The Landscape of Isolation
These works by Peter Day are landscape based and conceived. Pressing Peter further about the landscape one learns of extended trips through Lightning Ridge, Brewarrina, Broken Hill and the Hay Plains. That vast hinterland of metropolitan Sydney, the outback desert country of New South Wales is the key landscape that he is referring to in this exhibition. What fascinates the painter in Peter about this landscape is its minimalism. There is an apparent absence of topographical variety as the flat plains, which are vegetated with low-level scrub that continues to the horizon and infinity, inculcating a feeling of isolation. Off the ribbon of bitumen road nothing stirs. Only the fences and a dried cowpat suggest the presence of unseen others. In this landscape the vestiges and traces of activity are minimal and the present moment is devoid of any activity outside one’s own movements. The harshness alienates one, the primordial age makes one feel superfluous and the vastness enhances the isolation. On a visit to India Peter found that not surprisingly the landscape of Rajasthan, although very different, evoked the same intense feelings.