David Le May
Acland is a town 51 km north east of Toowoomba. It is mostly owned by the coal mining company, ‘New Hope’. There remains in the town only two houses owned by lifelong resident Glen Beutel. All the other houses were bought and then removed by ‘New Hope’ around seven years ago. For the last two years I have been painting its ‘tainted landscape’; first from the outskirts and then within the town itself. While there is little trace of houses left, remnant gardens still define the vacant lots and evoke the memories of its inhabitants. It is a landscape imbued with loss and yet filled with life. It is a landscape literally in upheaval; a place that is typical of many of the places stretching across the vastness connecting our towns and cities and a place that symbolizes the many ethical problems of our age. These ‘tainted landscapes’ of disruption and renewal are a testament not only to the movement of peoples but the movement of places from beneath our feet that makes migrants of us all.
"These small scenes are postcards from a place forgotten. Their intimate scale and intensely personal gestural brushwork bring tenderness to sites of trauma, soft focus to a place under the harshest of spotlights. Acland, though now forcibly abandoned, is still a place of life and value – seasonal shift, wind and weather, garden growth, insects and birds can all be felt swirling across these momentary glimpses. Memory is always old, while feeling is always new. Le May invites us into a mindfulness where we may experience them together in gentle renewal." (Beth Jackson)