Deakin University

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Exit and Return

posted on 2021-04-15, 00:00 authored by Simon GrennanSimon Grennan
Exit and Return



Whitehorse Artspace

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Responding to the landscape of Box hill and surroundings Exit and Return is in part a re-framing of the area's historical connection to the Australian Impressionists. The work seeks to re-inhabit a particular stage like quality of those historical landscapes as horizonless, close-quarter, temporally ambiguous vernacular bush scenes.

Research statement

The history of Landscape is in part an (unwritten) history of contestations over the presence and influence of consciousness. Where the Romantics sought to use landscape to heighten consciousness, Marxist, Post-Structuralist, and Post-Modernist frameworks have generally sort to disqualify consciousness altogether. Phenomenologically orientated approaches to landscape alternatively have focused on our first-person lived experiences with landscape, while still others have sort to replace consciousness with adjacent notions (actors, agents, and intentionality) that more readily extend to non-human phenomena. Contemporary landscape painting, in tension with all of these perspectives it seems, remains a fertile arena and reflexive position in which our presence in the landscape can be contemplated and creatively reformulated in new and old ways. Contribution The 17 new original oil paintings produced for this exhibition explore new dialogues around the subject and the landscape in the context of local but significant art-historical sites around Box Hill. The exhibition does this in a very direct way by juxtaposing my own works with seminal 19th century Australian landscape paintings selected from the City of Whitehorse’s permanent collection including works by Freidrich McCubbin, Tom Roberts, Louis Bovelot, Nora Gurdon, and E. Phillips-Fox. The collaboration forms a unique exhibition of 27 paintings which underpins both the artist’s and the Gallery’s connections to the Heidelberg school and their important early work in the outer Eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Significance This exhibition constitutes an ambitious creative and curatorial collaboration consisting of a substantial body of original works presented alongside works by major art-historical figures from the City of Whitehorse Collection. The exhibition includes an artist’s commission and the addition of one of my works into this important collection.

Publication classification

JC2 Curated Exhibition or Event – Exhibition/Event


NTRO Medium


17 original paintings + 10 works selected form the Whitehorse permanent collection.

Recognition, awards & prizes

1 work acquired by the Whitehorse Permanent Collection


Exit and Return


Whitehorse Artspace

Place of publication

Melbourne, Vic.

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