Esperance fires fashion Gregory Pryor’s Looking Glass at AGWA


Gregory Pryor. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Gregory Pryor. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

GREGORY Pryor stood inside a huge, charcoaled banksia in the blackened aftermath of the 2015 Esperance fires to fashion his latest installation.

With his back to the trunk, he moved around the base of the bush in a circle, taking photos through burnt branches of the beautifully eerie terrain.

These images are reassembled on 1585 sheets of paper wrapped around a room in the Art Gallery of WA.

They are on show now and people can see his ominous work, ironically blossoming with optimism.

Pryor visited the Esperance site in October last year to see the first signs of the bushland regrowth since the blaze struck.

“Everything was black and all of a sudden there was this bright, deep blood-red kangaroo paw,” the artist and ECU lecturer said.

“It was super-powerful in the blackness, to see this red thing flowering for the first time after such a ferocious fire.”

Pryor saw a similar scene of ruin in 2002 on his initial visit to WA.

“I went to a place in Ellis Brook Valley where there had been a fire the year before, and for the first time I saw this blackened landscape,” he said.

“In amongst the black were these flowers blooming for the first time – I’ve been drawn to this scene ever since.”

Feeling a deep connection to the WA terrain, Pryor moved to Perth shortly after, farewelling his home state Victoria.

“You walk through an area after a fire and it’s absolutely silent and it has all these amazing forms and there is something quite profound and beautiful about that,” he said.

“I really hope that people are aware of the beauty of the WA landscape in a work like this but also know that it’s super-volatile: any part can go up instantly, it’s always on this tense edge.”

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Looking Glass, WA Now exhibition

When: until January 15

Where: The Art Gallery of WA, Perth

 

MORE: Ocean Reef Marina: State Government commits $120 million to project

MORE: Federal and State Governments commit $7 million to Indian Ocean Drive road safety improvements

MORE: Cycling stores hand out UV pens to help identify stolen bikes