Florentine Valley - Displaced Landscape

No. 98 Florentine Valley - Displaced Landscape

Raymond Arnold is one of Australia’s mostly highly regarded printmakers. This screen-print is an early example of his engagement with issues concerning the representation and management of Tasmania’s wilderness areas. The two panels present an aspect of the Florentine Valley, in the state’s south west, as seen from near the enlarged Lake Pedder. The view is interrupted by a Hydro-Electric Commission sign erected for tourists to provide them with information on the geological history of the valley, and the names of locations along the horizon line. more...

The photograph used in the print was taken at the end of one of Arnold’s many bushwalks into the region. He explains:

While waiting on the Strathgordon Road for a lift back to Hobart after two weeks walking the South West I am lit up by the headlights of an approaching car. My shadow falls across the HEC sign. My shadow covers a description of pre-Cambrian, geological time, and a nomenclature of colonisation – Mt Wedge, Mt Anne and the Serpentine Valley for example.

Arnold’s comment highlights how the simple act of a shadow falling across a sign creates an image that could reflect his concerns about the impact of human activity and colonisation in the region. His shadow and the text of the sign both suggest how human activity can ‘displace’ the landscape, by marking it with boundaries, maps and information.

The Florentine Valley continues to be a source of inspiration and comment for a number of Tasmanian artists – as well as remaining a contested landscape caught between development and environmental concerns. Arnold’s establishment of LARQ (Landscape Art Research Queenstown), a non-profit studio/gallery in the western Tasmanian mining town of Queenstown, fosters this unique analytical approach to landscape offered by artists.

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  • Object maker: Raymond Arnold
  • Object date: 1983
  • Object size: 96 x 151cm (2) only part of diptych artwork shown here
  • Object location: Florentine Valley
  • Object display location: Off Display
  • Object source: Purchased with the assistance of Dick Bett Gallery, Hobart, 1996.
  • Accession number: AG5833.1-2