The Transplanted Bush offers a fresh perspective on the construction and representation of the bush brand, a paradigm that continues to play a significant and romantic role in the construction of an Australian national identity. The bush, as a space that is anti-city, an idea that generally relies on a British genealogy and one that is constructed according to hetero-normative strategies, plays a significant role in the creation of Australian identity because it is often regarded as the real Australia.
My research disrupts the representational terrain that is now understood to be the bush, to the point where the bush becomes an unintelligible space, as one that converges with ideas and signifiers derived from its Australian other, the urban and domestic spheres. My research collapses the boundaries between these spaces and ideas in an effort to erode the prevailing ideology of the bush paradigm as such a formidable cultural force. My aim is not so much about redefining Australian identity but rather to disrupt and playfully ‘refurbish the brand.’
My investigation has primarily been undertaken within the conventional means of paint and canvas and by employing some of the traditional hallmarks of landscape painting such as the horizon line and the iconic Australian gum tree. This approach allows me to focus my questions within a simple pictorial format and in a sense acknowledges that I am conducting my investigation within the brand. Like painting, the bush brand is able to absorb transgressions, but in doing so it hopefully takes a small step in becoming a more inclusive space and ultimately into representational terrain that has no edges.
Selected works from The Transplanted Bush were exhibited in the exhibitions Out on a Limb at Bathurst Regional Gallery (2004), Out on a Limb 2 at FCA Gallery University of Wollongong (2005), In Part at Helen Maxwell Gallery Canberra (2006) and The Transplanted Bush at Ivan Dougherty Gallery (2008).