Lake George (After Mark Rothko)

by Conomos, John

2008

Original format
video
Exhibition
Figuring Landscapes

Following Jean-François Lyotard’s contention that “…landscape is beyond the cultivated zone”, Conomos evokes the beauty of Lake George in a series of immersive, painterly abstractions.

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I have always been attracted to a sense of place. Landscape as lifescape, soundscape, tastescape, and memoryscape. Despite certain current views that it is a traditionally conservative genre, it need not be. For me landscape has always been critical to my biography, culture and thought. Landscape is, as I see and hear it, something that lies, to evoke Jean-Francois Lyotard, ‘beyond the cultivated zone.’ Beyond the law of genre. The work is an attempt to render Lake George in the tradition of video as a form of electronic painting (Bill Viola, Mary Lucier…) and also in the tradition of ‘long-take’ classical and avant-garde cinema (Max Ophuls, Jacques Tati…) The extraordinary poetic long take of Egyptian landscape: a subtle and multifaceted nod to Cezanne’s art.Think of Cezanne and video and we think of Robert Cahen’s dazzling oeuvre. Landscape beckoning you to break the rules of your art form… Lake George is my acknowledgement that to make a ‘landscape’ video work is to create in the belief that one is obliged to look yonder beyond the boundaries of one’s art form to other art forms.As the video unfolds in its long-take camera style, we are drifting in the landscape and it is, as Leo Charney reminds us, the experi¬ence of being unable to locate a stable sense of everyday life. In other words, to drift means to experience ‘the empty moment’ of modernity, to sense the inevitability of death. Landscape was always a part of my childhood; it is, arguably, one of the essential features of the Greek-Australian Diaspora before and after WW2. Greeks came to Australia and made their living as country café owners and would often travel by car between these country towns to connect to each other. Dialogics, exile, landscape, memory, time and space: these are some of the critical compass points of the pre-war Greek settler’s life. Abridged from John Conomos’s commentary. For full text, see www.roslynoxley9.com.au/news/releases/2008/03/04/143

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