From ‘Liquid Gold – The Art of Irrigation’
“Peter Garnick has a knack of being witness to periods of change, finding beauty and monumentality in man-made technology, on the cusp of re-development. I am thinking here of Garnick’s two major projects with the Royal Women’s Hospital in 2007.
Far from being an agent of change, this perceptive and thoughtful observer is called forth by trailblazers, and commissioned to attend to what’s on the verge of being lost, in the inevitable march of progress.
Witnessing change is not a new role for the artist. However Garnick invites us to appreciate the formal qualities of fading technologies rather than aggrandising the new. In Liquid Gold Peter Garnick photographs irrigation hardware in Victoria’s foodbowl, now over a century old and ripe for replacement. While the subject of these photographs is human activity, landscape is the overriding reference.
Garnick finds music within engineering—where repetition and structure form a rhythmic armature upon which the promiscuous ravages of moisture, oxygen and time dance across the base notes of rusty structures, or where light and water perform in counterpoint to function.
In parts of the Liquid Gold series Garnick’s lens is seemingly disembodied, bringing us close to glorious interfaces between steel, water and light and where we lose all sense of proportion and scale. In other photographs Garnick steps back to give an idea of the broader context of irrigation and how it touches the economy of the region in the production of butter, milk and fruit.
Liquid Gold invites us to appreciate that the vast landscape of human endeavour, like that of the natural world, is made up of an infinitesimal number of smaller landscapes also worthy of our attention.”