North and South 1992 – 2014 is a mid-career survey show of paintings and works on paper by Marina Strocchi, an Alice-Springs based visual artist whose work has been widely exhibited throughout Australia and in the USA.
North and South has a strong narrative structure that relates directly to the topography of the Northern Territory. Starting with the tangled mangroves of Darwin Harbour, Strocchi traces iconic creatures and plants on a journey that will be familiar to many Australians—from the water buffalo and jabiru of the Top End to the mulga and feral cats of the desert.
Distinct, clever and expressive, Marina Strocchi’s [paintings] take the worn genre of landscape painting and take it back to basics without forfeiting conceptual depth. In simplicity, Strocchi reminds us that these works are interpretations of the land that aren’t concerned with particulars of logic. Her worlds operate in a language of their own, and while seemingly disorganized function as perfectly cohesive, symbiotic wholes. Everything has its own place, and as we try to gauge her landscapes in their entirety we might get a little lost, but it’s a very rewarding confusion.
Monica Karpinski, 2012
The exhibition represents all phases of Strocchi’s twenty-two year career, ranging from the early Central Australian landscapes of specific sites to schematic and abstract reductions of natural and introduced elements of the environment. It encompasses small scale gouaches and oils, etchings, lithographs and monumental acrylic paintings, illustrating the trajectory of Strocchi’s artistic practice from figurative narratives to the most recent conceptual abstractions.
Strocchi’s paintings are heavy in narrative. They tell stories of the desert in a lyrical manner. There’s some whimsy there too….Strocchi fills the entire canvas with her ‘landscapes’ repeating symbols over and over and transforming some into tapestry-like pieces …..Strocchi’s symbols have developed into a recognisable language of icons—unique to her work but certainly representations of things that exist in the real world. When you’ve seen a real boab tree or mangrove roots like those Strocchi paints, you’re able to identify more strongly with these works.
Sharne Wolffe, 2011
About Marina Strocchi
Marina Strocchi was born in Melbourne in 1961. She was exposed to painting from a very early age. Her father, who came from a village near Ravenna in Italy, was an admirer of the Florentine Renaissance. Cezanne and Matisse were her teenage favourites and Strocchi still cites these artists as an inspiration. Strocchi viewed the works of Fred Williams, Murray Walker and John Firth Smith at Realities Gallery in the 1970s as well as being a regular visitor to the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.
In 1982, at the inaugural exhibition of Roar Studios, Strocchi met the artists from Roar, including her future partner, the well-known painter Wayne Eager. Meeting the Roar artists was in equal measure educative and inspiring.
Strocchi lived in Paris for two years, spending time in the galleries and museums of Europe and went on to study French at the Sorbonne.
Back in Melbourne, she was engaged as a community artist, nurturing the art of others including outsider artists at Kew Cottages. These were formative experiences that she brought with her to the Northern Territory.
Strocchi established the Ikuntji Art Centre at Haasts Bluff in 1992. Together with Wayne Eager, she provided a forum for artists such as Long Tom Tjapanangka, Mitjili Napurrula and Narputta Nangala to flourish. In 1994 she published a book on the art and oral histories from Haasts Bluff.
During 1994 and 1995 Marina held paintings workshops for the elderly women at Kintore. After this pivotal project, Papunya Tula went on to include the Kintore and Kiwirrkurra women in the company.
In 1999, Strocchi moved to Alice Springs, spending the year as a field worker for Papunya Tula Artists. Since then, she has lectured and tutored in art at Batchelor Institute in Alice Springs. More recently she has been commissioned to present painting workshops on remote communities, such as Balgo, Ikuntji and Yuendumu.
Strocchi meanwhile maintains her personal practice, holding regular exhibitions on the East Coast as well as in the U.S.A.
View the full exhibition prospectus here. (Please be aware that this is a low resolution file and might not display image colours accurately.)
Artback NT acknowledges the Aboriginal Traditional Custodians of the Country on which we perform or exhibit.