John Wolseley_Indwelling II     

My work over the last 45 years has been a search to discover how we dwell and move within landscape. I have lived and worked all over the continent from the mountains of Tasmania to the floodplains of Arnhem land.  I see myself as a hybrid mix of artist and scientist; one who tries to relate the minutiae of the natural world - leaf, feather and beetle wing to the abstract dimensions of the earth's dynamic systems.  Using techniques of watercolour, collage, frottage, nature printing and other methods of direct physical or kinetic contact I am finding ways of collaborating with the actual plants, birds, trees, rocks and earth of a particular place.

I like to think that the large works on paper on which I assemble these different drawing methods represent a kind of inventory or document about the state of the earth.  I want to reveal both the power and beauty of it, as well as show its condition of critical even terminal change.  My interest is to paint the processes and energy fields of the living systems of this land - flocks of birds, or water plants in swamps, or the movement of sand dunes or the ways in which trees regenerate after fire.

Over 15 years I spent a lot of time in the company of the great Yolngu artist Mulkun Wirrpanda painting the floodplains and flora of the Blue Mud Bay region of North East Arnhem Land.  In 2017, the results of this collaboration were exhibited at the National Museum of Australia as Midawarr Harvest: The Art of Mulkun Wirrpanda and John Wolseley and formed the basis of a book of the same name. 

At Bendigo Art Gallery from September 9th 2023, I will be showing work alongside poet Paul Kane and sculpture/video artist, Brodie Ellis. This will be a collaborative exhibition of text, image and sound, based on a series of verse essays by Paul Kane.

ESSAYS ON EARTH Brodie Ellis, Paul Kane and John Wolseley, 9 September 2023 – 14 January 2024
This immersive exhibition will link the art of poetry to that of painting in a uniquely immersive and powerful way; re-visioning the great Ekphrastic tradition that began in ancient Greece, whereby a poem or prose piece interprets or vividly brings to life a work of art. This exhibition will run until January 14th 2024.



Image: Indwelling II – The Eusocial Life of Termite Nests with Pardalotes and Golden-shouldered Parrots.


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