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Ghosts in the Landscape

Elizabeth Barsham presents a brand-new painting and some pieces of sculpture, just for fun. A gothic landscape inhabited by ghostly figures, part animal, part vegetation, part something else altogether. There is a ruined house, too, but not very much is happening. The sculptures are even more worrying.

“On many a Tasmanian farm can be found crumbling foundations, rotting weatherboard, a few bricks or shaped stones, a clump of vivid yellow flowering bulbs, marking the site of an abandoned dwelling. My ancestors called these places Green View, Windsor Valley, Belle Vale, Tryhard, Handsome Hill, Merivale, Footstep, Hilly Park.

In a forgotten book I read of the McRaes who settled at the foot of the Western Tiers early in the nineteenth century. They built an ordinary Georgian red brick house and settled down to farming in the accepted manner.  One evening Mr McRae, answering a knock at the door, stepped out into the night. A few days later his body was found stuffed in a hollow log. Nobody knows what happened. His isolated farmhouse stands derelict on the hill in my cousin’s most distant paddock and is the background for this painting.

Few members of my family ended so spectacularly. Generations lived and worked unremarkably, grazing their sheep and cattle, growing grain and raising their children along the Jordan River and Lower Marshes and east of Oatlands, dying quiet deaths. But when, crossing a field, I find a grass-covered mound I know some small part of  them still attaches to their fallen, familiar houses. They are at home, and all is well.

The sculptures in this installation are constructed from materials picked up on my grandfather’s overgrown farm on the outskirts of Hobart. There is glue and paint involved, too.” – Elizabeth Barsham (2015)

Tuesday 1 – Wednesday 30 September 2015

Image Credit: Elizabeth Barsham

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