Port Jackson – Deep Time

Helen Tiernan

Port Jackson – Deep Time by Helen Tiernan


Helen Tiernan
Port Jackson – Deep Time
oil on canvas
161 x 59.5 cm

signed lower right: HST 2017
copyright the artist

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Storied Country, Lauraine Diggins Fine Art, Melbourne, 22 October - 19 November 2022

Further Information

Helen employs textured surfaces on her work, as if the skin of the painting is scarred, much like the land is scarred with patterns and designs implying an indigenous presence, or relating to body paint or carved designs, as for example on shields. Sometimes, the surface of her work is embossed with navigational elements, appearing to be overlaid with representations of compass points or astronomical elements, or indigenous songlines (which are sometimes given visual representation through the red linear aspects of her work).

Other ways Helen uses texture in her work, besides the sensuous application of paint itself and beyond the literal use of painted patterns, include the use of paper to create layering and depth and pattern, and the use of material pressed into paint itself to create a tactile surface. This latter technique makes reference to the experience of women and their sphere of ‘the home’, the role of seamstresses and indigenous women within a colonial home.

Such elements can be found in Port Jackson  - Deep Time (2017, 161 x 59.5 cm) which also makes use of Helen’s preference for inserting small vignettes into her works. Here, the small white dots, which from a distance appear to be foam thrown up from the wild waves below, are in fact colonial ships of the First Fleet.

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