'A Portrait of Landscape and Time in Hill End: Mythmaking, Heroes and Villains' - Grenfell Art Gallery Exhibition

Start Date: Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Finish Date: Sunday, 24 February 2019

Location: Grenfell Art Gallery, 88 Main Street, Grenfell NSW 2810

Contact: Claire McCann - 02 6343 2855 or claire@grenfell.org.au

Artists talk - Wednesday 6th February, 2pm - come along and listen to the artist Rebecca Wilson discuss her work and this current exhibition.

A Portrait of Landscape and Time in Hill End: Mythmaking, Heroes and Villains, is the latest exhibition and book from artist and writer Rebecca Wilson in which she unearths lessor known stories of the iconic town and disrupts common narratives of the region, questioning who the real heroes and villains are in recorded history and how we create myths and icons.

“The line that divides good and evil cuts through the heart of every man,” is a quote from Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn that introduces the viewer to the artist’s narrative works that travel from white settlement to current day.

The artist’s paintings and research takes viewers from Frontier War hero Windradyne and the shameful declaration of Martial Law in 1824 (an attempt at genocide against the First Nation’s People), to tales of murder and racism in the gold rush era, introducing Sammy Poo, also known as Cranky Sam, Australia’s only Chinese bushranger who eventually hanged at Bathurst in 1865.

The journey through time continues as reference is made to artists who have visited the region since the 1940’s such as Jean Bellette, Whiteley and Johnson while questions are raised about the apparent lack of consequences for Donald Friend’s crimes, his activities in Hill End and why special allowances have been made for unacceptable and criminal behavior from particular male artists over time.

Creating images based on photographs of nooses and gravestones that were installed in the township after the decision to make Hill End an historic site in 1967, these public protests were aimed squarely at NPWS staff who recall having their tyres slashed whenever they came to town, such was the resistence to the Government intervention.

Intertwined through this investigation of stories across time, is the artist’s personal experience of living in the remote country town, marrying a fifth generation local of Wiradjuri heritage and facing her own mortality during recent illness. Simultaneously these works investigate how we remember events, create myths and perceive our heroes and villains through Hill End’s history but the works also comment on the broader concepts of truth and lies in our society.