World Wild Life Documentary: including Blue Heeler Buckley’s Map of Australia 2006

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Western art and philosophy has a long tradition of constructing a romantic regard for nature that essentially places humanity at odds to its natural environment. This position constructs humanity as either victim to, or conqueror of, the natural world. In contrast Taoist philosophy integrates humanity within natural processes as one factor amongst a multitudinous, infinite, complex, cosmos. A consideration of how a Taoist approach can contribute to contemporary western art practice is limited. The installation, World Wildlife Documentary: Including Blue Heeler Buckley's Map of Australia by Bonita Ely specifically addresses the influences of Taoist philosophy and cultural practices on contemporary landscape painting. Video observations by the artist of natural phenomena recorded over a ten years period are displayed in relation to Chinese brush and ink paintings showing changed conditions and different responses to one location. This temporal exploration of painting is a framework by which to investigate the seemingly unending variations of meaning achieved by a spontaneous Taoist approach to interpretive landscape painting using the expressive qualities of sumi brush technique. The significance of this work is evidenced by its inclusion the exhibition Cleveland Street projects, Performance Space, Sydney; it has also been shown in exhibitions at Bellas Gallery, Brisbane and Sutton Gallery, Melbourne. The work is also included, by invitation, in the inaugural selection of 20 Australian video artists for Monash University’s Australian Video Art Archive.
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Ely, Bonita Ann
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