In search of a Tropical Gothic in Australian visual arts

Mark Wolff

Abstract


The field of Gothic Studies concentrates almost exclusively on literature, cinema and popular culture. While Gothic themes in the visual arts of the Romantic period are well documented, and there is sporadic discussion about the re-emergence of the Gothic in contemporary visual arts, there is little to be found that addresses the Gothic in northern or tropical Australia. A broad review of largely European visual arts in tropical Australia reveals that Gothic themes and motifs tend to centre on aspects of the landscape. During Australia’s early colonial period, the northern landscape is portrayed as a place of uncanny astonishment. An Australian Tropical Gothic re-appears for early modernists as a desolate landscape that embodies a mythology of peril, tragedy and despair. Finally, for a new wave of contemporary artists, including some significant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists, Gothic motifs emerge to animate tropical landscapes and draw attention to issues of environmental degradation and the dispossession of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


Keywords


tropics; Gothic art; landscape art; Northern Australia

Full Text:

PDF

References


ABC. (2013). Fears for asylum seekers after life jackets wash up on Cocos Island beach. ABC News. Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-27/fears-more-asylum-seekers-may-have-drowned/4714346

Australian War Memorial. (2017). Ruby Plains Massacre 1. Retrieved from https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2148046?search

Blackwood, G. (2018). Tropical Darwin on screen: Critiquing national values using urban frontier Tropes in Charlie’s Country and Last Cab to Darwin. eTropic, 17 (2), 132-150. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25120/etropic.17.2.2018.3661 Retrieved from https://journals.jcu.edu.au/etropic/article/view/3661/17.2.11.1

Burke, J. (2002). Australian Gothic: A life of Albert Tucker. Sydney: Random House.

Capon, E. (2018). Quoted in Sally Aitken (Director), Nolan. Sydney: ABC TV.

Carrigan, J. (2015). Australian politics at the Venice Biennale. The New York Times, May 7. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/07/arts/international/australian-politics-at-the-venice-biennale.html

Chapuis, J. (2000). Gothic Art. Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York, NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Retrieved from http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/mhot/hd_mgot.htm

Clarkson, C., Jacobs, Z., Marwick, B., Fullagar, R., Wallis, L., Smith, M., … Pardoe, C. (2017). Human occupation of northern Australia by 65,000 years ago. Nature, 547(7663), 306-310. DOI:10.1038/nature22968 Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/nature22968

Commonwealth of Australia. (2015). Our north, our future: White Paper on developing northern Australia. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.

Connelly, F. (2015). John Ruskin and the savage gothic. Journal of Art Historiography, 12, 1-16. Retrieved from https://arthistoriography.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/connelly.pdf

“Contemporary Gothic”. (n.d.). Artsy. Retrieved from https://www.artsy.net/gene/contemporary-gothic

Craven, A. (2008). Tropical Gothic: Radiance revisited. eTropic: electronic journal of studies in the tropics 7, 1-15. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25120/etropic.7.0.2008.3431 Retrieved from https://journals.jcu.edu.au/etropic/article/view/3431/3369

Craven, A. (2016). Finding Queensland in Australian cinema. New York, NY: Anthem Press.

Darwin Festival. (2018). Contemporary Gothic: Presented by Mayfair Gallery. Retrieved from https://2018.darwinfestival.org.au/events/tropical-gothic

David, B., Geneste, J., Petchey, F., Delannoy. J., Barker, B., & Eccleston, M. (2013). How old are Australia’s pictographs? A review of rock art dating. Journal of Archaeological Science, 40 (1), 3-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2012.08.019 Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305440312003706

Eccles, J. (2015). Danie Mellor. Eyeline, 81. Retrieved from https://www.eyelinepublishing.com/eyeline-81/article/danie-mellor

Editors. (2018). Tracey Moffatt. Arts Review, May 18. Retrieved from https://artsreview.com.au/tracey-moffatt-laudanum-and-other-works/

Engledow, S. (2008-09). Through blue eyes, Portrait, 30, (Summer). Retrieved from https://www.portrait.gov.au/magazines/30/through-blue-eyes

Erdos, R. (n.d.). Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig (1813-1848), Australian dictionary of biography. Retrieved from http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/leichhardt-friedrich-wilhelm-ludwig-2347

Ewington, J. (2016). Tracey Moffat’s Laudanum and other works. The Monthly, July. Retrieved from https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2016/july/1467295200/julie-ewington/tracey-moffatt-s-laudanum-and-other-works

Fitzmaurice, C. (n.d.). Lewis Roper Fitzmaurice (29 Apr 1816 – 22 Apr 1893). Retrieved from http://fitzmaurice-family.com/LRF.html

Gibson, P. (2016). Here’s looking at: Deep breathing: Resuscitation for the reef by Janet Laurance. The Conversation, August 29. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/heres-looking-at-deep-breathing-resuscitation-for-the-reef-by-janet-laurence-63408

Glade-Wright, R. (2016). Uncertain futures: Coral bleaching and the loss of innocence, beauty and the sublime. eTropic: electronic journal of studies in the tropics 15 (1), 39- 49. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25120/etropic.15.1.2016.3299. Retrieved from https://journals.jcu.edu.au/etropic/article/view/3299/3244

Gonder, P. (2014). Ecogothic. [Review of the book Ecogothic, by A. Smith & W. Hughes (Eds), Manchester: Manchester UP, 2013]. ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, 21 (3), 716-717. https://doi.org/10.1093/isle/isu118 Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/isle/article-abstract/21/3/716/773563?redirectedFrom=fulltext

“Gothic Nightmares”. (2006). Gothic nightmares: Fuseli, Blake and the Romantic imagination: 15 February – 1 May 2006. Tate Britain: London: UK. Retrieved from https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/gothic-nightmares-fuseli-blake-and-romantic-imagination

Hackforth-Jones, J. (1990). Review of the book, The Colonial Image: Australian Painting 1800-1880 by Tim Bonyhady. Journal of Historical Geography, 16 (2), 272-273. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/030574889090122R

James, B. (2001). Interview with Trace Moffatt, ABC Arts, January 9. In Tracey Moffatt: Invocations #1, 2000. Sydney, NSW: Museum of Contemporary Art. Retrieved from https://www.mca.com.au/artists-works/works/2013.70.1/

Kelly, C. (2018). Colonial and gothic dissonance: Tracing desire lines through postcolonical landscape [Abstract]. In Prowse, N. (ed.), Intervening spaces. Respatialisation and the body (202-219). Leiden: Koninklijke Brill NV. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004365520_012 Abstract retrieved from https://brill.com/view/book/edcoll/9789004365520/BP000014.xml

Lagan, B. (2013). What really happened to Ludwig Leichhardt, The Guardian, May 31. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/may/31/what-really-happened-ludwig-leichhardt

Lang, A. (ed.). (1895). The Red True Story Book. Retrieved from http://www.burkeandwills.net.au/Brief_History/red_true_story_book_lang.htm

Maslen. G. (2003). Drysdale dreaming. The Age, April 29. Retrieved from https://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/drysdale-dreaming-20030429-gdvm6j.html

Musharbash, Y. & Presterudstuen, G. (Eds). (2014). Monster Anthropology in Australasia and Beyond. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. https/doi.org/10.1057/9781137448651 Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/9601119/Monster_Anthropology_in_Australasia_and_Beyond

McCalman, I. (2013). The Reef: A passionate history. Sydney: Penguin/Random House.

Mendelssohn, J. (2013). The 2014 Adelaide Biennial: Contemporary art as it was meant to be. The Conversation, March 4. Retrieved from https://theconversation.com/the-2014-adelaide-biennial-contemporary-art-as-it-was-meant-to-be-23033

Parker, D. (2013). Russell Drysdale, Australian Icon – Tarrawarra Museum of Art, The Cultural Circle, November 4. Retrieved from https://www.thecultureconcept.com/russell-drysdale-australian-icon-tarrawarra-museum-of-art

Philp, A. (2017). (Re)claiming Barbara Baynton’s Gothic Creek: An Analysis of Gillian Mears’ Foals’ Bread and Jessie Cole’s Deeper Water. eTropic: electronic journal of studies in the tropics 16 (2), 107-116. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25120/etropic.16.2.2017.3618. Retrieved from https://journals.jcu.edu.au/etropic/article/view/3618/3486

Power, L. (2015). Weird melancholy: exhibition probes fear at the heart of the Australian landscape, The Sydney Morning Herald, April 3. Retrieved from https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/weird-melancholy-exhibition-probes-fear-at-the-heart-of-the-australian-landscape-20150328-1m9uk2.html

Spicer, C. (2016a). “The Cyclone Which is at the Heart of Things”: The Cyclone as Trope of Place and Apocalypse in Queensland Literature. eTropic: electronic journal of studies in the tropics 15 (2), 58-67. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25120/etropic.15.2.2016.3542. Retrieved from https://journals.jcu.edu.au/etropic/article/view/3542/3439

Spicer, C. (2016b). “Big wind, he waiting there”: Vance Palmer’s Cyclones of Apocalypse and Their Power of Revelation. eTropic: electronic journal of studies in the tropics 15 (2), 101-107. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25120/etropic.15.1.2016.3306. Retrieved from https://journals.jcu.edu.au/etropic/article/view/3306/3251

Spooner, C. (2006). Contemporary Gothic. London, UK: Reaktion Books.

“The Gothic” (2007). Retrieved from https://mitpress.mit.edu/contributors/gilda-williams

Wilding, M. (2011). Marcus Clarke’s Essential Recycling, Quadrant, November 1. Retrieved from https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2011/11/marcus-clarke-s-essential-recycling/

Williams, G. (2009). Gothic v Gothick: Gilda Williams on the embarrassing, campy cousin of the uncanny. Art Monthly, 326. Retrieved from https://www.artmonthly.co.uk/magazine/site/issue/may-2009




DOI: https://doi.org/10.25120/etropic.18.1.2019.3691

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Copyright (c) 2019 eTropic: electronic journal of studies in the tropics