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Stranglehold: Colonial Heat

7 May - 1 June

7 May – 1 June 2024

Tuesday – Friday: 12pm – 7pm
Saturdays: 12pm – 4pm
admission: Free

The resulting mashups of colonial imagery and wild colour fashion a strange and disquieting beauty

*Please Note the Gallery will be Closed on Wednesday 22nd May from 4:30pm to 7:00pm for a Private Function*

Stranglehold: Colonial Heat presents uncanny landscapes by Glover Prize and Hadley Prize shortlistee Amanda Johnson.

The artist’s Landcare home on Gadabanud country, Cape Otway, along with field trips to key sites where early Australian painters – Streeton, Von Guerard and Glover – painted, has inspired these vibrant, unsettling works.

Paintings bring colonial past into colonial present; invasive species interrupt the view, and exhilarating DayGlo palettes disturb serene sunsets. The resulting mashups of colonial imagery and wild colour fashion a strange and disquieting beauty.

Image Captions:
New Gloveresque: Tailings Lake, Tarkayna, Amanda Johnson, 2023, oil and acrylic polymer on canvas, 122 x 122cm

Amanda Johnson is a painter and writer living and working on Gadabanud country in Cape Otway, Victoria. Her work has been shortlisted in the Glover Prize (2022), Hadley’s Art Prize (2022, 2021 and 2019) and Bruny Prize (2018 and 2016). Her most recent solo exhibtions Sunset Clause and Colonial Heat were held at In the Skies Gallery in Lorne, Victoria in 2021 and 2022, and at fortyfivedownstairs in 2018. Since graduating from a Masters in painting at Victorian College of the Arts in 1995, Amanda has been the recipient of Asialink and Arthur Boyd Bundanon residencies for painting. Her exhibition Friable: The Lost Garden was held at Geelong Gallery in 2015 as part of the gallery’s regional artists program.

Stranglehold: Colonial Heat continues the artist’s long-term exploration of Australian landscape history in response to the troubled ecological present and environmental policy stasis. The artist documents sites where optimistic views of early colonial landscape painting were made as well as places where logging practices have had deleterious environmental impacts. While the resulting images mimic nineteenth-century landscape silhouettes, vibrant, almost toxic colour manipulates generic scenes, suggesting disturbance and ecological urgency. Traditionally, ‘sunset views’ suggest the passing of time, encouraging lyrical feelings and a sense of escape, but in these paintings twilight is suffused with subtle threat. The artist variously depicts invasive blackberry and sweet pittosporum infestations on Gadabanud Country (Otway State Forest) and across selected Tasmanian locations. Elsewhere, sparse, uncanny landscapes evoke ecological aftermath in current and former state-owned logging coupes in Tasmania and Victoria.

In these different depictions, the artist creates temporal ‘mashups’ of colonial past with colonial present; bold imagery and wild colour fashion a strange and disquieting beauty.

Opening Night
Tuesday 7th May
5:00pm to 7:00pm
Large Gallery

Free Entry.
All Welcome.
No Booking Required.

The artist, Amanda Johnson, will also be in conversation with esteemed Art Historian Assoc. Professor Alison Inglis (University of Melbourne) on Saturday May 18th at 2.30pm in the large gallery to discuss ideas and process in the making of her exhibition Stranglehold: Colonial Heat


7 May
1 June
Event Category:


fortyfivedownstairs gallery
45 Flinders Lane
Melbourne, Victoria 3000 Australia
+ Google Map
03 9662 9966
View Venue Website


03 9662 9966


Amanda Johnson
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