Featuring in this months Vogue is an article written by the talented Paul Davies. The artist writes on the link between the 19th Century gold rushes in California and Australia with modern-day Los Angeles.
Everything Loose Will Land in LA/Double Golden Gully
In a moment of realization it was the eucalyptus trees, strangely dotted throughout Los Angeles, that revealed a connection between my adopted home in Los Angeles California and my native home in Sydney, Australia.
This unexpected link sparked a series of paintings I’ve been working on for over 3 years titled Everything Loose Will Land in LA/Double Golden Gully. The paintings formed part of a site-specific installation that I was invited to present at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture Los Angeles in June, before being exhibited here in Sydney at the Olsen gallery.
“Everything Loose Will Land in Los Angeles” is a quote from Frank Lloyd Wright who described Los Angeles as a centre-less sprawl of buildings and billboards and to me, can be further extended to the multitude of searching souls that land in LA from all over the globe.
The second part of the title, Double Golden Gully, refers to a disused gold mining location in New South Wales, Golden Gully. The word “Double” is added to suggest a gambling term rather than a place, infused with the notion of instant luck and risk. Australia’s gold rush began after Edward Hargraves noticed that the landscapes producing gold in California were also present in Australia. Coincidentally, during this time Australia began exporting gum trees to California to support its growing population. I liked this idea of a shared experience between two places on opposite sides of the Pacific Rim. The duality of commercial exports linking the two places as well as the emerging cultural presence in each landscape was an interesting juxtaposition. In addition to this, Golden Gully is a place of significance to Australian artists and poets who documented the nearby town, Hill End, from a booming metropolis during the gold rush, to an abandoned outpost, once the gold was gone. An excerpt from the poem, The Roaring Days, by Henry Lawson written in 1889 exemplifies this and was significant to the development of the paintings:
The night too quickly passes
And we are growing old,
So let us fill our glasses
And toast the Days of Gold;
When finds of wondrous treasure
Set all the South ablaze,
And you and I were faithful mates
All through the roaring days!
The native Australian gum trees scattered throughout Los Angeles remind me of the ‘gold rush’ link between both places. Furthermore, Frank Lloyd Wright’s quote that “Everything Loose Will Land in LA” is happening today, as many Australians are drawn to ‘Hollywood’ to try their luck. Los Angeles is something of an El Dorado for actors, filmmakers and artists. Like the gold prospectors of the 19th century these are people who come to the city seeking success in a difficult industry. The series of paintings ‘Everything Loose Will Land…” looks at this idea of history repeating through a lens of photography and painting. Reflecting on the notion of Hollywood and the ‘Silver Screen’ the scenes are painted with silver pigment. Like the hopeful actor, artist or director, the paint shines more intensely depending on the angle at which the picture is viewed. Here, photographs taken of these locations in Australia and California are layered to create imaginary painted scenes in shimmering tones that hover between fact and fiction, rationality and emotion and perhaps most pertinent, reality and dreams.
Paul Davies, July 2017