Menzies Art Brands



One evening in 1981, Storrier stuck a couple of steel posts into some arid clayish earth and strung a rope between them. Then he went to the back of his ute, found a tin of lacquer, coated the rope and set it alight. He says he cant remember why he decided to do it and has no idea where the concept came from.1

Storriers burning object paintings, and specifically the burning logs, had their genesis in the Australian outback where the artist often travelled to study the light and colour of the landscape. It was a simple idea that came to him whilst on an outback trip - a blazing line of fire set against an opalescent sky which was to shape the direction of his work for the next decade. Since 1981, Storriers fire paintings have evolved into one of Australian contemporary arts most recognised and successful motifs, and yet the story of the origins of the subject is a reminder of the mysterious and highly personal nature of the process of making of art.

The present work, Night Road, is an example of the beautifully composed and executed pictures which Storrier has become so well known for. Here, the full moon casts an illuminating glow across the parched earth while the voluminous clouds throw long shadows beneath. The dazzling stars which punctuate the expanse of evening sky emphasise the sheer scale of the heavens. In this work, the burning log has been placed deliberately in the lower right of the composition, and allows for the illuminated sky to be the hero of this work. It is, in fact, light which Storrier champions in his fire paintings, as curator Deborah Hart notes, These paintings are about light, action and stillness. They deal with the real and imagined landscape together with the myth of the outback.2  

Edmund Capon, former Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, remarked upon the inexplicably Australian sense which Tim Storriers paintings evoke, and  the strong sense of place which is contained within the vocabulary of his paintings, they could not, I believe, have come from any country other than Australia.3 The awareness of space, low horizons and vast skies: few artists convey the sense of experience more poignantly than Storrier. Night Road is a visually spectacular picture that embodies Storriers technical skills and affinity with the unique Australian landscape.


1. Lumby, C., Tim Storrier The Art of the Outsider, Craftsman House, Sydney, 2000, p.45

2. Hart, D., Tim Storrier: Burning Gifts, Australian Galleries, catalogue, July 1989, p.18.

2. Ibid, p.8

Caroline Jones BA, MArtAdmin

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