JINX NOLAN WILL BE IN SYDNEY FROM 30 MARCH
Nolan's landscapes are characterised by space, the vastness and emptiness of the Australian outback and the endless stretch of its eastern coastline. Her pictures could be described as memory-scapes, or landscapes as seen in the mind - the spaces she maintains within herself. Significantly, her format is not horizontal as in the majority of landscape paintings, which convey a sense of a panoramic view. Instead, Nolan has chosen the static and stable shape of the square, emphasising the sense of something unchanging, preserved forever. The square also accentuates distance, as does the bird’s eye view she employs and emphasises by the marvellous variety of birds that soar or occasionally perch, unmoored, in mid-air. Contradictory indications of the time of day: a dark sky contrasting with a brightly lit ground, for instance, further expands a given moment to suggest the passage of years.
Nevertheless, in these silent, timeless spaces, there is life. For the most part, its activity appears below the surface of the water: fish circle endlessly or are caught in nets; anemones and squid swim as freely as they did in the rock pools she saw as a child at the beach. Significantly, Nolan has not represented them but cut them from books and pasted them in place: their ‘reality’ is second-hand. Yet there is also a genuine concern for Australia’s threatened coral reefs here, in the delicacy of the blue fan corals or the frantic departure of a dense school of fish from another outcropping of coral.
What is so compelling about the memory-scapes in Nolan's forthcoming exhibition, Beyond, is how fresh and immediate they feel to the viewer. (Pamela Allara, Associate Professor Emerita of Modern and Contemporary Art, Brandeis University, Massachusetts, USA)