Beneath this dry land
- Media category
- Materials used
- synthetic polymer paint on canvas
- 137.2 x 198.5 x 3.0 cm stretcher
- Signature & date
Signed and dated top c. to u.l. verso on stretcher, fibre-tipped pen "… Fiona Lowry … 2016/17".
- Purchased with funds provided by the Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2022
- Isaac Wakil Gallery
- Accession number
- © Fiona Lowry
- Artist information
Works in the collection
Fiona Lowry is renowned for her macabre depictions of the Australian landscape. Deftly painted in pastel colours using an airbrush gun, her works speak to the enduring idea of the outback as a beautiful yet somewhat threatening and inhospitable place.
In 'Beneath this dry land', Lowry presents a pastoral scene with grassy plains, an old post and wire fence and a pair of straggly gum trees. A closer inspection of Lowry’s image reveals a disturbing detail in this otherwise picturesque view: there are several dead wild dogs strung from the branches of the trees. This grisly practice, which is surprisingly common in rural Australia, is believed to signal the number of wild dogs culled by a farmer on their respective property. Some also suggest that it is a statement intended to raise awareness about the threat that feral animals pose to livestock and native wildlife. The dead dog trees portrayed in 'Beneath this dry land' are situated in the Snowy Mountains region in southern New South Wales and were brought to Lowry's attention by a friend who lived nearby in Jindabyne.
Besides finding beauty in an ugly subject, Lowry draws our attention to an ethically and politically complicated conservation issue in Australia. By depicting an iconic Australian tree in such an abject state, she also offers a commentary on bygone national ideals and their projection and propagation in Australian landscape art produced during the late 19th and early to mid-20th centuries.
Shown in 4 exhibitions
Fiona Lowry: Out in the night, Hugo Michell Gallery, Beulah Park, 17 Nov 2016–14 Dec 2016
Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prizes (2017), Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 29 Jul 2017–22 Oct 2017
Fiona Lowry, 3:33 Projects, Sydney, Mar 2021–Sep 2021
Making Worlds, Art Gallery of New South Wales, North Building, Sydney, 03 Dec 2022–2023