Full Circle  |  Arthouse Gallery  |  August  2011

Over the last 18 months, Hobie Porter has been frequenting the beaches of Northern NSW in their wilder, windswept moments hunting for material for his latest paintings. Adopting beach-combing to collect refuse such as rusty chains, sun-bleached rope, and barnacle-encrusted bottles, he explores our landscape and sets the scene of our environmental future in a subtle, meditative, yet anxious way.

Porter’s impressive and compelling new work depicts intricately observed flotsam suspended over vast seascapes. These weathered items of manufacture - lost, abandoned - have possibly been jettisoned by an excessive society into the ocean. Encrusted with sea life, these forms are reminiscent of artefacts dredged up from a previous civilisation. They hover just above turbulent seas which threaten to engulf their story into a great silence, revealing the immensity and fragility of his surrounding environment. The results are both enigmatic and sublime.

Hobie weaves layers of meaning and paint into his impressive landscapes: the collection evokes a strange and unexpected tranquillity within the maelstrom. The sea’s unruly energy is countered by spacious skies. The circle has become an important motif, suggesting both completeness and limitlessness. The rise and demise of past civilisations is evident in their fragmentary artefacts. Hobie considers nature and civilisation as an inseparably intertwined, yet recognises a yawning disconnect between our present culture and its surrounding environment. The recent Japanese tsunami highlights his concern that Modernitys reluctance to consider its impact on environment (and vise-versa) leaves it open to a ‘full circle’ of its own making. The circle does offer a sense of optimism however; having no beginning and therefore no end, it is rich in transformative power offering hope for a brighter future.