Glyphs and the Lower Molonglo Valley

Australia May 2008…. …and travelling west over the Murrumbidgee River (a break from the intense textile talk in Canberra ), Chrissy (G W Bot) introduced daughter Katie and I to her land. Katie drawing in Lower Molonglo Valley, West of Canberra Katie drawing in Lower Molonglo Valley, West of Canberra. An expansive land of ochre hills and faded horizons, of red earth, broken rocks and tracks, of spikey grasses and rustling gum trees, of kangaroos and circling eagles, of soft winds and space to breath. The Lower Molonglo Valley of the Brindabella Ranges. We walked and talked and looked and watched and sat and listened and drew and the land felt big. And Katie and I felt the strangeness of this unfamiliar place. Small sketch in my Moleskine, watercolour and pen. Small sketch in my Moleskine, watercolour and pen. For G W Bot this is her land of Glyphs. A land she has been drawing for over twenty years and knows intimately and a land she is constantly striving to understand. Having sat together on dry, stony earth, sketching the marks of this landscape, I had begun to understand the deep intensity with which this artist feels. Later, in her studio, pouring over sketchbooks and work in progress, the profound tenacity and sensitivity in her research became abundantly evident. G W Bot in her studio, Australia, May 2008 G W Bot in her studio, May 2008. It also became clear why these strong, graphic drawings and prints – the distilled visual poetry of her art – find a home in many of the world’s national and public collections (including the British Museum, British Library and Victoria and Albert Museum in London.) G W Bot, Glyphs ‐ manuscript, 2008; watercolour and graphite on Colombe paper, 100 x 120cm G W Bot, Glyphs ‐ manuscript, 2008; watercolour and graphite on Colombe paper, 100 x 120 cm. A solo exhibition of her work ‘Field of Glyphs’ has just opened at The Hart Gallery in Islington. In the beautifully produced catalogue it states: ‘Glyphs constitute a language suggested by the markings found in the Australian landscape. Back in the 1870’s Marcus Clarke wrote of the peculiarity of the Australian bush as “the strange scribblings of nature learning how to write.” G W Bot will be giving a talk at the gallery tomorrow night, Wednesday 18 March at 6.30pm. I plan to be there. The exhibition continues until 1 April 2009.


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