By Derek Schlennstedt
A year-long journey around Central Australia has culminated in Belgrave artist Daniel Rigos presenting his paintings in a solo exhibition at the Memo in Healesville.
Rigos travelled through the hinterland of the Australian outback in 2015, and his paintings bring together themes and feelings of the harsh landscapes that he passed through.
Painted outside in the elements, Rigos’ paintings are inspired by the landscape but delve into other mystical worlds, blending with elements of abstraction and the surreal.
Some evoke the intensity of the arid dry expanse of Central Australia, while others merge into the depths of the sea, or the majestic splendour of the mountains.
Usually a studio-based artist working in the comforts of the studio, this year Rigos had to contend with the elements, from the 40 degree heat of the desert rapidly drying the oil paint, to the monsoon showers of Queensland.
“I’m not the traditional landscape painter, more abstract and surreal, and it was really my first time to be painting something outside,” he said
“It was amazing you just look up and see what you’re painting, but painting in central Australia, it’s so hot the paint dries too quickly.
“At 43 degrees, it’s so hot you can’t do anything, and then in Byron it rained for three months of the year and you have to deal with mould.”
Constantly on the move, Rigos and his wife, Shakti, covered over 30,000kms and some of the paintings were started in one location and finished in a completely different landscape.
Just as the body and the mind are affected by sudden changes of travel, so are the paintings and landscapes morphed into each other.
The exhibition will be held at the Memo from 9 June until 16 July.
To view more artwork by Daniel Rigos, visit danielrigos.com.