Melissa Smith

Without a Sound - Lake Sorell, 2020

Oil based ink on paper

96 x 188 CM

From the artist

'Refiguring the Silence of Euro-Australian Landscapes', an essay by Nicholas Kankahainen identifies the linguistic disjunctions that underpinned descriptions of the country as 'silent', and explores the way 'silence' was used as a means of obscuring the uncertainties that emerged as a result. He argues however, that this silence is not one that necessarily needs to be broken. He references the work of poet Judith Wright, to show how more ecologically-sensitive approaches to the landscape have led to a re-figuring of this silence as a signifier of meaning and complexity that lies beyond the grasp of language. He states that the perceived silence of some aspects of nature is an integral part of our experience of it.

Lake Sorell on the Central Plateau of Tasmania is a landscape, which has a silence but not one associated with absence. Just as Wright identifies in her poem titled ‘Scribbly Gum’ the ‘written track’ of the scribbly gum moth revealed beneath the bark of the eucalypt cannot be deciphered: rhetorical silence is replaced by a network of communicative noise. Through listening to this landscape a greater sense of peace and understanding can be found.

Artist background

Lives and works in Launceston, Tasmania. Exhibiting since mid-1990s including solo shows at Prot JAckso Press, Melbourne 2014; Devonport Regional Gallery 2013; & Sawtooth ARI, Launceston 2012

Represented by Handmark Gallery, Hobart/Evandale.