Raymond Arnold's 'Elsewhere World'
In Elsewhere World, Raymond Arnold has created a wall full of glimpses and snapshots of the West Coast region he inhabits, depicting both the natural ruggedness of the area, as well as the man-made scars.
A two-time Glover Prize-winner, the Queenstown printmaker does not shy away from casting a critical eye over the Tasmanian landscape he depicts in his work.
Tasmanian artist, Raymond Arnold stands before Elsewhere World at QVMAG Art Gallery at Royal Park. Image: Jacob Collings
Born in Victoria in 1950 and moving to Hobart in 1983, Arnold arrived in Tasmania in the thick of the Franklin Dam protests and was even arrested for being part of the environmental action.
The result of this emotionally charged experience was that he fell completely in love with the West Coast, later moving there to live and work.
Elsewhere World is an artwork ten years in the making, each individual etching being inspired by a different encounter with the landscape. And the copper plates used in the printing process represent the artist’s own inexorable link to the copper-mining history of the region.
Mount Lyell ranges, Queenstown, Tasmania. Image: Ollie Khedun
“We walk with the dogs in the hills around Queenstown a lot and I started drawing the landscape during those walks, sometimes while we camped on Mt Lyell Ridge,” Arnold says.
“Over time I started to build this collection of plates, and assembled them into panoramas of the landscape, the vegetation, and the tiny plants that were coming back into the landscape.”
The title of the work, Elsewhere World, reflects the remoteness of the West Coast, as well as its tormented human history. But Arnold says he also wanted to show a resilient landscape that would outlive its human occupants, despite the damage we have inflicted upon it.
Queentown, Tasmania. Image: Ollie Khedun
“Elsewhere World is a place away from things, and it is a place that things had happened to and was trying to recover from in a way. It’s a story about this landscape that has been so churned over by 100 years of mining.
“Initially I want to project a sense of wonder, about beauty, natural forms and relationships within the landscape. Then, as you look a bit closer, you might see there's a bit of a dam visible, or tree stumps, or pressure on the landscape in some way.
“I also wanted to show a sort of vacancy, heading towards that post-anthropocene concept, an abandoned landscape left to its own volition.”
‘...still growing’, Elsewhere World by Raymond Arnold. Image: Angela Casey
Arnold describes his work as transitory, a view of the West Coast in sections and micro-details. And it is also still growing.
Eventually the artwork will comprise 170 individual panels, with more expected to be installed in the gallery in February.
“I’m hoping that once whole piece is together, it will inspire a sense of awe for a natural world that is turbulent and chaotic, somehow always fecund and constantly developing.”
Raymond Arnold with one of his whippets in Queenstown, Tasmania. Image: Ollie Khedun