Old Coast Road by Peta West


Relief lino print

For those familiar with the seasonal changes on the South Coast, the emergence of these flowers in September ushers in the arrival of Spring. A major new diptych by Peta West, Old Coast Road (2022) splendidly captures this explosion of life. Measuring 100 x 80 cm (overall), it is the largest work created to date by the artist. West’s images are often immersive, yet this scale further heightens her unique ability to draw audiences into an image.

Continuing many of the visual and conceptual themes of her previous works, Old Coast Road is both an ode as well as a visual investigation into the lives of the flora and fauna on the South Coast. Once again, Black Cockatoos are depicted as the main protagonists. Social birds, they can often be observed in pairs within a larger flock. Their silhouettes regularly perched atop burnt trees overlooking the landscape. Despite the work’s grandeur, West successfully captures the intimacy these birds have with one another and her experience observing them along the headland. In this way, Old Coast Road evokes similar characteristics associated with genre painting, where the activities of everyday life are depicted with integrity. West seems to apply this framework to the context of the natural world as she continues to portray our surrounding landscape with underlying respect and admiration.

Old Coast Road epitomises the themes and visual language West has developed throughout her practice, seamlessly tying together notions of depth, intimacy and a profound sense of interconnectedness.

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