Review: Heartland

Art — By on July 30, 2013 3:38 PM

By ELYSE WILLIAMS

Protecting our environment is important to many, but the 45 artists being displayed at The Art Gallery of South Australia’s current Heartland exhibition take this safeguarding to a whole new level.

The exhibition allowed artists from all around South Australia to showcase their views and memories of our state in an array of remarkable ways

You will not be disappointed at how many techniques are covering the walls (and even the floors) of the gallery. From photography to Indigenous dot paintings, to sculptures of exotic creatures and installation artworks taking up entire rooms, there was an almost endless array of attention-grabbing artworks.

Well-known South Australian painter Stewart MacFarlane is one of the artist exhibiting his work in Heartland.The intense oranges and browns seen in each brushstroke telling the stories of his time in the Flinders Ranges. There is also a collaborative installation piece that took 16 days to assemble; made from pieces of mallee root, salt and the addition of sound in the background, it truly captures the natural beauty of the land.

Indigenous pieces were prominent in the exhibition, with a focal point being vibrantly coloured sculptures of creatures  made with a collection of natural mediums. Although interesting to look at, these sculptures also helped introduce the stories told through dot paintings in Heartland, which showed hours of dedication, not only to the artwork itself, but also to their own culture.

In addition, the tree shown in the Heartland logo can be seen as one of the main features of the exhibition – a thought-provoking piece by Hossein Valamanesh. As you walk into the room, you are truly mesmerised by a spinning tree hanging upside down above a pile of eucalyptus leaves, creating a range of organic patterns. It was so simple, yet so incredibly effective.

Heartland provides such a variety of views and so many different stories that it builds acceptance of the fact no two people experience life on our land the same way and it forces you to see new beauties all around which you never noticed before. Although slightly disappointing compared to the previous Turner from the Tate exhibition, it was still fascinating to witness nonetheless. Plus, it’s free admission.

Heartland is open at the Art Gallery of South Australia until 8 September.

Image via Art Guide Australia.

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