Important Australian + International Fine Art
27 August 2014


born 1949

synthetic polymer paint on canvas

76.5 x 152.5 cm

signed lower right: Storrier
signed and inscribed verso: 'Evening Edge (Waterline). / Storrier

$45,000 - 65,000
Sold for $56,400 (inc. BP) in Auction 36 - 27 August 2014, Sydney

Private collection
Cooks Hill Galleries, Newcastle
Private collection, New South Wales, acquired from the above in 2003

Catalogue text

In the early 1980s Tim Storrier began experimenting with a unique kind of performative art. Locating remote and usually barren settings in the Australian outback, Storrier would suspend a piece of rope or wire between two poles and set it alight, documenting the experience of watching these hypnotising flames. Thus became the basis of his 'point to point' series, which is perhaps the most well-known in the artist's oeuvre.

Storrier's waterline paintings continue this tradition of mesmerising depictions of fire, but they have evolved into more complex narratives than the artist's earlier work. In our painting we encounter the artist's distinctive flat horizon line and immense, uncompromising landscape. But the wire here has been replaced with a burning log on a sandy shoreline, invoking a host of dark associations relating to natural disasters and displacement, to watching one's house burn down or a ship go up in flames. The surrounding stretch of ashen water acts as a kind of isolating barrier. We cannot reach this traumatic scene, we cannot help, we can only look on from the distance. The sky is scattered with pink sweeps of cloud: it is dusk, and we are reminded that the day is fading but the fire will continue to burn.

Storrier is perpetually intrigued by the forces of nature - in particular the four elements - and the comparative triviality of human life when set against the power and the endurance of the natural world. His paintings engage with the isolated Australian landscape, but Storrier imbues it with a highly personalised and romanticised quality, experimenting as he does with light, stillness, silence and decay. Above all, Evening Edge (Waterline) is a lesson in mortality. In the burning log we see the full force of nature - the devastation of destruction and the wonder of renewal. There is a great nostalgia in this painting, an immense experience of loss, but also a humbling encounter with beauty and acceptance.

Born in 1949, Tim Storrier was the youngest ever recipient of the Art Gallery of New South Wales Sulman Prize for painting at the age of 19, winning it again in 1984. Storrier has a Doctor of Arts, has been a Trustee of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and in 1994 was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for his contribution to the arts. In 2012 Storrier won the Archibald prize for his painting Histrionic Wayfarer (after Bosch). His work is represented in major public and private collections throughout Australia and overseas, including the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne and the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York.