TOM NICHOLSON: THE APPROACH
The project attempts to re-animate a colonial image, to re-cast its imaginary projections into a new set of meanings.
Evening shadows encompasses several processes: gathering together the many, many painted copies of H.J. Johnstone’s Evening shadows, backwater of the Murray, South Australia 1880 scattered around Adelaide and amassing them in a salon hang into the gallery traditionally occupied by his painting; an extended drawing process, attempting to re-create in a multi-panel charcoal drawing the negative of the lost photograph on which Johnstone’s painting was (arguably) based (Johnstone was a leading commercial photographer in Melbourne and painted Evening shadows in London); and extensive historical research in Barmah, Victoria, and archives in Melbourne working towards a video work describing the 1939 Cummeragunja walk-off and its history; and a poster-based work ‘ advertising’ the walk-off, which people are invited to display in their front windows or front gardens (like election propaganda), creating a massive dispersed ephemeral work which is public in character but grounded in the domestic.
The project attempts to re-animate a colonial image, to re-cast its imaginary projections into a new set of meanings. This re-animation is a reverse archaeological process, re-creating the painting’s source negative through drawing and also ‘excavating’ another (later) event from within the painting’s allegorical narrative.