One’s environment can create a substantial impact. Artists express their own reactions to their own personal environments through their art. An environment may affect them physically, spiritually, culturally, or socially. Through art, artists are able to exemplify intended messages to an audience about the influence of a specific environment. Lin Onus and Arthur Boyd are two artists who have responded to their own individual situations through their artwork. Onus, has politically and culturally responded to his environment by expressing a concept of reconciliation. Boyd’s purpose is to express his surroundings in social commentary manner on personal experiences. Although these two artists have similar reactions and interpretations on their directly affected environments, their approaches are quite different.
A pioneer in the aboriginal art movement in urban Australia – Onus, (1948 -1996) took quite a different approach in response to his cultural environment. (1) Onus expresses the emergence of the political voice of Aboriginal people on land rights and equal opportunity. (2) The artist’s subjection to both cultural traditions of his Scottish mother and Aboriginal father – dramatically influenced his reactions and interpretations of his surroundings. Onus’ incorporation of Western art techniques and the traditional aboriginal storytelling culture entails the artist to create his own story, whilst ‘arresting and subliminally challenging his audience.’ (2) This approach allowed the artist to effectively address and incorporate both the white and indigenous Australian audiences. Onus shares a vision to his audience. A vision of a united nation that allows the right for all people to pursue lifestyles and culture in accordance to their own traditions is a clear central motivation that is expressed repetitively throughout his art. This enthusiasm is clearly identified through the inclusion of various elements of design in his artwork.
The artist has clearly expressed his cultural and political environments through his painting ‘Fish and Storm Clouds,’ created in 1994 using polymer paint. The strong contrast of organic Western colours used in the surrounding landscape and the integration of traditional Aboriginal ochre colours used for the fish portray Onus’ strong message. Allowing his purpose to be addressed to both Aboriginal and white society audiences. The use of line is also a significant factor that depicts the artist’s purpose. Onus’ incorporation of traditional clan patterns of Maningrida – ‘rarrk’ illustrates his strong background of his Aboriginal culture. (3)‘From a western view point perceptive and depth is illustrated were as from an Aboriginal viewpoint, it communicates pattern and connectedness. By weaving these two concepts together, the artist has given his own version of reconciliation.’ (3) The use of line also creates a sense of movement of the fish under the body of water. Tone is also an important...