New Drawing Wall highlights topical river issues

The thirty-fifth Shepparton Art Museum Drawing Wall features artist Alex Pittendrigh with a work called Près des Eaux: Tears of Isis, a large abstract painting referencing water and river systems.

It ties together the artist’s interest in environment, but also his long-held passion for ancient cultures. This work specifically references symbolic and sacred readings of water in Egyptian tomb paintings. In a contemporary context, it references issues faced by river systems in Australia such as the recent catastrophic ‘kill’ events within Australian rivers such as at the Murray Darling basin /Menindee.

 “The title is in part taken from an ongoing series of paintings of my own that are themselves riffing off an eponymously titled series of watercolours by Gustave Moreau at his house Museum in Paris, which were abstractions meditating on mythological subjects that appeared to the artist whilst in a liminal, sleep-like state,” said Mr Pittendrigh.

“At a symbolic level, water symbolises rebirth and new life after the destruction wrought by flood.”

The Drawing Wall zig zag pattern expands over approximately 10x2 m across the wall’s surface. The work has been painted with pencil and non-toxic acrylic and watercolour paints.

“On occasion the viewer will be confronted by irregularities or fractures in the overall geometric design, suggesting that the waters life giving flow has been disrupted or perhaps polluted by a lack of care for what has given life and a failure to heed the wisdom of those who cared for it long before,” he said.

About the Artist

Alex Pittendrigh was born in 1966 in Melbourne and lives and works in Melbourne and Tanja, NSW.

Working chiefly in painting, sculpture and installation, he maintains a strong interest in classical antiquity and how its long echo might usefully intersect with the present day and how it continues to resonate with contemporary culture’s anxieties and discontents.

He has undertaken residencies at The British School at Rome, Italy; The Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris; Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne, and has participated in group shows such as “Uncanny Nature” at The Australian centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), ”Lurid Beauty” at The National Gallery of Victoria, “Wilderness” at The Art Gallery of NSW, and others including Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Contemporary Art Tasmania, Hobart and Devonport Regional Gallery, and Two rooms, Auckland.

He was a founding member of the Artist run initiative First Floor in Melbourne, and has also exhibited at other ARIs such as Caves, Melbourne; Stereo Exchange, Copenhagen; and Dunedin.