Opening Reception Saturday 15th of April 2023, with Live Music
Moving to Byron Bay a few years ago my work was mainly focused on surreal cityscapes and whimsical caravans, new surroundings launched thoughts of new directions. I didn’t want to pursue seascapes and lighthouses, instead I chose a subject that was quite literally staring me in the face.
Our garden was somewhat basic, but Byron’s weather means vegetation grows fast, really fast!
We planted madly and this series is inspired by the fruits of that labour – a serene contemplation of form composition and natures incredible beauty.
Sometimes I ask myself: Is my art coming from an emotional feeling uncontrolled and free? Or have I absorbed enough inspiration to somehow tap into it randomly but with an unseen knowledge? After some thought I have come to the conclusion it is probably both. And the more I practice the more each artwork seems to start from this emotional space.
Allowing the brushstrokes to move without obvious purpose but with an intent of some kind. Reaching for the palette of colours indicative of my emotional mood that day, I start to see a base artwork of uncontrolled drips, bold mark making and interesting textures I would never have achieved if I had an image preprepared in my head or on paper. This process then allows me to determine where I head to next. Sometimes I use these freeform base layers to continue as a landscape or I move into a figurative piece.
As a figurative artist I spend much of my time watching others or thinking about how I feel and how I am responding to a situation. It could be a small moment in time, a seated figure or even the elements to which I respond.
As with landscapes, I prefer to immerse myself in the landscape to properly absorb the emotion of a place. The practice of plein air, so important to collect the raw feeling of a place and also just to be in the wilderness is enough to transport you back there once in the comfort of the studio.
My landscape work has become an integral part of my figurative work. You can see them melding together as one. But at times, I also choose to work in a simplified form keeping landscape and figurative seperate. The landscape / figurative work can end up being a complex process and the simplification is my other side counterbalancing myself and giving me space to breathe.
We both found an immediate delight in your creative reflection of life, the dichotomy of whimsical freedom and seriousness in escaping disaster. On the other hand your servants with gin are provocatively confronting against the beauty of the landscape, yet reassuring with their resilience.
Brian Hensler April 2022
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