Deep in the Tarkine wilderness of North West Tasmania is the mining town of Savage River. In this country where the ancient trees rise up through the mist, man has carved out mountains in search of the black crystal known as magnetite—iron ore; the lifeblood of the industrial world.
The Tarkine stretches out to the wild west coast—it is a remote, longtime battlefield in the cold war between industry and conservation. The sensation of isolation is all persuasive as one’s boots walk the white quartz tracks that lead to the mines and tailing ponds—the holding dams and final resting place of the less profitable residue from processing black ore. It is a truism that moving mountains have an irrevocable legacy on the topography of this land.
Nicolas Blowers has long been interested in the intersection of man and the natural world. His erudite ability to render and create a surface and pictorial composition that draws the audience into a labyrinth of tangled trees and deep translucent waters, engages and challenges. Carefully constructed yet energetically executed, every mark, line and translucent glaze tells a tale, close observation and deep affection for the subject—in all its altered glory.
Nicholas Blowers’ gritty, realist and passionate investigations into the world are on a scale to rival the great history paintings of the world. The artist reminds us, through his monuments to the landscape, that our history is linked to our care of the country.
This exhibition, Pond Requiem: Unstable Landscapes from Savage River has been three years in the making. Ignoring fashion and utterly unique in his vision, it is seminal in the artist’s career and marks him as one of the truly exceptional contemporary painters working today.
"The Savage River tailing ponds and the drowned forest at Lake Gordon have in common a dramatic element that is incredibly unusual. They are landscapes where wildness and human interests intersect with stark consequences. The particular nature of entropy and the degree of disorder and chaos that is found in these landscapes is very much a gift for a painter, both because of the strange physicality of the place and what it offers in the way of visualising the process of physical decay. This is a truth that art has historically been asked to tell." Nicholas Blowers, 2019