(Australia 1966 – )
213.5 x 193.5 cm
Alex Pittendrigh’s volcanoes are a swirling vortex of stylised paint, their voids and eruptions suggesting an erotic subtext to both paint and image. They recall 18th- and early 19th-century sublime and Romantic paintings of volcanoes that became popular following the rediscovery of Pompeii, portraying a capricious and possibly violent nature which could at any stage consume humankind and alter the world forever.
Alex’s paintings embody sensations of imploding and exploding form where paint is molten magma itself. Their elaborate decorative design and feathered cosmic shapes also recall the Symbolists and decadents of the late 19th century, the period just before the modernist avant-garde banished decoration from art practice for most of the 20th century. These paintings were first exhibited in 2009 exhibition at Melbourne’s Murray White Room in an exhibition titled ‘I breathe the air of other planets’, suggesting their otherworldly quality as they are as much mindscape as landscape.
Wayne Tunnicliffe, Wilderness: Balnaves contemporary painting, Sydney, 2010, 14, 98-103, 101 (colour illus.), 138-9 (colour illus.). illustration on pages 138-9 is a detail
I breathe the air of other planets, Murray White Room, 19 Jun 2009–18 Jul 2009
Wilderness: Balnaves contemporary painting, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 05 Mar 2010–23 May 2010