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When I look at landscape, objective contact is replaced with visual sensation; I see the landscape in terms of line, form, colour and space. My aim is to exploit this line, form, colour and space.
THE ART OF ROBERT HOLCOMBE
The Australian landscape is monumental, not only is its vastness, but also in its contrasts of form and colour. The landscape is also monumental in its diversity. Light, colour, form and texture are all subject to extremes of almost limitless variation.
The landscape of any locality, being the principal stimulus behind the work of any landscape artist, has the potential to exert an enormous influence upon those able to apprehend its full range of experience. Each of those artists within the Australian landscape genre whom posterity has deemed ‘great’ possess an innate affinity with the surroundings from which they draw their inspiration.
All of Holcombe’s work is imbued with a strong, often insistent sense of place, having its origin in the prolonged contact the artist boasts with the land. This contact consists not so much of rigid clinical observation, but rather, of communion with the land itself, providing Holcombe with both conscious and subconscious impressions from which to draw inspiration. The various elements of the land form the vocabulary of the landscape artist, serving simultaneously as both inspiration and language. Holcombe uses the constituents of any given scene as a vehicle for transmitting his concepts of form, line and colour. Holcombe will often refine the various structural and textural components of his work down to their primal elements, and in this practice colour is no exception. The use of bold monotone being juxtaposed with subtle gradations of colour. The line has a natural tendency to grow in stature as subjects are reduced to their most basic geometry. In conjunction with his growing emphasis upon abstracted linear composition Holcombe has gravitated towards a more restricted palette often dominated by the tones of loosely referred as ‘black and white’. In a very real sense, Holcombe’s oeuvre represents an assimilation and extension of the achievements of Australian landscape painting over the past half century.
Jason Sprague, Melbourne (Freelance Arts Writer)