Anthem, Matthew McAlpine’s first solo exhibition with Kolbusz Space, is a collection of recent abstract paintings that prods at the intersection of landscape, nationalism, and environmental degradation in contemporary Australia. Rendered with a selective palette with a gritty impasto surface achieved through the addition of builder’s sand in acrylic paint, the artworks poetically allude to colours and textures of charred landscapes.
Interested in the power of language and using the Australian National Anthem as a departure point, McAlpine has manipulated, removed, or added words to lines from the anthem. The text sits embedded in the paintings, applied with stencils, a process that metaphorically reckons with the construction of history, nationhood, and landscape. The idea of construction is further explored by using builder’s sand and fragments of a cast acrylic ornate frame in several works. The fragmented frames draw upon the continued presence of colonial legacies in contemporary Australia.
Matthew McAlpine is an artist predominantly working in painting and sculpture and currently living and working in Boorloo/Perth. McAlpine graduated from Curtin University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and has been exhibiting regularly ever since. His practice aims to explore the complexities and problems that arise from celebrating colonial legacies. While McAlpine draws upon a range of disciplines to interrogate these ideas, his practice is brought together by its poetic and material sensibilities.
This exhibition has been supported by a Creative Development Grant from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Western Australia.
Image by @saltydavenport