Australia has some of the most spectacular ancient geological forms in the world. In homage to this, Painting the Ancient Land of Australia follows painter Philip Hughes across the length and breadth of the country, taking in deep varicoloured mines, broad rolling plains, vast imposing landforms and exquisite calm bays.
Hughes’s work is defined by his breathtaking portrayals of natural landscapes, often informed by maps and aerial photographs. With a bold graphic style complemented by expressive blocks of colour, his practice seems particularly suited to the Australian landscape, as notable for its ecological nuances as it is for its stark extremes.
As well as celebrating Australia’s natural beauty, Hughes’s paintings highlight the impact of human intervention on our land – including mining in the Pilbara, excavating for opals in Lighting Ridge and the effects of the 2019–20 bushfires. His deep appreciation of our environment is reflected not only in his choice of subjects but also in his ability to find the beauty in each locale, whether untouched or altered.
Featuring work created over a span of three decades, a foreword by Glenn Murcutt and a mixture of elegant sketches alongside larger painted artworks, Painting the Ancient Land of Australia presents a deeply personal exploration of a continent.


The diversity and breadth of his work provide a window into the immense scale of this land
Glenn Murcutt