Tony Clark's Design for a Chinoiserie Landscape is an extension of a continuous project begun over thirty years ago which explores the spaces between the decorative arts, fine art and design. For Clark, an Australian-born artist living between Australia and Europe, Chinoiserie - a popular decorative style in 18th century Western art characterised by the use of Chinese motifs and techniques - presents a way of considering the multifaceted socio-cultural identity of the Asia-Pacific region. Painted in a restricted four-colour palette of blue, rose pink, sienna and black, and combining both chinoiserie and classical motifs, these new works reference decorative textiles and mosaics, alluding to their use as designs for the interior decoration of a notional building, Villa Sino-Romana, a conceit which underlies the entire series.
Clark's interest in design, the notion of a painting alluding to something other than itself, is fundamental to his artistic practice. This conceptual framework, as opposed to coming from a position of 'pure' painting - an area Clark has operated in over the course of more than thirty years - is used to explore the possibilities of the decorative in the context of fine art. Breaking down these distinctions, Clark's Design for a Chinoiserie Landscape asks where the line is drawn; both between art and design, and in a broader sense between co-existing socio-cultural identities.