When the Night Comes

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Words: Alexandra Lawson Photography: Russell Shakespeare plus supplied

An exhibition by David Usher  (curated by Alexandra Lawson) at Lasso Gallery, Toowoomba

Artist – David Usher

Lasso Gallery, a new exhibition space in Toowoomba located at 482 Ruthven Street, in the heart of the CBD is showing an exhibition of oil paintings by Toowoomba artist David Usher titled ‘When the Night Comes’, until July 26. The gallery is open Friday 12 – 4 Saturday 10-1 or by appointment.

Curator of the exhibition Alexandra Lawson says, ‘these new works, are very much in the David Usher style, they directly reference the landscapes that he’s spent time in, responding to characteristics of the site including physical objects, horizon lines, and the light and colour of the landscape, with a focus on the feeling, or emotion of the place.’

Usher, the artist explains that ‘this group of paintings explores the idea of the ‘nightscape’ and is an investigation of the night’s ‘hidden places’.

Lawson goes on to explain that ‘the new paintings are the first works made since David’s shift in material from acrylic paint to enamel/oil based paint for the first time in over six months. David told me that he felt these new works required a shift to allow him to build up these light luscious layers, to develop this kind of translucency in the work, which translates into deeper spaces and atmosphere, which is something that oil paint creates.’

David speaks about the night landscape as being different to painting during the day, largely because of the feeling the night creates, he describes it as more ‘closed in’, explaining that space is more intimate at night because you can only see a short distance. The colours of the night landscape, and in these paintings are therefore muted by the darkness.

Lawson says, ‘these new works capture the sense of softness, intimacy and depth that occurs at night.’

Many of the paintings in this exhibition have evolved directly from a series of work Usher made while on residency in Moree, where he was making a series of paintings along a river. These long vistas have within them, trees that frame the painting, indicating where it begins and where it ends.

Lawson says, ‘the night paintings ask us to slow down, and look through and into the painting; to become immersed in the soft environments that they create.’

The night paintings depict the landscape in a veil of darkness, some of the works in this exhibition appear to be dark, that is, until closer inspection, through the layers of pigment and colour, which form a deep space, where the night landscape appears.

Usher says, ‘the experiences of the ‘nightscape’ offer new information toward my ongoing exploration of the Australian landscape, allowing me to revisit familiar places that become something else, something known but now seen through the lens of the night.’


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