Tony COLEINGJohn LOANELesley DUXBURY, Battlefield. Enlarge 1 /3
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Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia born 1942

  • England 1963-68
  • 1971-72
  • USA 1989


Melbourne, Victoria, Australia born 1950



Accrington, Lancashire, England born 1950


  • Australia from 1983

Battlefield. 1986 Description: a singular work printed on 12 sheets of paper

Collection Title: Battlefield.
Page: parts 1-12
Place made: Viridian Press, 148 Smith Street, Thornbury, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Materials & Technique: prints, ink; paper linocut, printed in black ink, from 12 blocks Support: 12 sheets of white Velin Arches paper
Edition: edition undetermined

Dimensions: printed image (each) 92.0 h x 120.0 w cm sheet (each) 101.2 h x 129.4 w cm sheet (overall) 294.3 h x 542.0 w cm
Acknowledgement: Gordon Darling Australasian Print Fund 1989
Accession No: NGA 89.1982.A-L
Image rights: © Tony Coleing
  • Purchased by the Australian National Gallery, from the artist, Sydney, 1989.

Tony Coleing’s giant linocut, Battlefield, boldly assumes the preposterous scale his science fiction scenario demands, paying no heed to usual conventions about materials and ‘appropriate’ framing. He writes:

We know that our galaxy, the Milky Way galaxy, is only one of some hundred thousand million that can be seen using modern telescopes, each galaxy itself containing some hundred million stars.

‘How’s the game going?’

We live in a galaxy that is about 100,000 light years across (light travels at 300,000 kilometres per second). There are 31,536,000 seconds in one year, multiply that by 300,000 and then multiply again by 100,000 – that tells you how far across our galaxy is.

‘Who’s winning?’

Our sun is just an ordinary, average-sized, yellow star near the inner edge of one of the spiral arms.

‘Where’s your house?’

It’s always at the edges that uncertainty lies.

The contestants go on blindly oblivious to the edges, not playing within the boundaries. The cockies look on … take no notice, it doesn’t mean anything to them, except maybe a meal. The spectators, always at the edges, only hang on for the ride, caught between desire and death (with a bit of religion thrown in).

 ‘Where’s God?’

Tony Coleing (2002) and Julie Ewington1

1Julie Ewington in My Head is a Map: A decade of Australian prints, Canberra: National Gallery of Australia, 1992, p.14

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Anne Gray (ed), Australian art in the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2002