COORDINATING CURATOR JENEPHER DUNCAN
CONTEMPORARY AUSTRALIAN ART
WA artist Gregory Pryor has created an immersive new work Looking Glass which draws upon his investigations into isolated landscapes of Western Australia which can be read as meditations upon the residues of country as well as explorations of the role that environmental and cultural loss plays in shaping the landscape.
For his WA Now project, Gregory Pryor undertook a field trip to the region of the tragic Esperance bush fires of 2015. By setting himself in amongst the charcoal remains of the devastated terrain and taking a series of 360-degree photographic notations, Pryor formulated the idea for his panoramic work and its overwhelming immersive quality. Similar to the bush’s capacity to regenerate after fire, Looking Glass in some ways can be seen as a reassembled landscape, articulated on 1585 sheets of paper.
Pryor has worked with a team of student assistants to populate each sheet with a broad vocabulary of manual marks, first working the paper in veils of watercolour, before adding the fugitive and friable layers of charcoal. Finally, thousands of small glass beads are added into this matrix of wet and dry media, contributing a reflective element to the porous and absorbent black.
This new body of work aims to involve viewers in a profoundly moving encounter with one of the oldest exposed land masses on earth.