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Monash Art Design & Architecture

This year in my Honours project I have been examining the relationship between place, landscape, nostalgia and memory. Throughout the year I have been visiting different locations in the Australian bush, however one place in particular took my interest: the pristine rainforest that surrounds the Ada Tree, one of the few remaining giant trees left in Victoria, which is over 300 years old. The Ada Tree lies in Gippsland, near the Yarra State Forest, an area constantly being logged by private timber companies. The walking track on the way to the Ada Tree is surrounded by rotting corpses of giant trees past – images of which I used to make a series of collages. One day on the way to the forest, out of nowhere, it started snowing, blocking the road. Although originally annoyed I couldn't reach my rainforest destination, I realised later in the year that it is as if the visit that snowy day to the Yarra State Forest transcended time. Throughout my work I kept referring back to this visit, and it's as if, in retrospect, I can now see that my previous work referred to this place as well. Time in the landscape of memory does not necessarily travel in a linear fashion. The video of this experience forms a clear central point of reference for my wider project. This year my Honours work, which is has involved a large painting on my studio walls, has evolved like a rhizome, folding back on itself, with no clear beginning, middle or end. My love for colour and abstract painting has become a big part of the work – whenever I tried to tone the painting down, more colourful sections sprung back up in retaliation. It grows like a spreading plant and has the potential to move endlessly, but the impossibility of such endlessness (as it is painted onto the Honours studio) and the inevitability of its demise adds an air of melancholy to the piece.

madeleinethornton-smith.tumblr.com

Madeleine Thornton-Smith
Growing mural
2014

Acrylic, gouache, watercolour and collage on studio walls

Madeleine Thornton-Smith
Mural in progress, detail
2014

Acrylic painted on studio wall

Madeleine Thornton-Smith
Snowing on the way to the Ada Tree
2014

digital video still

Madeleine Thornton-Smith
Tree Stump Series 3
2014

Manually collaged photographs

Madeleine Thornton-Smith
Tree Stump Series 13
2014

Manually collaged photographs

Madeleine Thornton-Smith
Portrait of a landscape
2014

Acrylic, gouache, watercolour, collage on studio walls, pine, fabric, fabric painting, fabric pastels
Building: 240 x 120 x 240 cm, mural dimensions variable, video - 33 seconds (on loop)

Madeleine Thornton-Smith
Madeleine Thornton-Smith

Monash University
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