Greville works predominantly with painting, having recently completed his Masters of Fine Art at the Victorian College of the Arts. His work examines how the idea of our environment is thought of through painting. This stems from a deeply personal enquiry of his urban existence and dwindling ecologies. While the work aims to interrogate more than instruct, the personal and political stance of the artist are always in play.
Greville’s artwork depicts Tasmania’s Lake Pedder, represented through a combination of “digital mapping, photography, and memory.” Speaking about his winning entry, Greville recalls canoeing on Lake Pedder in 2017 saying that “in the expanse of dark water, the almost glassy depths and mountains held me in their beauty,” he said.
“A feeling of being absent from human clutter and noise settled on me, but the sudden recollection that this lake is a dam, tipped everything on its side. This terrain consumed by Lake Pedder reveals its absences and loss, both beneath the lake’s dark depths, and the voids left in the fallible processes of digital mapping. Pedder’s distinctive white quartz beachers and deep submerged hues are made up of red, green and blue reflecting screen RGB colours of the digital world.”
“A slightly downward view and use of digital mapping view are important markers, offering a slight cool remove from the landscape, while enticing the view into the landscape unfolding into a broadening distance.The voids reveal a constructed concrete infinity, the diagonal checkerboard slices follow a top-down grid, prime cuts of a country cut up and sliced for consumption.”
Greville’s winning piece was selected by 2019 Glover Prize judges Barry Keldoulis, Joan Ross, and Janet Carding. Speaking of the winning piece, head-judge Keldoulis stated that “it is probably the finalist that displays the most ‘newness’ in his (Greville’s) approach to his comprehension of the landscape.”
“His work comes from a very distinct moment on Lake Pedder of his experience of the landscape, and a subsequent realisation of the constructed nature of the nature around him.”
Keldoulis also spoke of the fact that, although Tasmania is famous for its wilderness, it is the second oldest part of Australia to be colonised with much of the landscape having been worked over. He stated that the winning artwork captured the idea of the landscape being seen as a commodity to be consumed by human kind.
Keldoulis mentioned that “the work has a very dramatic sense of almost looking at the landscape from space, which captures the silliness of the notion that we can escape this planet to somewhere else. So for me there’s an element of the love of the landscape, but a desperation and a fear that we are not treating it in the manner we should – with respect.”
Greville is a first-time finalist of the Glover Prize. He has won $50,000 and a bronze maquette of colonial artist, John Glover, after whom the Glover Prize is named. The judges also awarded two finalist pieces with Highly Commended Awards – Kylie Elkington for her entry The Native Arrangement, and Seabastion Toast for her entry Surfers are the Worst (Shipsterns Bluff).
Established in 2004, The Glover Prize is Australia’s most prestigious landscape art prize™. It is awarded for the work judged the best contemporary landscape painting of Tasmania completed in the previous 12 months.
Landscape painting is defined in its broadest sense. The aim is to stimulate conversations about the meaning and possibilities expressed in the words landscape, painting, and Tasmania. The Glover Prize is open to artists from anywhere in the world.
The Glover Prize Finalists exhibition runs 9 – 17 March 2019 at the historic Falls Park Pavilion in Evandale. For more information, visit: www.johnglover.com.au for details.
Image: Glover Prize 2019 Winner Piers Greville with his winning work, Pedder Prime Cuts (supplied)