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.
This exhibition was supported by a Creative Development Grant from the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Western Australia.