Collaboration in the Clouds

'Head in the Clouds' opens at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery tonight. IMAGE: Ron McBurnie, 'Breach' (detail); 2016; ink and oil paint on board; 70 x 50 cm

An exhibition showcasing the beauty and intricacy of one of Atherton Tablelands’ cloud and rain forests will open at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery this Friday night.

Head in the Clouds features artwork by Townsville’s Ron McBurnie, Atherton’s Ben Trupperbaumer and Brisbane’s June Tupicoff.

Ben said an important aspect of the collaboration was the passion each artist had for the rainforest.

“It was really important that the three of us had an empathy to this environment, so it wasn’t a laboursome thing to do,” Ben said.

“Although we all have a different take on it, what’s important is that the coherence came through getting really close and intricate; going past beauty. When you want to express what that is through words or music or – in our case – things to hang on the walls, then you really find it much more challenging than you first thought.

“It’s a different kind of rainforest: we’re talking about an altitude of 1143 metres, so that gets you into – although it’s still in the tropics – an environment with very different vegetation and typography. What lives, flies and vegetates in that rainforest is at times very different to in low-land forests. The cloud forest bit is what we tried to incorporate in the title of our show, so that was quite apt.”

Ron said although there are messages conveyed through the art, the core of the collaboration came through the artists’ passion for the rainforest.

“There are messages throughout the works, but it’s mainly the passion for the rainforest and the friendship and discussion of different aspects of the rainforest; living in the rainforest, relationships between people and the rainforest, animals, indigenous cultures, and so on that are highlighted. A lot of issues and messages were discussed, but I think those individual thoughts on the rainforest come through in our works,” said Ron.

“All three of us have looked at nature and landscapes in different ways over the years. I’ve done lots of figurative works – figure and landscape have always been of interest. But even over the course of creating this exhibition, our styles have evolved. I was doing straight line works when we started, but then went on to do more curved ones. So it’s evolving from something realistic to something that’s quite optically abstract.”

Catch the opening of Ron McBurnie, Ben Trupperbaumer and June Tupicoff’s Head in the Clouds exhibition at Perc Tucker Regional Gallery this Friday from 6pm.

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