Artist: Ash Keating

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Year Completed: 2019

Published: The Design Files  The Age

I have been collaborating with Ash for a couple of years now, documenting both his outdoor destination and studio works. While his brief is always front of mind he also allows the freedom to express my response to his works. My favourite so far  in terms of location and scale. From a distance this looks like an urban/industrial wasteland on the city limits. Once on foot we encounter a crystal clear creek, a huge Kangaroo, an interested Fox, and black Wallabies. During one of the mornings some of the local Alpacas that graze in and around the ancient boulders came by for a portrait, becoming my favourite shots of the project.

“The Merri Merri* Creek runs between the colossal concrete pylons of a bridge built in 2007, holding above it the Hume Freeway Craigieburn Bypass. When driving across that bridge in 2016 I noticed a newly built tilt-slab warehouse at the back of the Craigieburn industrial zone, imposing itself on the surrounding landscape. From 2012 to 2016 I undertook a series of trompe l’oeil paintings titled Urban Boundary Propositions on similar buildings across Melbourne’s greater urban growth boundary. These works were conceptual, painted for film, and literal in their message about the loss and development of natural landscape. This new factory, however, spoke to me differently. The resulting painting is viewed within both an ancient and rapidly developing landscape. Whether viewed in person or through reproductions, it cannot be separated from its surrounds. In the days following completion, photographer Dan Preston extensively documented the work and landscape of both privately and council owned land, as an archive to this important visual story.” —  Ash Keating