West Belconnen, Febuary 2020
Oil on stretched canvas,
72cm x 56 cm x 1.5cm
West Belconnen. Suburbia. Organic, soft-sided curbs and 70’s style bush gardens where comparatively modest houses in burnt orange, with mission brown trims, recede into the undergrowth and hide… who knows what? There’s a beauty in the everyday, the big sky and emptiness, an openness to the landscape on the edge of the city where you can see the paddocks and hills on the horizon.
It’s different to our current obsessions where the house is the only thing on the block and jostles with the neighbours for attention. And the bush garden is a thing of the past, as we move to fire proofing our lives. Living in suburbia on the edge of the city has also lost its innocence as we struggle into the future with a hostility to the environment, and each other. My younger self, who grew up in Downer, but aspired to live in the ‘inner city’, well O’Connor, would have cringed at the thought of finding beauty in Belconnen. But then my younger self didn’t have a sense of how things might change. That we might miss a big, clear, blue sky, a leafy suburb, a sense of innocence and openness…so maybe that’s what this painting is about.