Featuring works from the TarraWarra Museum of Art collection and selected loans, Boundary Line explores the divergent ways in which artists have examined and represented the boundary line between the man-made and natural worlds.
Since European colonisation the Australian bush has exerted a powerful mystique over the popular imagination, however, over the past century, the suburban landscape has gradually usurped the natural landscape as the site of the day to day lives and experiences of those who have settled here. Now, as citizens of one of the most highly urbanised countries in the world, the vast majority of Australians reside in urban and suburban environments where ownership of an allotted parcel of land, delineated by the boundary lines set by the town planner, underpins our way of life. In recent years, with an increasing population and an ongoing demand for housing, issues such as ‘urban sprawl’, ‘growth corridors’ and ‘high density living’ have become the topic of widespread discussion and debate across the nation.
As the boundaries of towns and cities are extended into former pastoral country or remnant bushland and the need for infrastructure and resources expands, concerns about the impact on the natural environment call into question the sustainability of this insatiable desire for a plot of land. It is here on the suburban fringe, in the intermediary space between the urban and the rural, that many Australian artists have sought to examine the tensions between conceptions of nature and civilisation, between the open spaces of the countryside and the enclosed realm of domesticity, and between perceptions of beauty and degradation.
In examining the transitional and contested line between the man-made and natural worlds, the works featured in Boundary Line reflect not only the physical changes wrought on the Australian landscape over the past 60 years, but also the transformation of its social, economic, and cultural functions. Moreover, these works call into question the very nature of Western relationships to and conceptions of the landscape, challenging us to consider, or reconsider, its role in the delineation of personal, community, and national identities/boundaries and, ultimately, a sense of belonging.