The mimetically articulated paintings of Brett Ferry represent the ‘post-digital landscape’ in the age of the Anthropocene, foregrounding the resilience of natural forms against the interfering hands of humanity. Working with observation, photography, digital manipulation, airbrushing and oil painting, the artist creates a formal dialogue between contemporary media and traditional methods, symbolically suggesting an era at a major ideological crossroads. Engaging with the theme of Sydney, Ferry thinks back to his teenage years, when the animated landscapes of Brett Whiteley had a formative influence on his burgeoning love of art. Paying homage to the Sydney-based icon, Ferry supplants Whiteley’s ideas of personal excess and hallucinatory exploration with that of human excess and digital distortion, spawning gestural incarnations of landscapes struggling to survive. Anthropomorphic trees twist towards the psychedelic sky, their malformed limbs like ancient arms reaching for divine help.
- Excerpt of essay by Elli Walsh 2019.