David Naseby’s landscape paintings trace a line from one end of Australia to the other. His exploration has taken him from Yirrkala in Arnhem Land, to the Kimberley, Titjikala in the Northern Territory, Maria Island in Tasmania, and to the Murray River.
From the figurative forms of dying trees reaching to the sky on the banks of the Murray, to the dry and stony colours of the desert landscape, to the sweeping bays and dramatic cliffs of Maria Island, his works reflect both the beauty of the wilderness and the damage by human hands. Each one inspired by the discoveries the land itself has revealed to him.
His desert paintings particularly confront us with our own fragility. They depict the complex push and pull of man’s interaction with the land and capture ghostly figurative forms, leached colours and the defiance of the landscape.
An impromptu visit to the Murray River opened Naseby’s heart to the frailty and vulnerability of the suffering riverscape. Defiant in its fading dignity, the Murray River inspired the equally defiant Naseby to capture its soul in a series of works.
“The image of those trees, twisted and tortured, haunted me for a long time,” Naseby says. “It was as if they held a strange power. Initially I didn’t realise quite what was happening to the Murray, but as I came to a better understanding, I felt more and more drawn to paint this crusty landscape as a symbol of the havoc we are wreaking on this great river.”