A STUDY of Lake Joondalup and early white settler engagement with the landscape has won this year’s City of Joondalup Community Invitation Art Award.
Guildford artist Jarrad Martyn spent time around the lake in preparation for his award-winning oil painting, Territory, which draws on the dead angular trees he photographed and an old photo of a tree cutter.
It’s hung at the annual Lakeside Joondalup exhibition between his two graphite-on-paper works inspired by the trees, settler-built caves and archival photos of a 1940s scout camp and historic Buckingham House.
“I spent some time all around Lake Joondalup – both the Joondalup side and the Wanneroo side,” he said.
“I uncovered some of the caves the early settlers built to help drain some of the water away from the lake for use on their market gardens.
“I would generally walk around Neil Hawkins Park or just sit in some of the dead trees; they’re quite angular and I was interested in how they evoke a sense of inhospitableness and narrative, similar to the early 19th century Romantic painters.”
For Territory, Martyn juxtaposed the archival photo of a settler using a Dennis horizontal saw-mounted cutter with his own images. “The colour palette comes from the Perth Corridor Plan in the ’70s,” he said.
“I was particularly interested in how colour and shape was used to stylise the landscape, how the original black and white image is transformed into an other-worldly landscape through the change in palette.
“There are these purply reds and these yellow greens… so (I) talk about past and present, ideas like that.”
The win coincided with his 26th birthday.
“It’s a good present,” he said.
Martyn, who grew up in Gidgegannup and is working on commissioned works for his former school Guildford Grammar, is planning on a break from the studio for a few months.
“I’m hoping to do an overseas residency,” he said.
“I’ve spent a bit of time in Berlin the past couple of years; I might head back there.”
He also picked up the Award for Excellence for his graphite-on-paper depiction, Markers, of Buckingham House and a cave.
JOONDALUP COMMUNITY INVITATION ART AWARD
Winner ($7000): Jarrad Martyn, Territory.
Runner-up ($2000): Jurek Wybraniec, Establishing Shot #18.
Award for Excellence ($2000): Jarrad Martyn, Markers.
Celebrating Joondalup ($2000): Jess Day, The Life of the Garden.
WHAT THE JUDGES SAID OF TERRITORY
The painting is intense with violence and yet, it is quiet. The machine hacking into the tree is brutal. There is an acknowledgement of colonisation, represented through a well-researched journey into local history however the artist brings these to light in a way that is nuanced and contemporary.
The palette allows the artist to add and subtract, developing many layers of darkness and shadow, and in so doing, he does not allow us to ignore the darkness and awareness of our history.