In ‘Sullied Sublime’, Newey summons the greats of Australian landscape painting as appropriated, contemporary visions of the sublime.
Von Guerard and Buvelot are celebrated as post colonial masters of painting the Australian landscape, en plein air, yet for Newey, their compositions represent a fluctuous energy.
It is well documented that European lineage and contemporary, continental trends beckoned these new Australian artists of the “in-between” to translate their new environment in a foreign visual language. This (100 year +) period represents a vacillation between memory and experience; honour and novelty.
Newey’s paintings could not be further removed from the plein air tradition. Her reference to these canonised artworks has been made purely through online archives of the National Gallery of Victoria. Small and pixellated remnants of these great historic, painterly performances have been appropriated by Newey, and somewhat reinvented, via the filter of the digital screen.
The blur, the smear. A besmirching of pure form. In translating these small jpegs into large paintings a great deal of reinvention takes place. Chinese whispers sabotage the process of visual translation and forms become fouled and sullied, somewhat like the original landscape that hosted such artistic visions.
What visual motif could possibly unite the Romantic and the Contemporary, digital Sublime so succinctly as a “blur.”
For it is at one a state of immanence and becoming as well as a static moment, a frame – a pause.
This potent space alludes to world past, digital and imagined but not quite present.