THE luminous landscapes depicted by Cronulla artist Alexander McKenzie do not exist in nature, but within his mind.
They play host to the symbols, narratives and metaphors born from his imagination and memory.
"I choose to set it in a landscape because I find landscapes contemplative," McKenzie said.
"None of the work is a particular place and I don't paint landscapes that exist, it is really a vehicle and a way of exploring those other symbolic things."
One of his paintings, In the Arboretum, will feature among other contemporary landscape paintings by Australian artists in the Sublime Point: the Landscape in Painting exhibition which opens this Saturday, October 11, at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, Gymea.
The exhibition will demonstrate a wide variety of approaches to and uses of landscapes in contem-porary painting.
The artists selected are from many different regions around Australia with Bundeena resident Ildiko Kovacs also featured.
The exhibition intends to show how artists are featuring landscape in their work as a signifier for aesthetic and cultural issues.
McKenzie said his painting posed a question about the symbols that came across in life, many of which were hard to read.
"A lot of my work is interested in the symbolism of trees," he said.
"You can see the defined path leading into the arboretum but the arboretum is sinister and foreboding.
"The light of course, coming from the heavens, is symbolic of a guiding light."
His personal exhibition — Acarsaid — opens tonight at the Martin Browne Contemporary Gallery, Paddington; it will feature 22 paintings done in McKenzie technical style that references the Dutch masters of the 1500s, and is a technique not often used in contemporary painting.
"The physical way that I put down paint is very old-fashioned," he said.
"I start with a raw canvas and I use a traditional glue made up of rabbit skin that isolates the fibres in the weave of the linen which allows it to take the subsequent layers of paint."
It has been a big year for McKenzie who was commissioned by the Australian War Memorial in Canberra to do a large painting for the Gallipoli centenary, to be unveiled on Anzac Day next year.
Alexander McKenzie is a well-known Aussie artist. What do you think of his paintings?