East Coast Wine Trail

East Coast Wine Trail
East Coast Wine Trail

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Australian artist makes his mark in Cambodia

Australian artist Morrison Polkinghorne has drawn on his base in Cambodia for the inspiration for his grey- and black-toned paintings made from lotus stems and artisanal petal ink.

His new exhibition, entitled Khmer Impressions/Les Impressions Khmères, runs from February through April at Sofitel Phokeethra Hotel Gallery in Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital.

Monochrome ink wash paintings, classically from China and Japan, are among the world's oldest artistic traditions. In his contemporary take, Polkinghorne adapts pointillism to this classic art form: first by using lotus stems as his brush, and secondly by creating an organic ink from its flower petals that is both holistic and spiritual in nature.

Lotus is the ideal imagery for Cambodia, as the lotus flower symbolises Buddha’s spiritual awakening, emerging from the muddy dark depths into light, and finally transmuting into a flash of beauty.

“I envision my pieces ecologically and holistically, with Cambodia's nature and environment as the inspiration,” says Polkinghorne.

“Lotus stems are my paintbrush, while its flowers create my tones.”

Emphasis is placed on the refinement of every individual stroke's varying depths of tone.

Each row complemennts the last, expressing simple beauty and elegance in the final compositions. The resultant works evoke myriad Cambodian images, from its vast rivers and Tonle Sap lake; Angkorian pillars; to ancient landscapes of misty mountains and tumbling waters.

Morrison left Australia six years ago, and now presides over Bric-a-Brac, an award-winning lodgings in Cambodia's second-largest city, Battambang, with partner Robert Carmack. www.Bric-a-Brac.asia

Khmer Impressions/Les Impressions Khmères is at Sofitel Phokeethra Hotel, The Gallery, Phnom Penh, Cambodia from February 3. www.morrisonp.com/exhibition

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