Monday, 5 September 2016



BARRY MOUSLEY, Diorama (2016)
Mixed media installation

Current: September, 2016
View at: 79 Main Street BEEAC

… a lake in the window …

Think heraldry, stained glass, illustrated manuscripts – the impetus behind medieval imagery is instructive: this is the setting, this is the story, these are the characters. If you can’t read the story, you can see it.

Corrunnen artist, Barry Mousley, cites medieval manuscripts and stained glass as formative influences on his work. These ‘early’ practices might appear at odds with Mousley’s world, his contemporary documentation of changes in a unique and fragile Ramsar Lake zone and his specialization in Australian wildlife, particularly endangered & lesser known species. How do medieval imagery and contemporary nature resolve, visually?

Like the ‘authors’ of manuscript and glass, Mousley is inspired by a desire to record, to share, to tell, to show. To wit, BM: ‘You know it’s been pretty windy. There was this awful rattle in our chimney. I thought Uh Oh. It settled and then happened again. In the still I went outside and this is what I found.’ Mousley whips out his wee camera, No 2#. There on a chimney are the angular shapes of a cormorant! Now, only now, this writer knows there are cormorants in these parts; has seen one on Barry’s chimney. Clear, informative, exciting. Expect a cormorant to appear by Mousley’s hand, soon.

While his work is literal, it play tricks – tromp d’oeil, Escher-like, but above all Mousley’s art is ‘loving’: a caress detected in the infinite subtlety of what appears such fidelity, is what sets it apart. There is a glow in the attention to subject accuracy, not slavish verisimilitude. There is a warmth and fervor in the desire to share a knowledge of what has been seen and found – in his locality – and Mousley renders this desire.

His works are not fictions, nor intellectual constructs, rather evidence of delight and joy in marvels of the natural world. Where Attenborough hugs a chimp or grovels with a gorilla, Mousley hugs the paints and grounds, shapes and colours that allow him to share with such delight what he has seen around him. His work is his ‘manuscript’ of this experience, his means to share the story of what is precious around him.

Mousley’s visual interests are anchored and informed by his practical engagement with Birds Australia, Parks Victoria, the Wildlife Arts Society and Greening Australia. His talent is to bring his interest in the natural world and his visual capabilities together in the humming unison of an irresistible story that everyone can ‘read’.


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