Rosalie Gascoigne was born in New Zealand made her career in Australia. Her style of art was the study of ikebana which is based on floral arrangements in Japan. Most of Gascoigne’s work is based on materials that signify something or other in today’s world. These things are usually items which have been around for a while such as packaging cases and rural Australian life. One of Gascoigne’s works is ‘Step Through’, a piece consisting of chocks of wood which were used in the 1950 – 60’s. Lin Onus, the second artist who will be discussed has a Scottish mother and an Aboriginal father. The piece of work created by Onus that will be discussed is ‘Fire 2’, relating to the indigenous Australian people and the importance of various items that they utilized.
‘Step Through’ is a plain piece of artwork which consists of several blocks of wood with what seems to be old fashioned flooring on top of them. The significance of these blocks of wood is that they came from old houses from early Australia. ‘Lino’, the material depicted on top of the blocks of wood was a common material used in the 1950-60’s for flooring. Gascoigne seems to be attracting the older generation of people with this piece of work. It holds quite a strong cultural significance in the sense that people living in Australia in that time would’ve used these two materials sometime in their lives. Nature is the element which is repeated in this piece. She is showing simply but effectively how much culture rests on nature. By looking at the artwork, the first thing the viewer thinks is, “why is it called Step through?” Some might say due to it looking like stepping stones and quite simply, something to walk over. In reality, there is much more behind the artwork. The blocks are old and weak, thus symbolizing that they are no longer meant for use. The pieces of floor on top of the wood might suggest that everything could once join together, but over time, broke apart. Some might say the pieces fit together.
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For such a simple piece of work, there are many principles. Some include composition and pattern. Pattern is symbolized in the way that there are blocks spaced out almost evenly from each other, all with the same thing on top of itself. This is the case from the start to the end. Composition makes it feel like the artwork has been planned and is not just something that was stuck onto a canvas. This intrigues the viewer and gives him something to think about.Surface, tone and texture are the main elements used in this piece. The piece having a simple background gives a dull feel, thus the tone of the artwork is generally the same. Everyting in the artwork seems old and out of use. The texture in this piece is not based on the wood, but on the pieces of Lino on top of it. The little dots seen on the lino shows that it is not smooth, rather quite rough. The edges of the tiles seem jagged and uneven.
The next piece of art that will be discussed is ‘Fire 2’ By Lin Onus. The viewer will quite simply be able to link the resemblance of the piece and the artist. All of the materials used in this piece are related to nature. Aboriginal life revolves around mother Earth and taking care of her. The piece gives a sense of destruction in the way that when people see trees burning, they think about disaster and damage. What people don’t see is that this is the way of Aboriginal life. It is all just a factor. This artwork focuses on the significance of fire towards not just the Aboriginals, but to the entire human race. Only by looking at the trees in the piece is our mind awoken to the fact that this is based on indigenous life. Many smaller factors fly past our eyes, unnoticed but for the aboriginals, it is part of their lives. Feathers for instance gives no link whatsoever when first thought about by us to the Aboriginals. However if we dig deep into their culture, we will find that it resembles quite a lot. Texture, tone and colour are the three elements used in this composition. All of the materials in the piece have their own textures and feels. The trees depicted are diagonal, giving interest to the viewer on how they became like that.
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The dark colour and charring of the trees gives a feeling of death. Tone has a direct link to colour in this instance. The tone of the piece is dark and gloomy. Just like the colours in the piece. The principles of contrast and asymmetry are commonly used in this piece of art. A, easier way of saying contrast is that the bark and feathers are placed next to each other, suggesting their close relationship. This makes sense in spiritual ways of the Aboriginals. Asymmetry is basically comparing things in the artwork, giving the viewer something to work out and maybe even confuse. Contrast in this piece could be something like all of the burning and burnt material. All of this gives the sense of destruction but in a sense, it shows birth. Forests must be destroyed for them to grow again. This is the main concept of this artwork, showing that destruction and death only means a new beginning. Asymmetry in this case is the fact that no two things in this piece are the same. There are things that are made from the same materials but none of the exact same things. This brings the idea that there is nothing indestructible.
Overall, in both artworks discussed, nature plays a role in one way or another. In ‘Step through’, the blocks of wood holding pieces of lino with pictures of flowers and trees on them. In ‘Fire 2’, the concept of everything being burnt for it to be started fresh again.