To Dwell

Esmond Dorney, perhaps, understood what ‘to dwell’ embodied. Committed as he was to his house at Fort Nelson, alongside the landscape it embraces; rebuilding it with only minor changes after the first iteration succumbed to fire. He must have known that this could happen again, perched upon the hill and surrounded by bush. Yet he built anyway. It’s a beautiful house, tent-like with a sunken hearth, circular form, and floor to ceiling windows’ both open and vulnerable to its surroundings. Working from a collaged study, for this painting images of Dorney House were fragmented, altered, and pieced back together. The outer edges of she-oaks and earth form a sheltered frame around the house, which is painted provisionally, desaturated, and bare. This house, as wonderful as it is, won’t stand forever. Like the people who dwelled within and the gun emplacements that it rests upon, it is – as is most – temporary.

Jo Chew


Oil on canvas