Lines of Sight

In and Through 1 (detail) by Patsy Payne

Lines of Sight

Patsy Payne and John Pratt

Pivot Gallery, Belconnen Arts Centre

Opening: 6pm Friday 16 February 2024

Exhibition: 16 February – 28 March 2024

Artist Talk: 2pm 16 March 2024, registrations required

This body of work is the outcome of three years phone conversations and postcard dialogues mostly at a distance of 1100 kilometres between Darkinjung and Ngunnawal country. The focus of our exchange is a particular zone of the environment between Gulaga and the ocean on the rugged south coast of NSW in Yuin country. We used this focus as a means of developing a visual narrative that on the simplest level deals with distance, space, time, tides, and atmosphere.

The visual springboard for our initial experiments was:

  • The apparent dissolution of solidity that can occur so often in the liminal zone between land and ocean
  • The everpresent solidity of Gulaga as a touchstone from so many vantage points
  • The fracturing and shifting that is evident in the metamorphosed and upended structures of the coastal lithology

The contorted stratification of the rocks is the outcome of 450 million of years of sedimentary deposition followed by numerous geological processes including uplift, metamorphosis and erosion.  This geological narrative reverberates with a multilayered and complex cultural history as well as suggesting our contemporary acknowledgement and requirement to consider the human induced environment and climate change that has occurred over such a short period of time.

Both artists use drawing as an essential starting point for their experiments and investigations. They are exploring and investigating materials that resonate with the place/ space. The visual focus and means are shared, however the sensibilities and the aesthetic and conceptual responses differ.  So, these postcard narratives reveal an ongoing dialogue/ debate about translation and interpretation of particular shared experiences of the place and then the individual lens that is applied to create understanding and meaning.

The works are not in opposition to each other but offer interesting contrasts between consolidation and dissolution, drawn and photographic, delineated and implied, solid and airy. Both bodies of work can be characterised as exploring a space between solidity and the void.

John’s work has overt references to the certainty of cartography in the form of dots and wedges intersecting or laid over a composition. He also draws the angularity of the south coast geology and this provides a strong physicality for his explorations while the figurative elements create a sense of unease.

Patsy’s work is identified by a fragmentation of the picture plane, using different densities of tone and intensities of mark to imply a narrative that is constantly evading certainty. Different versions of reality intersect, collide or align with each other. Patterning resonates from micro to macro scale, as it does within the geological structures at the edge of the ocean. The contortion of the cliff face can be seen recurring at a granular level in the rocks looked at under a lens.

At the heart of this project is a contemplation of:

  • the nature of our human relationship with the (natural) world we inhabit and exploit
  • how different perspectives can respectfully co-exist

–     the difference in scale of a single human lifespan in comparison to the 100’s of millions of years contained in layers of time embedded in geology.

About Patsy Payne

Patsy Payne was born in Hammersmith, London, UK (1955). Her practice incorporates drawing, print, sculpture and tapestry weaving. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Education and Archaeology), University of Sydney (1976), a Postgraduate Diploma (Visual Arts), Sydney College of the Arts (1983) and a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Studies) Australian National University (2005). Since 1983 Patsy has had many solo exhibitions in Australia, Switzerland and Thailand. Her work has been included in curated exhibitions in museums in Australia and internationally including Progressive Proof, San Francisco State University Fine Arts Gallery, USA (2014), Awagami and Print Expression – Mixed Media with Digital Printing, Bumpodo Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (2012), Lovelace, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney (2011), Finding Form: Disrupting Space/Creating Space, UWS Gallery, University of Western Sydney (2010)Patsy has participated in international residencies at the Fine Arts Faculty, Hochschule der Kunste, Bern; Faculty of Painting, Sculpture and Graphic Arts, Silpakorn University, Bangkok; The Centre for Fine Print Research, University of the West of England, Bristol; Asialink Residency, Lunuganga Sri Lanka. She is currently Maker in Residence at the Makers Space, ANU. Patsy’s work is held in numerous public collections including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australian National Gallery, Australian National Library, Queensland State Library, Canberra Museum and Gallery, Frans Masereel Centre Archive, Royal Museum of Fine Arts Antwerp, Belgium, International Print Triennial Collection, Krakow, Poland, Stiftung Schloss Haldenstein, Switzerland, Purdue University Collection, Indiana, Southern Graphics Council Archive, USA, St Laurence University, Canton, New York. Her work has been cited in publications including Roger Butler Printed Images by Australian Artists 1942 – 2020 (NGA 2021), Love Lace Catalogue, Lindy Ward, Powerhouse Museum (2011) Beth Grabowski and Bill Fick, Printmaking: A Complete Guide to Materials and Processes, Pearson Education (2009)      


About John Pratt

John Pratt is a graphic artist working across a range of media including printmaking, collage, drawing, Artist books and projections in Public Space. Through a series of exhibitions, he has been exploring the impact of human presence within a range of natural landscapes and constructed environments. These landscapes or sites have ranged from National Parks in the ACT to southern coastal zones through suburbia to the street scapes of the CBD.

As part of this research and creative output he has also worked as a senior lecturer in the Printmedia and Drawing Department at the ANU School of Art and Design. Over that period he has exhibited regularly including 15 Solo Exhibitions and participated in an extensive range of Group Exhibitions.