TERRA SPIRITUS... with a darker shade of pale
15 September - 11 November 2007
Bea Maddock’s TERRA SPIRITUS…with a darker shade of pale is a forty-metre panoramic drawing of the coastal profile of her homeland Tasmania. The Latin title, meaning spirit of the land or land of spirit, conveys the artists desire to explore the implications of living in a specific place – in the present and with a sense of the past. On fifty-one sheets of paper, Bea Maddock has drawn the bays, inlets, mountain ranges and gullies as they would be viewed at a short distance from the coast. Unable to make the physical journey herself, Bea Maddock devised a method of generating the view from geographical and topographical maps of Tasmania.
Each drawing was made as if looking into the centre of the island and there is no concept of north or south, east or west; there is only the compulsion of looking inwards. (Bea Maddock)
TERRA SPIRITUS…with a darker shade of pale translates and distils this complex information, rendering the land, sea and sky in a restricted palette of ten tones of red ochre and white chalk, which the artist sourced locally and ground by hand. Over the sea, the names of the places depicted are written in two scripts: the European names, including colonial place names, which were established soon after settlement, are printed with a letterpress, while Aboriginal place names, written in a fluid cursive script float between the sea and land.
Created over six years from 1993 to 1998, the incised drawing was made in an edition of five, including this version, the artist’s proof.
Bea Maddock, born 1934,
TERRA SPIRITUS…with a darker shade of pale, 1993–1998
Launceston, incised drawing, hand-ground ochre pastels, blind letterpress, on fifty-two sheets of
paper. Private collection.