A series of paintings of sheep and lambs of varying breeds, by Australian artist Christine Porter . Acrylic on board: various sizes.
I saw my first sheep in 1980. I was 19 years old and at uni in Armidale. I remember the astonishment. I often wonder if pre-cognition would have changed my view of those two sad ewes looking forlornly through the fenced
high school Ag plot. Another three years would pass before I began creating artwork about this subject, by which stage I was living in North Queensland in a small town surrounded for hundreds of miles, by thousands of sheep. It’s thirty years since those first explorations. Since then I’ve painted many different breeds, from the iconic Merino to the celebrated Scottish Blackface. It’s been an ongoing if sporadic theme, peripheral to my work about shearing sheds.
Exhibiting artwork about sheep, in both Scotland and Australia, I have become increasingly aware of the place this subject has in people’s hearts and cultural memory: for all the urbanisation of our emotional and geographic landscape. This series explores the idea of an Australian sheep industry that is not solely about the Merino that it’s so famous for. I see sophisticated cross breeding, even in small flocks, and sheep bred for meat more often than fleece. It speaks of an industry determined and thriving, even as changes take it further from its romantic past than those who prospered through its boom times could ever have imagined.
Christine Porter, Lismore 2015
These paintings have been sold into private collections across Eastern Australia.