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S.A. Illustrated – From the Street

Art Gallery of South Australia
2 June to 5 August 2012
Ali Baker, James Dodd & Peter Drew

“Although more than a century apart, South Australian street artists share with colonial artists an acute awareness of place. Using the visual languages of the street including paste-ups, stenciling and aerosol painting, contemporary artists Ali Baker, James Dodd and Peter Drew have responded to the Gallery’s colonial archive.”

As well as a bus shelter work on North Tce I executed a couple of works inside the gallery that extended my ongoing research into stencil applications, found text and landscape. Here is the accompanying blurb as written by the curator of the project, Lisa Slade-

“James Dodd has, for several years, explored the tension between the art of the street and the art collected by institutions. Here he uses street art processes such as stenciling and aerosol to re-make the picturesque landscapes that feature in SA Illustrated, an anthology of text and illustrations printed by JW Giles after the original drawings by George French Angas. The specific subject of Dodd’s mural is nearby Morialta Falls and Dodd has positioned his waterfall so that viewers walking down to the Gallery descend upon the landscape as they do via the walkways of Morialta. As a printmaker Dodd is drawn to prints from the colonial period and like these colonial artists, he uses repetition to embed imagery into our collective imaginations.

Where the colonisers saw South Australia as a land of plenty, a bounty to be harvested, twenty first century artists draw our attention to the scarcity and preciousness of our natural environment. This idea of a diminishing paradise can be seen in Dodd’s work where the sublime beauty of the waterfall is underdone by graffiti tags and noxious weeds. Dodd also references the contemporary face of exploring with text that relates directly to the recreational trespassers known as the cave clan, who explore the drainways of the urban landscape.”