Industrial Cathedral

Industrial Cathedral
"Industrial Cathedral" charcoal drawing on paper 131 x 131 cm Jane Bennett. This drawing was a finalist in the 1998 Dobell Prize for Drawing (Art Gallery of N.S.W.) ; Finalist in 1998 Blake Prize for Religious Art ; Winner of 1998 Hunter's Hill Open Art Prize

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Scar Tissue


Exploring disused manufacturing can sometimes be a bit depressing – all that decay, all those jobs that no longer exist, all that busy industry that has gone.
I have been painting in the increasingly empty Large Erecting Shop of the Eveleigh Railway Workshops, as they are being slowly stripped of all but the barest essentials,
leaving desolate floors and abandoned walkways.
Echos follow your every move, mimicking and daring you to make your presence known.
plein air oil painting in the Large Erecting Shop, Eveleigh Railway Workshops by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
'Release' 2017 oil on canvas 41 x 31cm
Painting is less documentary, more subjective and definitely slower and more labour intensive than photography. However these qualities can be assets as well.
The painter has to select one image showing a definitive moment and yet implying others, to reveal layers of meaning that reward further viewing.
I value the quality of authenticity, of being a witness.
This practice of painting on site produces a more genuinely felt memory of my experience and an understanding of the location’s properties and mood, providing me with a truer record of the colour palette than photography.
plein air oil painting in the Large Erecting Shop, Eveleigh Railway Workshops by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
'Release' 2017 oil on canvas 41 x 31cm
With the removal of so many items, I focus intensely on what remains. Instead of panoramas of the interior, I am working on a series of close ups of details I have previously overlooked, attempting to preserve what is left of the once chaotic jumble of relics of over 100 years of railway history.

The paint itself can give a feeling of the volume and presence of the scene being painted.
Texture such as rust, stains or water damage can be scraped back with a palette knife or engraved into the surface. The term for this is “sgraffito” .

plein air oil painting in the Large Erecting Shop, Eveleigh Railway Workshops by industrial heritage artist Jane Bennett
'Release' 2017 oil on canvas 41 x 31cm
The colours and textures, crumbling render, faded pigments, verdigris, scrapes and scratches –  the  scar tissue that stand witness to moments in time and history, may be lost in the rush towards the future. 

No comments: