We own a painting by Sydney artist Carol Ruff – a landscape, featuring a single almost symmetrical, almost bare hill. It’s hard to say why, but I just love it. I can sit and look at it for a long time and not be bored. Some time ago we were invited to an opening of Desert Air, an exhibition of Carol’s work alongside that of her partner Greg Weight, but when we got there the crowd spilling out onto the footpath outside the gallery was so thick we turned around and went straight home. Tonight another dual exhibition was opening, Love Creek Bitter Springs, made up like the other of work created during trips to the MacDonnell Ranges in the Northern Territory. Learning from past experience, we turned up at the Australian Galleries in Paddington an hour early and left before the first glass of anything was poured.

It’s a fabulous exhibition. Both Penny and I fell in love with one landscape in particular, much bigger and more elaborate than our little hill, but with the same mesmeric power:


There is much else that’s stunningly beautiful. I want to mention a set of photographs, described in the gallery’s list as created jointly by Carol and Greg, but most of them featuring Carol, indoors and out, in the same country that features in the paintings and photographs elsewhere in the exhibition, presumably with Greg behind the camera. The list introduces the set with a quote from Barry Lopez: ‘In the end, there’s little difference between growing into the love of a place and growing into the love of a person.’ Somehow this sharply personal note brought home to me the obvious fact that the whole exhibition is a work of love.

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