The Things the Sea gives up

The Things the Sea Gives up is a painting that explores the many faceted aspects of the historically significant southern Tasmanian district known as Tinderbox. The subject is a view to the north of Lucas Point, its bright sea and frill of trees -the small bight of ‘Fisherman’s Haul’ to the right. The foreground space is made up of fractured snippets of the immediate landscape elements of this location and contains three objects: an 18th century English ‘Brown Bess’ flintlock musket and tinderbox, together with a 1960’s Meccano toy tank‚ – smoking gun, a firelighter. These objects mingle and share the immediate foreground generating relationships with past histories and something ‘not-shown’ that challenges readability in spite of all the signs of narrative being present. The uncannily interesting imagery of this locale with its dramatic landscape and coastline are brought together here in layers upon layers of paint, overwritten with colonial histories. By selecting and deploying object-forms this way, meaning in this work reveals itself as invented, recast, or history simply revisited, demonstrating how narrative can challenge the veracity of memory in the present, revealing the limits of one’s own experiences.

Michael Nay


Oil on plywood