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Before night after nature

Before Night—After Nature

4 November 2004 – 24 March 2005

Julian Ashton, Ian Burn, Stephen Bush, Domenico de Clario, Francisco de Goya, Peter Graham, Louise Hearman, Philip Hunter, Peter Kennedy, Leah King-Smith, John Nixon / Mike Parr, David Noonan, Susan Norrie, John Perceval, Bernhard Sachs, Simone Slee and Ricky Swallow

Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow

Before Night—After Nature, Selected works from the Monash University Collection takes as its starting point Domenico De Clario's powerful and enigmatic Night Paintings of 1972-77. These evocative nocturnal works study various aspects of the landscape at night.

“The exhibition considers the complex associations between night, shadows, fear, the landscape and the self”, says Curator Geraldine Barlow, “night, as it lays down a nurturing blanket of darkness, rattles childhood fears and gathers us into a disquietening intimacy with shadows.”

“Before Night—After Nature reflects on the interconnected natures of humanity and the land at a time of social and environmental distress.”

“The earth is the very quintessence of the human condition”, writes political theorist / philosopher Hannah Arendt. Exploring this link, Barlow suggests: “In this exhibition we encounter haunted landscapes in which the lives of those who have preceded us touch upon the larger narratives of history, and uneasy landscapes where the natural order has been profoundly disturbed. Discovery and technology are evoked in their most wondrous and dangerous potential.”

Before Night—After Nature brings together key works and closely held treasures from the Monash University Collection and draws upon both the contemporary and the historical. The exhibition invites us to explore our understanding of the body and the land, the individual and the global, the personal and the political. Both interior and exterior landscapes are explored, as well as landscapes of mind and matter.

Image: Philip Hunter, Continent V (Edal's garden) 1989, oil on canvas, 195 x 270 cm. Monash University Collection