Australian artist Hobie Porter is a keen nature lover and has a burning desire to illustrate how human beings interact with nature and the effect they have on the environment.
The 38-year-old, who lives among the subtropical rainforest of the Tweed Valley in northern New South Wales from which he derives much of his inspiration, is holding his first Mossgreen showing from Saturday November 29 to Saturday December 20 at 126-130 High Street, Armadale.
The exhibition, entitled Nature’s Redesign, features his landscape paintings in what Porter describes as a “contemporary context”.
Graduating with an honours visual arts degree and winning a Henry Lawson Scholarship to study in New York in 1998, Porter worked as both a secondary and tertiary NSW education teacher until becoming a professional artist seven years later.
Most of his solo exhibitions have been at the Art House Gallery in Sydney and this is his first solo foray into the Melbourne art market.
Porter attributes much of his influence in painting landscapes to iconic colonial artist Eugene von Guerard, whose works still command enormous prices.
One painting in particular, Tower Hill painted in 1855 at the State’s first national park near Warrnambool in southwest Victoria, has played a major role in his thinking and is the basis for the Tower Hill Project, which will be exhibited next year at Warrnambool Art Gallery.
Tower Hill was environmentally devastated by European settlers from the 1840s – but from the early 1960s was treated as a working exhibit of how a natural area can be reclaimed and today its ecosystem has been completely re-established.
Porter is keen to revisit and revitalise the colonial traditions (often considered dour and dead by fellow contemporary artists) made famous by painters like von Guerard – and, like the 19th century icon, introduces natural or man-made objects as a focal point for many of his works.
“This is a highly valid and important aspect of Australian culture and my job is to bring something new to the discussion,” he said.
“I am interested in colonialism and how the unresolved issue of how colonialism influenced the Australian landscape and environment.”
The exhibition features such works as Combustion Park 2014, Generator 2012 and Bleeding Manna Pattern Tower Hill 2014 (one of four works from the Tower Hill Project in the Nature Redesign exhibition).