated by Susan Hunt and Paul Carter. On display were wonderful watercolours by Lesueur & Petit unofficial artists for Nicholas Baudin’s exploration of Australia on the floating laboratories, the Geographie & the Naturaliste. Thereafter I began experimenting with watercolours on leather especially soft kangaroo skin- my local suppliers are two elderly Polish leather merchants and boot makers who are known for designing the best riding boots in Sydney including polo boots for the late Kerry Packer.
Anxiety is the subject and rhetoric of my watercolours – whether baby animals- brightly coloured - fragile and pensive -‘Others’ (2002-2004); or kangaroos and boys- play-fighting, ‘Anxious emblems’ (2005-2007) ; and Antipodean landscape ruins –of houses after bushfires, cyclones or floods- ‘Ruinscapes’ (2002+) . I first exhibited the ‘Ruinscapes’ in a touring exhibition ‘Academici: Australia Council VACB Rome Studio residency 1999-2004’ in May 2005 just months after the nightmare of the Tsunami in the Pacific Ocean. In recent years research on the physical science of climate change has been prepared and reported on with growing urgency, projecting extremes and intensities of heatwaves and cyclones.
One of Durer’s most unusual watercolours is ‘Vision of a Cloudburst’, 1525 painted by the artist after a disturbing dream of a deluge…when he tried to describe how the water struck the ground at a distance with such force it could be heard as a frightening roar. A wonderous watercolour, but anxious.

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