Seth Birchall makes ‘time of day paintings’ – depictions of the natural environment that focus on what he describes as the ‘reﬂective hours of sunrise or dusk, when we’re most attune to ourselves’. In a slow and reflective studio process, Birchall draws on memories of place and found images of nature, these including conservation reports, family archives, personal field studies and social media posts – imagery that demonstrates how we collectively envisage and ascribe significance to representations of nature.
For Inner Sanctum, Birchall has created a series of six paintings depicting waterways, skylines and arboreal forms. Landscapes for Birchall are akin to family heirlooms, and as an artist he is driven by a deep appreciation of nature and the need to protect it. At the forefront of his mind are locations of environmental urgency, including the South Coast of New South Wales, where widespread fires have caused tremendous loss. But equally, he is drawn to the image contained in holiday snapshots, which often take on mystical qualities in the memories of others.
Birchall invites the audience to sit on a custom bench to contemplate the landscapes, made in collaboration with designer Jonathan West. A piece of furniture that offers a space to contemplate the landscapes, it invites a shift in the behaviour and attention of audiences and reflects motifs in art history, where nature is viewed and framed as a solitary experience, or one viewed from the comforts of the domestic sphere.