Menzies Art Brands



Tim Storriers Evening Fire and Stars, 1995 conveys the potency of celestial panoramas, the visual brilliance of fire, and deep, infinite space. His ambitious aim to reproduce the nuances of the panoramic night sky commenced in the early 1980s when a youthful Storrier travelled to Broken Hill in the Australian outback. He famously tied a rope between two steel posts placed in the arid dirt and set it alight at night. The practice of interacting with nature in this way of recreating primal events to meticulously record them in photographs and paint became a cornerstone of his work and the hallmark of his mature style.

Evening Fire and Stars depicts a fissure in the earths crust. Fire emerges from a subterranean void and evokes the spluttering of a volcano as it begins to turn and erupt. Small sparks and star-like objects are catapulted into the night sky. In this fiery furnace, heat and light become an extension of the grandeur of the night and its dome-like incandescence, while the distant horizon provides an additional focal point of light with its rich, glowing hues of magenta and violet.

Constellations become eminently clearer the further one ventures away from the pollution that taints much of our planet. For Storrier, there is a direct link between this veritable dome of stars and his experience of place. Storriers paintings are recognisably and determinably of a remote desert locale in which the Australianness of his chosen domain comes to the fore. Asta Cameron has astutely noted in relation to Storrier that the distinctively flat outback setting, and Indigenous practice of fire-burning creates a line of fire that provokes a curious resonance for Australians.1

Evening Fire and Stars also pinpoints a different kind of light that contrasts markedly with natures majesty. A set of car headlights are just discernible in the right-hand distance of the picture a puny presence in comparison to the intensity of the brilliant, interstellar narrative that takes place above and below. In this respect, Storrier downplays the importance of humanity and our place in the world, in contrast to the boundless space of earth and energy of the heavens.

Tim Storrier patiently and skilfully pursues a set of precise motifs in order to fully master his craft. A winner of the Sulman Prize (1968), Archibald Prize (2012), and repeated finalist in the prestigious Wynne Prize for landscape painting (including 2020) and numerous other awards and achievements reveal an artist whose interest in the slow-burn continues to nourish and yield exciting and remarkable results. Evening Fire and Stars was painted at a particularly fertile period when this and like-minded works received strong public recognition and critical acclaim.

1.  Cameron, A., Tim Storrier: Evening Fire Line, in Australian and International Fine Art and Sculpture [auction catalogue], Menzies, 10 June 2020, lot 33

Rodney James
Rodney James is an independent art consultant who specialises in valuations, collection management, exhibitions, research and writing, and strategic planning for art galleries and museums.


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