Mountain Study

By Carrie Miller

Todd McMillan is quite simply one of the most talented contemporary artists currently working in Australia. The exquisite poignancy of his beautiful, ironic and melancholic video works have become critical favourites and are distinguished by their distinctive poetic character. McMillan’s video work has taken on a new dimension through his collaboration with composer and sound artist Peter McNamara. mountain study is an installation work that perfectly combines their shared interest in exploring the aesthetics of the sublime landscape through the lens of German Romanticism.

McMillan has taken a mundane overhead projector and elevated it to the status of enigmatic sculptural object. What is projected from it is video of the Tasmanian landscape shot by the artist which becomes a diminutive slide on the gallery wall. The images move disconcertingly from romantic mountain vistas to forensic close-ups of botanical features; the gaze is furtive, uncertain, almost anxious.

And then there is a creeping awareness that these feelings are coming from some other source. The soundscape by Peter McNamara infects the landscape like a virus; its palpable malignancy reveals the ultimate danger shadowing the great beauty of the landscape – a vast, endless, overpowering object that threatens to destroy those seeking its pleasures. McMillan and McNamara’s mountain study is a work of such seductive and sinister beauty, however, this becomes a risk you’re willing to take.

Until April 28

Mosman Art Gallery, Mosman

www.mosmanartgallery.org.au

Pic: Dr. Peter McNamara and Todd McMillan, mountain study. Sound, moving image. 30 mins 23 secs. Courtesy the artists.

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