Australian Pastoral (2017)

To Large Works  To Details
Arrow left
Arrow down

John Webb: Australian Pastorale (2017)

Australian Pastorale (2017)
2.5m x 2.0m

Image details:

John Webb: Australian Pastoral (2017) Detail

John Webb: Australian Pastoral (2017) Detail

John Webb: Australian Pastoral (2017) Detail

Australian Pastorale (2017)
(Detail 1) 
Australian Pastorale (2017)
(Detail 2) 
Australian Pastorale (2017)
(Detail 3) 

Australia Red Map icon


This work:

A pastoral lifestyle is that of shepherds herding livestock around open areas of land according to seasons and the changing availability of water and pasture. It lends its name to a genre of literature, art, and music that depicts such life in an idealized manner, typically for urban audiences. Sir William Empson refers to the pastoral process as 'putting the complex into the simple.' 

Webb's Australian Pastorale (2017) combines traditional images of sheep and green pastures with urban intrusions amid the harsh red of the Australian landscape, displaying modern complexity in an ancient dry land. 

Australian context:

Appearing oddly out of place in a pastoral landscape, Webb includes the strange landforms of the Australian Mungo. The Mildura has become an irrigated oasis in the midst of an arid land, yet only 100 km away from this flat, green area with the river winding through it, is the Mungo National Park with its amazing lunettes.

The clutter of machinery, power sources and chemicals around the farm animals also speaks of a less-than-gentle farming environment.

The clutter of river boats is a common theme in Webb's paintings, reflecting his love of the Murray Darling environment, and also his awareness of the fragility of those farming areas depending on that river system for constant irrigation. See, for instance, Open Day (2012).

Mungo Lunettes

Drums from the farm environment
 Mungo National Park
Photo: NSW Government
Toxic drums in the rural environment 

Mildura paddleboats

Image: Your Mildura