- Oil on board
- William A Sutton bequest, 2000
- 583 x 657mm
- View on google maps
Through her tutor, Robert N. Field, Lusk discovered the work of Cézanne, who famously stated his desire to represent nature, rather than record it. Lusk readily manipulated reality, describing in a 1987 television interview how her landscapes were “controlled and restricted, composed into pictorial space”. Painted in 1942, the year she married and moved to Christchurch, 'Towards Omakau' is an exhilaratingly expansive view of a landscape near Alexandra, in Central Otago. It’s undeniably modern; a sharp rebuke to those commentators who sought to relegate Lusk to the ranks of pragmatic regionalist.
The composition of this work is designed to accentuate the numerous lines that stretch over its surface, curving around eroded cliff faces, extending in darting tangents as rivers and roads, forming regimented shelterbelt verticals. Sheep trails crisscross gently rounded hills, echoing clouds that swirl overhead. Reflecting on her practice in later years, Lusk stated: “[I] have tried to get to the heart of the matter, involved with the complexity rather than simplicity in describing the nature of our land.”
(Doris Lusk: Practical Visionary, 4 June – 30 October 2016)