Journey to Cape York
An unexpected invitation to join an expedition to Cape York turned out to be the
genesis of this exhibition of landscape paintings. We set out from Cooroy on
Queensland's Sunshine Coast, travelling all the way to the tip of Cape York and
back in August 2009. In my first real encounter with the landscapes of Queensland
and the far north I saw much that was new and exciting. As the trip's
photographer, I amassed plenty of material.
In spite of the novelty - and at risk of seeming to contradict myself
- no matter where one travels in Australia there are always undertones
of familiarity. Perhaps a unity bred of this continent's separation
from other landmasses over geological time pervades even the exotic
north, a certain consistency of physical features and biology across
vast distances and radically different climate zones.
The works were created in the studio on returning from the trip. I
wanted to create as near as possible a sensual experience, to enable
the viewer to enter that space, that landscape, experience its atmosphere,
physical conditions and the sensations that shaped my experience of
that location at that time. Attempting to create such a genuine sense of place
requires more than a careful handling of all the details in the source material.
It demands art. And that is the demand I have tried to fulfil.
Long time friend and fellow artist Martin King, who has himself spent
some time in the far north, remarked that:
"These new paintings invite you to share a journey beyond the Tropic of Capricorn.
Some works spread out like the distant, shimmering views from the car window, others
reveal glimpses of the landscape in the still heat and solitude of the far north. It
is obvious James has immersed himself in this landscape and made these paintings as
an ode to the magic of Cape York."
Cape York is indeed a magical place. Few Australians get to see it. I count myself
lucky to have been one. I hope that you too will find some of the magic revealed in
this series of paintings.
James Yuncken, July 2010