Patrick Collins’ work reinterprets early fifteenth-century Italian Renaissance istoriato (story or history) ceramic platters and bowls, combining this pictorial tradition with that of Islamic tin wares. Using the format of a central image surrounded with emblematic borders, the viewer’s vision is drawn through and beyond the object. In his large trompe l’oeil tableau, Collins interprets this stylistic device with traditional maiolica painting to create a tribute to the Italian-born entrepreneur Claudio Alcorso, whose interests in opera and the preservation of the Tasmanian environment made him one of the state’s most influential cultural agents. In his large wall-hung work, the theatrical device of the proscenium arch frames a view of the Tasmanian forest and coast beyond, evoking the set of a drama, alluding to Alcorso’s journey to Australia and the subsequent influence of his passion for the arts and the environment on the cultural landscape of Tasmania.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010