Coloured pencil on pastel board 80 x 40 cm
Global Warming is a huge issue here in Australia and opinions are varied from ‘true-believers’, those who say ‘no’ to those who are in denial (of most things). There is no doubt that the climate has changed, and not for the better. Into this debate comes the Carbon Tax, an initiative of the Federal Government in its attempt to reduce the amount of (polluting) carbon we annually create in this country. This tax can be offset by buying ‘carbon credits’, an initiative that has resulted in the planting of thousands of trees that store carbon.
While all this is going on we are madly building anything and everything out of concrete, or as one could call it, ‘carboncrete’. Canberra is a great example. It is a city full of trees, wide, open spaces, clever architecture and millions of tonnes of concrete. Pre-fabricated slabs are everywhere, from buildings to footpaths. Many of these paths have thousands of small stones embedded in them, kilometre after kilometre.
When I was in Canberra last month, I took an interest in these footpaths; landscapes encased in concrete. Some of the small rocks embedded in the concrete were quite beautiful. Many of the arrangements reminded me of landscapes. Here, as in the bricks I have been studying, were examples of ‘landscape memory’. I also thought of how much carbon is associated with the manufacture of each tile and pre-fabricated slab. They certainly aren’t carbon neutral! (Why do we label hydro power ‘clean and green’ when there is so much concrete in dams, pipes, canals and spillways?)
My painting is a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ look at the whole issue. After all, it’s still a landscape, isn’t it?
A carbon forest growing in concrete. What do you think?
This painting has resulted in another that I’m beginning this week after a lot of research. If successful, I will enter it in a forthcoming landscape prize.