FOR THE LAST THREE YEARS, STEVE GOUGH has been enchanting us with his ethereal Top End Lorrain inspired landscapes – the dry tropics filled with spiky plants, spindly overhanging gums, the ever characterful magpie geese, admist the cumulative formations of our northern sky.
The influence of Japanese screens added a refined linearity and spatial composition to Gough’s details and introspection of flora and fauna. The use of multiple adjoining panels and gold leaf also reflected the Japanese influence whilst always maintaining his own voice and his own brush, much like Gough’s modern interpretation of Claude Lorrain. Birds, branches and flowers have also been a signature of his, in the fashion of a scientific book plate, his bird studies reek of a nostalgia for an era of discovery – recording the fine details and characteristics of the specimen.
A View from the Bush is no exception to previous work, rather the evolution of repeated subject matter that continues to excel. Gough maintains the intimacy and quiet romantic reverie of earlier work – evoking an Arcadian sense of time and place. Known for his small works, Gough has started to branch out with slightly larger works in some while maintaining the miniature in others. Gold leaf is still very much a feature including a piece using 22 carat as a backdrop for a magnificent northern rosella. In some instances, the scrupulous detail of his bird studies is now defined by painting the birds at actual size!
Gough’s original trademark style was the use of a European aesthetic for traditional landscape painting, with the characteristics of the Top End bush. His landscapes felt instantly familiar for those reasons, however they were usually of no particular place or time; his own interpretation of what the landscape looked and felt like. This exhibition continues in this vein although we also see the introduction of an actual place at Tjenya Falls: Litchfield National Park, and the industrial skyline of the INPEX silhouette, framed by the quiet distance of, a view from the bush.