Dispersion and Rossellini

Up with the sun at an early hour. Its freezing this morning so the first thing I do is check the temperature, its -1.3. A long hot shower followed by breakfast, then I sit down and read the catalogue ‘Into the Wild: Wilderness photography in Tasmania,’ with essays by Dr Nic Haygarth and Dr Deb Malor. As I read I write down the following notes, “with being within wilderness there is this sense of an awakening, or a finding of ones self, this is evident when reading the quotes from many of the photographers in the book, but there is also this sense of loss, of destruction and of oblivion associated with wilderness photography that if we don’t care and respect for it we will lose it forever.”

Rocky Cape headland

I think of dispersion and drawing, of artists Susan Turcott and Toba Khedoori, dispersing their drawings in very different ways, one through space and the other through the scribble. How they both explore an opening up space, of light and blank spaces, through a distortion of space as well as the notion of completeness and incompleteness, in the drawn imagery and composition.

Whereas photography creates images in a holistic compositional sense of a scene of something, drawing has the capacity to leave space, blank space, open space, emptiness, the space beyond or before or after the photograph, and act as a tool to disperse space in an even greater sense than the photograph. This conscious removal or gap within the potential of the drawn aesthetic as well as the content within ones thoughts of landscape and wilderness can act as a place where loss and awakening collide. These concepts converge through the dispersion of the mark on the page, the disappearance of the image within an image, where image drifts from representation into line and mark. Awakening and loss occurring all at once.

Lee Archer Cave

The weather today is clear skies, no wind, crisp and cool but warm in the sun. There is much frost on the side of the road as I drive in some sort of dream state thinking about wilderness, photography, landscape and drawing. Before long I am wandering around the headland of Boat Harbour Beach, rock hopping most of the way in the calm of the day. Wild rock formations, contorted, jagged, reaching out of the ground and sea at a 45-degree angle. I rock hop my way back to the car looking into the micro landscape worlds within the rocks. The explosive energy of the earth is frozen in time in these rocks. They fascinate me.

Next stop is a short drive to the far end of Sisters Beach and an hour-long walk around the eastern end of Rocky Cape national park. I take myself to the edge of Anniversary Bay, the sky is so clear, the water so tempting, saturation of natural colour all around. I visit Lee Archer Cave and am astonished by it. It is a tonal drawing artists’ dream. There is no colour in this natural landscape, just crisp whites, greys and blacks contrasted against each other sinking into darkness of what is quite a tall and deep cave. This is by far more impressive than North and South Cave over on the western side of the park. Back down to the car via Wet Cave, a small opening into a cave that seems to fall away down into the earth.

Back at the shack, lunch then I spend the afternoon drawing, again thinking and trying out pushing tone, dispersion, and contrast. Trying to stay loose but not always succeeding.

After some dinner I watch Roberto Rossellini’s 1953 film ‘Journey in Italy’, a soft slow film about an unwinding relationship occurring between a British couple set in Naples, Italy. When I say slow, I mean slow, but compellingly slow, beautifully shot with lots of loose and raw filming. There are no heroes in this story, just battles between personalities, complexity within subtlety win the day with this film.

Sisters Island