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Sense of Country: Ned Crossley

November 19 December 11

Please join us at NEXIS to celebrate the official opening of Sense of Country, a solo exhibition by local artist and enRICH scholarship recipient Ned Crossley. Ned Crossley is an emerging artist practicing in Williams Western Australia, whose colourful paintings pay homage to the Australian landscape and reflect a deep appreciation of country in its broadest sense.

Opening: Friday 19 November 2021, 6:00pm – 8:00pm
NEXIS (Narrogin Exhibition Space), 82 Federal St Narrogin.
RSVP’s essential for catering purposes

Exhibition Dates: 20 November – 11 December 2021
Gallery Hours: 10am – 4pm Wednesday – Saturday

Artist Talks:
Sat 20 November, 2pm
Sat 27 November, 10.30am
Fri 3 December, 10.30am
Sat 11 December, 2pm

Artist Statement

Traditional custodians have the deepest appreciation of this land and have developed a strong connection to it over a thousand generations or so through language, culture, kinship and the omnipresent Spirit of Country.  In Noongar society, the land is Boodja (Mother), the giver of life, from which language, culture, kinship with all life and the sacredness of all things arise.

The land speaks to us all when we are willing to hear, calling us to connect, to feel we belong to it.  Country’s yearning for connection can be experienced in the moment we open to it in a heartfelt way, realising we are part of it; in the moment we appreciate a rock, a plant, a community, an ecosystem and open to the knowledge that everything has consciousness to some extent and that things ‘communicate’ somehow in the quantum entanglement of everything. The longer we remain immersed in country, the more it speaks to us and the deeper our connection becomes. 

I am aware though, that art and nature are different things and that through art ‘we express our conception of that which is not visible in nature’ (Wertenbaker  1972, citing Picasso). In painting a landscape, the material elements one sees are important, of course, but what really interests me is how the material and non-material combines to communicate the feeling of the Country.  How well can I express this feeling through my art? Can one connect to Country through a painting or photo?

In any case, painting a landscape calls me to a deeper appreciation of the place; whether immersed in it ‘en pleine aire’ or engaged in painting from memory, from a photograph I took. The act of drawing and painting challenges me to look closer, become more aware. I realise that all landscapes are cultural landscapes now; human influence extends everywhere. But still, when I immerse myself in the ‘natural’ world and begin to see the exquisite connections everywhere in and throughout, painting a ‘natural’ landscape becomes a mindful act of homage to Country.

This collection of oil paintings presents ‘natural’ landscapes from east of Esperance, the Great Western Woodlands, Dryandra Woodland and my own country; Knotwood. Slower drying oils remain organic and adaptable, allow me to work at leisure and to take the time to see into Country and respond accordingly.

Making these paintings has grounded me in a therapeutic process that helped me deal with the uncertainty of life in the pandemic; the project allowed me to let go of everything happening in the world and explore the idea of connection to Country and my appreciation of it. 

I wish to acknowledge ARtS Narrogin’s contribution through the enRICH Scholarship, established to honour the memory of Joy Rich, a local artist and benefactor of the visual arts in Narrogin. The scholarship provided materials, administrative support and mentorship, and I wish also to acknowledge Karen Keeley who mentored me through the process of creating this body of work. It’s been an honour for me to engage in the process of making these paintings and to share my Sense of Country with you through this exhibition.

– Ned Crossley, November 2021

Featured Image: Powderbark Gully (detail) Oil on canvas diptych 127.5 (w) x 61 (h), Ned Crossley