Christopher Lees’ latest series Fragments, is a journey into the spiritual and eternal mythology of the Australian landscape. If Sir Joseph Banks borrowed Stanley Kubrick’s camera, this is what he would have recorded. The artist celebrated his twentieth exhibition anniversary with Libby Edwards Galleries in 2019, and deservedly so, he is now recognised as an artist at the height of his powers, crediting a highly successful exhibiting career.
The artist beckons us to see in the weight of stone, it’s mass an eternity of solid, unyielding granite floating weightless above a pool of water. The sky that surrounds is as limpid as any pool unrippled by the merest breath of wind. And through the greenish transparency of what separates the terrestrial from the aqueous, the delicate tracery of stones, and objects is reflected back to us in stunning outline. Water is of endless fascination to Lees, painted in dreamily graduated tones of purples, greens, blues and bronze. Highly intricate paintwork alludes to moss, lichen, tufts of micro-forest. Outcrops, boulders, hillsides, high country, ranges, lagoons, lakes, billabongs, and a boldly seductive array of imaginatively sculptured monoliths, are each portrayed in homage to mother nature.
Is it a past, present or future depiction of our planet’s ecosystem we see in Lees’ anthropomorphic depictions? What to make of the outlandish cliff formations? A palimpsest of earth’s pending fate, or perhaps its rosy future?
Lees’ artistic mastery lies in his intuitive craftsmanship which cleverly combines startling compositional elements with a highly technical prowess, into a trademark oeuvre that continues the great Australian tradition of landscape painting from our pre-colonial heritage, to the present day.